Spirit of summer

Jul. 28—details

545 Camino de la Familia

Open 2 to 11 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays, noon to 11 p.m. Saturdays, and noon to 10 p.m. Sundays


As Above So Below, formerly Altar Spirits, brings its seductively crafted cocktails and

spirits to the Santa Fe Railyard — and beyond. Caley Shoemaker, co-founder and master distiller, has skillfully created highly drinkable gins, vodkas, and whiskeys that showcase the essence of Northern New Mexico, using indigenous botanicals and herbs.

"When you talk to someone who's not from here about New Mexico, they picture this desert," Shoemaker says. "There's this under-estimation of the vast biodiversity that's here, so we really like to showcase those through the spirits."

Every spirit at As Above So Below is created with careful ritual. While waiting for your drink, you can watch the mixologist making a cocktail to sip and enjoy the mystical atmosphere of AASB. The Sigil Gin is distilled with 14 botanicals native to Northern New Mexico. The Ritual Vodka is handcrafted in copper stills to deliver a classic, European-style vodka with soft grassy notes and flavor, an upgrade from the standard odorless vodkas we've grown accustomed to drinking. Behind the bar in the distillery, Shoemaker conjures her spirits like magic potions.

The ritual nature of creating the spirits extends to the sipping area. The decor has a distinct apothecary-meets-botany vibe, with animal skulls and plants accenting the cozy velvet couches and massive window providing an expansive view of Lilith, AASB's behemoth copper still.

"We want to create a sense of place," she says. "The idea is we want people to feel like they've had a very unique, very Santa Fe, very Northern New Mexico experience. There's a ritual baked into how we create and serve spirits, so we wanted people to step into this ritual place so you can feel like you are experiencing something magical."

You can book the space for private events and have Shoemaker and her team create specialty cocktails. She also creates seasonal drinks with herbs and aromatics right out of the ground, ensuring that patrons can taste and experience Northern New Mexico. Fans can purchase bottles of AASB spirits at the tasting room as well as at various locations around the state. — H.V.◀

Summer sipper

Last summer's bountiful apricot crop has become this season's Apricot Eau de Vie, a new spirit Shoemaker released July 21.

"I'm excited to see how people respond to it," she says of her new creation, which will be limited to a release of just 216 bottles (until next season).

French for "water of life," Shoemaker's Eau de Vie reflects the European tradition of making good use of abundant seasonal produce and not letting it go to waste.

"It comes from Europe, where they have very old fruit trees. The community comes together to harvest. They can, bake, but they still end up with extra fruit," she says. "So they'd distill it. It's a really old way of saving fruit."

Last season, Shoemaker and the AASB staff put the word out to Santa Feans who might have extra fruit on their trees. ("I was that nutball posting on Next Door about your apricots," she says.)

The stones have to be removed and prepped for distillation soon after picking, so the process of collecting apricots from yards and public spaces around town resulted in long days. So this year, she's inviting the community with bumper crops to do the harvesting and pitting in exchange for AASB gift cards.

This year's apricots will become next year's Eau de Vie, and Shoemaker is excited to see how different crops change the flavor from year to year.

The spirit made from last year's harvest (about 4,000 pounds of apricots) resulted in a woody, aromatic flavor that evolves as it rests on the tongue. Shoemaker recommends sipping it at room temperature. "It's such a labor-intensive process that we're just pouring it straight," she says.

Each bottle of the limited 90-proof Apricot Eau de Vie is numbered and sells at AASB for $60.

"It's just water, yeast, apricots — and a lot of time," she says. "But it's like bottling sunshine." — C.G.