Kelly Liquors is your beverage source for wine, spirits, and beer in New Mexico. You will not find a better selection of products anywhere in the state and our knowledgeable staff will help you make the right choice for whatever occasion brings you to one of our stores. We work with our suppliers to bring you the most exciting brands at the very best prices. We hope to see you at one of our locations today!
Whiskey is a spirit that is aged in wood and obtained from a fermented mash of grain that is then distilled. It is produced mainly in four countries: Canada, Ireland, Scotland, and the United States. Whiskeys that are made in Canada, Ireland, and Scotland are the only whiskeys allowed by law to take their name from the country they are produced, such as Irish, Canadian, or Scotch. Whiskeys that are made in other countries may taste similar, but they cannot legally be named after other countries. Whiskeys are known by their proof, or alcohol strength. They can vary in their proofs, from an American bond whiskey that is 110 proof to 70 proof Canadian whiskeys that can only legally be sold in Canada. In the years prior to the 1960s, many whiskeys were bottled at a much higher proof; however, today’s modern whiskey drinkers prefer a lighter-tasting whiskey. Federal laws mandate that all bottles be marked plainly with the proof of the liquor inside. Proof shows the amount of alcohol in any distillate and represents 50 percent alcohol by volume. The term “proof” originates from the pioneering days of distillation. Distillers had a unique way to determine the proof of their liquors. They would mix equal amounts of the spirit and gunpowder and apply a flame to the mix. If the gunpowder would not burn, the spirit was too weak. If the gunpowder burned too brightly, the spirit was too strong. If it burned evenly with a blue flame, then the spirit was considered proven, hence the term “proof.” Pure alcohol, such as the type used in laboratories, is 200 proof and made of 100 percent alcohol. While proof is the measure of the strength of alcohol, it is not a measure of the quality.
Gin is another liquor that is distilled from grain. It has a unique aroma and flavor, which comes from juniper berries in addition to other botanicals. Each distiller of gin has his or her own special recipe, and each gin flavor can vary with the individual distiller. While the flavor may differ from one gin distiller to another, all are under strict quality control. The first producer of gin was a Dutch physician in Holland named Dr. Sylvius in the 17th century. He named it Genievre, which is the French word for the juniper berry. The English shortened the name to simply “gin.” When the English soldiers, who called it “Dutch Courage,” brought it from Holland into England gin became the national drink of England and has so remained. The creation of gin can be done in one of two ways: by being distilled or compounded. Compounded means that it is a mixture of neutral spirits and juniper berries. Distilled means that the gin is distilled completely. All of the leading brands of gin sold in the United States are made by distilling. Virtually all of the gins produced in the United States use the term “dry” on their gins. It can be seen on brand labels written as “Dry Gin,” “Extra Dry Gin,” “London Dry Gin,” or “English Dry Gin.” No matter how it is written, they all mean the same thing: lacking in sweetness. Originally, “London Dry” meant that the gin was produced in London, but the name is now considered generic and is often used to describe gins made in the United States.
Similar to the way whiskey is produced, vodka is distilled from fermented mash of grains. The difference is in the methods of distillation. While whiskey is distilled at a low proof to keep the flavor, vodka is distilled at a high proof of 190 or higher, and then processed further to remove the entire flavor. In addition, whiskey is aged and vodka is not. Most of the distillers in the United States filter the vodka through activated charcoal. Almost all vodka produced is made from grains, usually corn, rye, and wheat. The country that actually invented vodka is unknown, despite the many claims by multiple countries, such as Poland and Russia. According to some historians, Poland was producing vodka as early as the 8th century AD to use as medicine. Not until the 15th century AD were both the Poles and Russians drinking vodka on a daily basis.
Tequila is the main spirit of Mexico, with its own individual flavor. It is a tart flavor that gives tartness to the mouth and a tingling on the tongue. In the 1970s, tequila was the fastest growing spirit in sales. Tequila is made through the distillation of the fermented juice of the mescal plant, called pulque. The mescal plant is a species of the agave plant, and is the only source used to produce tequila. It is a type of cactus that can take anywhere from twelve to thirteen years to mature. The long leaves, or spikes, are cut off during harvest time, leaving the bulbous central core called the pina, or pineapple. The pinas can weigh from 80 to 175 pounds and are taken to the distillery where they are placed in pressure cookers for several hours. When they are done, they are taken out, cooled, shredded, and the juice is pressed out. The juice is then fermented in huge wooden vats. Once fermented, the juice is distilled twice in traditional copper-pot stills.
