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Red River Highlights NM Craft Spirits

PRESS RELEASE: Red River Chamber of Commerce


One month ago, the Red River NM Chamber of Commerce kicked off its 14th Annual Friday Night Drink Making Contest hosted by the Motherlode Saloon. Organized by the Red River NM Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Red River Rex Foundation, New Mexico Distiller's Guild, New Mexico Restaurant Association, and Questa Lodge and RV Resort, three krewes—the Chamber Krewe, Krewe de Rouge, and Krewe de Voodoo—brought the house down with their performances. A panel of judges awarded trophies for Best Drink, Crowd Favorite, Best Performance, and Most On-Theme, with the Voodoo Krewe and Krewe de Rouge taking home the prizes. It was a night to remember!

This year's panel consisted of three celebrity judges: Spencer Schacht, a reporter from KOB4 in Albuquerque; Scott Feuille, owner and distiller from Taylor Garrett; and Frany Holloway, owner, and distiller from Hollow Spirits. Two audience judges were also drawn from a hat, giving them the best seat in the house to watch the contest.


The Chamber Krewe kicked off the festivities with a skit that highlighted the Drink Making Contest's 14-year history and proudly showcased the award-winning rums from Red River Brewing Company & Distillery, one of the Chamber of Commerce members. What made this drink especially notable was the fact that the Chamber Krewe was the only one to use a New Mexico distilled spirit, a new category of judging criteria in the competition. This element will continue to be a point category in future years. Although their house-made Rumchata didn't take home any awards this year, the Chamber Krewe was delighted to have the opportunity to share their event's history and promote their members. According to their CEO, Naoma Staley, they wanted their guests and their host to have the best possible experience during the "Friday Night Drink Making Contest".


Krewe de Voodoo made a memorable entrance at the "Drink Making Contest". Established in 2008 and merged with Krewe de los Muertos in 2021, the Voodoos – the largest Red River Krewe – put on a show with their vibrant costumes inspired by Dia de los Muertos and the Silver Screen. As couples and individuals danced across the bar floor to the 1929 cartoon, "The Skeleton Dance", the bartender amazed the audience with a special Voodoo Nuclear Martini. Made with Midori, sweet and sour, blue curacao, grenadine, rum, and garnished with pop rocks, crawfish gummy, and glowing LED lights, the drink won the krewe the "Best Drink" award. Their performance also earned them the "Most On-Theme" trophy. A creative and captivating performance, Krewe de Voodoo set the drink bar high for next year.

Krewe de Rouge, the reigning champions sponsored by The Motherlode Saloon, truly put on an unforgettable show. It all began with a classic crew - the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man, Dorothy, and Glenda the Good Witch - that had the audience captivated from the start. Then, they shifted into their signature sassy style, wowing both the judges and the crowd with their masterfully choreographed routine. As their all-bartender team prepared a delicious concoction, they each shined with costume changes, lighthearted humor, and top-notch dancing. Needless to say, Krewe de Rouge's performance was a major hit - racking up two awards for "Crowd Favorite" and "Best Performance"! Krewe de Rouge is a prime example of what hard work and dedication can accomplish in both the tourist and entertainment industries. For years, Rouge has pushed other Krewes, and their performers who participate in the Friday Night Drink Making Contest, with their high-quality performances and their irreverent dancing. Always choreographed and polished to perfection, they have inspired many to strive for excellence and to never be afraid to have a little fun.

Next year, the Red River NM Chamber of Commerce looks forward to celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Friday Night Drink Making Contest by honoring traditions created and sustained because of this contest and also honoring former Chamber President Ron Weathers, who was pivotal in the development of the contest we know and love today. The Chamber is also working to ensure there is much to look forward to. They will continue the tradition by selecting two audience judges for the competition, and enhance the event for attendees by giving away free "Friday Night Drink Making Contest" merchandise to the audience; hosting a celebrity MC to keep the evening flowing; creating a VIP area with exclusive access to the event; featuring a specialty drink and food pairing for all event attendees; hosting a live DJ and professional sound crew; setting up a photo booth for people to take pictures and share them on social media; and more! The Chamber of Commerce has also increased the prize packages for both performers and Krewes by offering performers high-value prize packages (gift cards, merchandise, inclusion in future press releases for performers and Krewes, etc.); food and drink discounts for performers during the event; and attracting local and regional TV crews to capture the excellent Mardi Gras Krewe performances.


If you have any questions about how you and your Krewe can be involved in the Drink Making Contest, please reach out to the Red River NM Chamber of Commerce at rrinfo@redriverchamber.org. Join us for the 15th anniversary of the Friday Night Drink-Making Contest for an unforgettable evening of drinks, music, and fun – we can’t wait to see you there!

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