PRIMARILY KNOWN FOR SPANISH-STYLE wines and brandies, Vara Winery & Distillery, based in Albuquerque, is gaining traction with artisan liquors inspired by New Mexico’s landscape. The company’s award-winning libation line includes the new Painted Sky Vodka and Estrella Blanca Rum, which join High Desert Gin and Corona de Oro Rum. “The gin, for instance, brings in notes of pine and sage, things that smell like our mountains,” says JP Clement, general manager and CEO of Vara. “Our watercolor-banded labels also pay tribute to New Mexico by reflecting colors found in our hills, deserts, and skies.” The new light rum is clean and bright with hints of almond, vanilla, Asian pear, and subtle floral aromas, and the smooth vodka carries light floral and citrus notes. “Our vodka and gin are made with Spanish grape varietals, which give them unique flavor profiles,” says Clement. “It’s a nice way to link our wines and spirits.”

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