Rum can be produced anywhere that sugar cane is growing. While many countries produce rum, such as Russia, South Africa, and the United States, only the Caribbean Islands are able to produce it in quantities excessive enough to export worldwide. Each island produces a distinctive version of rum, resulting from the base material, method by which it is distilled, and the length the rum is allowed to mature. Islands that are more Spanish speaking, like Puerto Rico, create a dry and light-tasting rum. Islands that are more English speaking produce the heavier and dark rums. Rum can be any liquor made from the fermented juice of the sugar cane, sugar cane molasses or syrup, or sugar cane by-products and distilled at less than 190 proof. It will also have the aroma, taste, and other characteristics usually attributed to rum only. The Caribbean Islands first began distilling rum when Christopher Columbus brought sugar cane to the islands. When the Spanish colonists who followed Columbus brought their knowledge of distilling, they began using the juice of the sugar cane, which was able to grow productively in the climate, to create the alcoholic beverage known as rum. Many historians believe that the word “rum” comes from the word rumbullion, which means rumpus, or the word rumbustion, which means uproar. The flavor of rum can be classified as light-bodied or dark-bodied. Light-bodied rums are usually dry, with a slight flavor or molasses. They can come in either white or gold varieties. The white is the most popular, while gold is a mix of light and dark. Gold is sweeter, with a heavier taste of molasses. The most popular light rums are from the Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico. Heavy-bodied rums are darker and have a much sweeter flavor. They are also more aromatic, with a very heavy molasses taste. This is because of the slower fermentation and the maturation process. Popular dark rums are most often produces in Bermuda, Demerara, Jamaica, Trinidad, and surprisingly, New England.
Liqueurs were first produces by Christian monks in the middle ages. They created these as medicinal methods of helping the ill. Using secret combinations of bark, herbs, honey, roots, and seeds they combined them with distilled spirits and offered the concoctions as remedies for many illnesses and diseases. The word liqueur is often interchanged with the word cordial.
Brandy is a spirit made using the distillation of fermented mash, usually grapes, or other fruit. Most versions of brandy are distilled from white wine, which is created from white grapes. The best brandy is created from wine that recently finished fermentation, instead of wine that has been aged. Brandies are created anywhere in the world that grapes grow. The most popular versions of brandy are cognac and metaxa. Cognac originates in France, while metaxa originates in Greece. Cognac is distinctly produces in the Cognac region of France, north of Bordeaux. While all cognac is a brandy, not all brandies are a cognac. To be called cognac, the brandy must have been distilled with wine made from only grapes grown within Charente and Charente-Maritime Departments of France. While other brandies may ship from Cognac, if they were not created with the specific grapes and wine, legally they cannot be called cognac. Brandy that is distilled in California can only be done using wine made from California grapes, and must meet the strict standards set by California distillers. California brandies account for over 75 percent of all brandy sales in the United States. Brandy that is made in parts of Europe has a distinct fruit flavor different from brandies made with grapes. In Germany, distillers produce Kirsch, which is flavored with cherries. While in France, distillers create Mirabelle, which has plum flavoring. These additional fruit flavorings are created by adding the fruit concentrate or extract and sweetening syrups to the brandy base. Labels on fruit brandies follow rigid guidelines as well. They must indicate which type of fruit is used, such as peach, blackberry, cherry, apricot, or others. Most brandies are aged three to eight years in oak barrels.
Beer is a type of alcoholic drink made through a different process than other liquors. It is done by the steeping of starch in water, usually malted barley and malted wheat grains, which then produces a sugar. This sugar is fermented and often flavored with hops. Instead of distilling beer, produces of the beverage “brew” it. There are many different varieties of beer produced all over the world, each with their own brewing method and resulting taste.
Pilsner is a simple pale lager that originated in Plzen, Czechoslovakia in 1842 using Noble Saaz hops. It has a bitter and strong hops flavor, with a more fragrant and soft malt taste.
Wheat beer is considered most similar to the first beers brewed. Wheat beer is made using barley and wheat grains, with a very low or even nonexistent hops flavor. Most wheat beer has a cloudy appearance and a more yeast flavor. Only wheat beer is made using ale yeast, which gives it this distinctive light flavoring.
