An Interview with Dylan Storment, Director of
Wine & Spirits, and Wine & Spirits staff

Local Hero – Best Cocktail Program

Photos by Stephanie Cameron

Campo cocktails from left to right: Lavender, The Three Guineas, and Flight of the Peacock.

Landing his first restaurant job at fourteen, Dylan Storment immediately felt at home within the industry. In 2008, Storment, who grew up in Santa Fe, heard about an opening for an event server at Los Poblanos. “As I headed up the tree-lined drive, I knew I had found something special,” he recalls. Los Poblanos is always evolving, which makes every day an opportunity and a learning experience—“part of what makes Los Poblanos so remarkable,” he says.

How did you get to where you are now, and what was the moment that brought you to your current work?

Dylan Storment: I started as a server and bartender, quickly moving into management of events, and later took on management of our first restaurant. In 2014, I was awarded the opportunity to head the wine program for the property, which has always been a major passion of mine. With the addition of our spirits license in 2018, my and our incredible bar team’s collective goal has been to create the most exciting cocktail and spirits program we possibly could. Our bar has been built upon collaboration, which wouldn’t be possible without the amazing team of beverage professionals I get to work with.

Your menu is a preeminent example of Rio Grande Valley cuisine, with ingredients sourced from your own farm and from farms and ranches throughout the Rio Grande watershed. How has the availability of local ingredients changed since you first started? What sort of agricultural growth would you like to see in New Mexico?

Zack Ninneman, bartender: Since I’m still fairly new to Campo and Los Poblanos, the scale of change that I’ve seen is limited. Mainly, it is the changing of the seasons and utilization of different seasonal ingredients, which for me is a fascinating aspect of our program. . . .
I don’t think many places utilize infusions as much as we do, and as effectively as we do. Agriculturally speaking, I think more places need to be taking advantage of and supporting the use of local farms in order to a) help these farms and agricultural businesses thrive, and b) present more of a regional cuisine that’s exclusive to New Mexico.

What is your favorite local ingredient to work with these days?

Joseph Simonson, bartender: Maybe it’s a recent bias, but I think Steve and Jane Darland’s pomegranate juice is my favorite New Mexico ingredient: rich, vibrant, delicious, and very healthful. To me, it’s important to “know your grower.” People should understand there’s more to food production and consumption than a label, and expand their awareness beyond simply organic, or even simply local. Sustainability is an especially important issue that too often goes untold. And the better we know our growers, the better we can facilitate our community loop with guests.

How has the pandemic affected the daily routine at the restaurant? What lessons have you drawn from this difficult year?

Dylan Storment: One of the most difficult things has been not being able to have guests in the bar. The team thrives on the interaction. One of our favorite parts of the job is storytelling—talking to our guests about the process of our cocktails and the stories of our spirit program.

Do you have a favorite cookbook?

Matt Dickinson, lead bartender: Some that have truly inspired our program are The Bar Book by Jeffery Morgenthaler, an indispensable book when it comes to technique. Also, Liquid Intelligence by Dave Arnold is one of the most complete compendiums ever written, and definitely a place we turn to whenever we have a question. The Savoy Cocktail Book [by Harry Craddock] is important for learning the history of the classics; it’s especially interesting to compare to our practices today.

What is the most inspiring thing you’ve eaten this year?

Dylan Storment: So many meals, but mostly things my partner and I have cooked at home. Simple meals are sometimes the best—Rosales Produce green chile on Los Poblanos sourdough toast with garlic and butter. Amazing local beef from friends, cooked mid-rare with a killer sear, served with the perfect glass of red or a bourbon old fashioned.

What is a local food issue that’s important to you?

Dylan Storment: One of the most important local food issues for our team is consistent support of our local community. Definitely in our food, but also our New Mexico distillers and brewers using local botanicals in their spirits and beer, as well as our local vignerons making fantastic New Mexico wine. . . . Particularly in this time of hardship, we need to be the backbone supporting our local community to power through this.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with edible readers?

Dylan Storment: Let’s all continue to support our local beverage programs. We have so many amazing and super knowledgeable beverage professionals in our community—we all need to support each other now more than ever. Also, I just want to shout out to our amazing Los Poblanos bar team: You all are the greatest, and I’m so excited to keep working together to make New Mexico a premier wine, spirits, and cocktail destination!

4803 Rio Grande NW, 505-344-9297, lospoblanos.com

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