Brown ale is a dark-colored amber beer. Another older beer, it was originally created using 100 percent brown malt and very lightly hopped. This gave brown ale its unique coloring. Brown ale is most often an earthy taste without the bitterness of other beers, but can vary from a sweet to earthy and malty.
Pale ale is one of the most popular varieties of beer. It is produced by gently roasting the barley and using pale malt. In the United States, pale ale has a higher content of hops, giving the beer a more spicy taste. In the United Kingdom, pale ale most often has a woody flavoring with a strong malt taste.
Indian pale ale originates from the 1700s when English troops lived in India. Because the pale ale they usually drank would spoil long before the containers reached the shores of India, brewers added more hops to extend the shelf life. Indian pale ale has a small bitter taste, with a very strong hops flavor.
Imperial IPAs or Double IPAs are Indian pale ales that have even more hops added, sometimes triple the amount normally used. To balance the additional hops, more malt is added by brewers, giving this ale a very strong fruity and hoppy flavor with very deep malt undertones.
Bock beer originates from medieval times and German monasteries, when the monks would brew beer for Lenten fasting. Bock beer has a strong and rich flavor, with only a small bitterness from the hops.
Porter beer or port beer is a very dark beer produced with roasted barley or malts and then brewed with yeast that was slowly fermented. Many porter beers have a taste of chocolate, roasted grains, or toffee.
Stout beer is very similar to porter beer. However, stout beers are created with black barley that is unmalted and have a very heavy flavor or roasted barley. Stout beer also has a licorice taste, and no hops flavor to them.
Wine is produced through the fermenting of usually grapes; however, other fruits are also used to create wine. Because of the natural chemical balance that grapes have, they can ferment without adding sugars, water, or other nutrients. There are many different styles of wines, depending on the types of grapes and yeast used to create them. The two categories of wine are white and red.
Chardonnay is considered the most popular of all white wines. It was originally produced using grapes only grown in the Burgundy region of France, but is now produced anywhere that Chardonnay grapes can be grown. Because of the versatility of the Chardonnay grape, it can produce a very complex white wine. Most Chardonnay wines are a full-flavored wine with hints of fruit, butter, vanilla, or even nuts. They often have a medium to high acidity level.
Chenin Blanc is another white wine that comes from the Loire Valley of France. It is now produced in other areas, especially California. The Chenin Blanc is a white wine that has a light and fruity taste, but a very high acidity level.
Gewurztraminer is a very bold and often spicy white wine that comes from fully ripened grapes in Germany or the Alsace region in France. The bold yet light flavors come from using grapes that are allowed to fully ripen in the cooler climates.
Pinot Grigio is a white wine from grapes grown in Italy and the Alsace region of France. It is known as Pinot Gris from grapes grown in the United States. The flavor will depend on where the grapes were grown. European Pinot Grigio has less body and a higher acidic taste, while the Pinot Gris in the United States has a much less acidic flavor and heavier body. Both white wines have a slight citrus aroma.
Riesling is a white wine that first originated in Germany. The grapes are now grown in the Alsace region of France, the Finger Lakes District of New York, California, and Washington State. This white wine can have a medium to high acidity level, a light to medium body, and a very distinct fruity and flowery aroma.
Sauvignon Blanc or Fume Blanc is made from grapes that grow in the Bordeaux or Loire regions of France, California, New Zealand, and even South Africa. This white wine has a light and fruity taste, with a crisp acidity level. It may be combined with Semillon, which also comes from France’s Bordeaux region.
Semillon is not a stand-alone wine. These golden grapes originate in Australia and France. It is used to blend with other wines and creates a rich and sweet wine most often used as a dessert wine. It can also be used to blend with other grapes and create a dry wine.
Viognier is another white wine with a moderate acidity level. It originates from grapes grown in California and France’s Rhone region. It tastes slightly of apricots and peaches, but rarely has a flower aroma.
Barbera is a red wine that comes from grapes grown in the Piedmont region of Italy. This wine has a very high acidity level, is full-bodied and often used as a blending wine for other red wines. The grapes used to produce this wine are often on century-old vines. When these grapes are used, the wine is allowed to age for years and creates an intense fruity flavor and high tannic content.
Brunello di Montalcino is a very rare wine made using the Brunello grapes. These grapes are an offshoot of the Sangiovese grape and are the only grapes allowed to create the Brunello di Montalcino wine. This Tuscan red wine has a very fruity and bold taste.
Cabernet Franc is another wine often blended with other wines. It is a light to medium-bodied red wine used to give a lighter flavor to heavier wines. This wine is produced in the Loire Valley in France, California, and New York. Sometimes, the grapes are used to make a wine called Chinon.
Cabernet Sauvignon is a very popular red wine. This wine is often aged for many years to create a full-bodied red wine that is ruby or dark purple in color and extends an array of intense flavors and aromas. It is a dry wine often produced in France’s Bordeaux region, California, Loire Valley, and New York.
Dolcetto is a red wine produced mostly in the Piedmont region of France. It has a strong fruit taste, with the aroma of almonds and licorice. This wine is not aged long and is a dry wine with a low to moderate acidity level. Most Dolcetto wines are meant to be drunk within one to two years after they are produced.
Gamay is the name of wines only produced in the Beaujolais region of France. Red wines made from these grapes have lower alcohol content than other wines, with a fresh and fruity taste. It is a light-bodied wine, which should not be opened until it is ready to be drunk. Some wines created in California use the Gamay name, however they are not true Gamay wines and do not have the quality of the French versions.
Grenache wines originate mostly in the Rhone valley of France; however, they are also made in Spain and California. It is medium-bodied red wine with a fruity raspberry flavor. Grenache wine is another wine often used to blend with similar wines, such as Sarah or Mourvedre.
Malbec is a wine produced with grapes grown in Argentina because of its hot and dry climate. As a wine, it has a low acidity level, is softer in tannins than other red wines, and is one of the grapes allowed to be used to blend Bordeaux wines. Malbec grapes are also grown in the Bordeaux and Loire regions of France.
Merlot is another very popular and flexible red wine. It has a very mellow and soft flavor, with a low acidity level and tastes of blackberry, cherries, and plum. Merlot grapes are grown in many regions worldwide and are used to combine with other wines, including Cabernet and Bordeaux.
Mourvedre grapes are used to blend with other grapes to specific wines; these grapes are not created as a stand-alone wine. They can be grown in almost any grape-growing region, although they did originate in France’s Rhone region. Mourvedre grapes are often combined with red wines such as Syrah, Grenache, or Monastrell.
Nebbiolo, also called Nebieul is a red wine that originates from the Piedmont region of Italy. It is a dry and light red wine with a high acidity level, and is often aged for many years. Once they are aged, the wine takes on a brick-orange hue when poured to the rim of a glass, and contain a variety of aromas and flavors including wild herbs, cherries, truffles, tobacco, and prunes. While some varieties are created using the younger versions, most producers age the wine to balance out the tannins with the flavors and aromas.
Pinot Noir is a red wine most known for its delicate aromas and flavors. The grapes used to create this wine are not easy to grow and can be found in France’s Burgundy region or cooler areas of California. These grapes are also used to produce rose style champagnes because of their light body.
Sangiovese is made mostly in Italy and is the signature red wine of the Chianti and Tuscany regions. This wine has a complex blend of flavors and is often blended with Cabernet. Syrah, or Shiraz, has a low to moderate acidity level and contains a blend of fruits and spices. The Australian and South Africa versions are known as Shiraz, while the variety produced in California and France is called Syrah. Syrah can be blended with Grenache grapes to produce a lower acidic wine.
Tempranillo is a full-bodied red wine with a low acidity level and low sugar content. The grapes originate in the Rioja region of Spain, although they are now grown in many other areas such as Mexico, Australia, Argentina, and the United States. This wine is made from black grapes that ripen before most red grapes in Spain and was often served to nobles and other royalty in earlier days. These grapes are used in Portugal to combine with other grapes and produce port wine.
Zinfandel is a red wine made from grapes almost exclusively grown in California. This wine has a low to moderate acidity level and contains full flavors with a spicy taste. Zinfandel grapes are also called Primitivo grapes and are related to Croatian grapes known as Crljenak Kastelanski. Zinfandel wine is different from White Zinfandel. While White Zinfandel is still produced from the Zinfandel grape, it is a sweet and softer rose wine because of its fermentation process.
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6300 San Mateo Boulevard N.E.
Albuquerque, NM 87109
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1418 Juan Tabo Blvd. NE
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5850 Eubank Boulevard Northeast
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1903 Coors Boulevard Southwest
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4312 Coors Rd Southwest
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9411 Coors Boulevard Northwest
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111 Rio Rancho Drive NE
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408 Highway 550
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300 North Main St
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