How to Find the… Best. Cocktail. Ever.

By Samantha

Thankfully neither you nor I will ever know the pain of “Prohibition” days. It was a dark time when there was no “Happy Hour,” no last call, no nightcap, no keg stands.   Okay, maybe that’s not exactly true…

You’ve heard about those hidden little bars and drinking clubs called “speakeasys,” right? In these secret places, the cocktails kept flowing despite Prohibition (i.e. the doomed-to-failure 18th Amendment), which banned the manufacture, transportation, and sale of liquor from January 29, 1919 to the day it was repealed with the passing of the 21st amendment on December 5, 1933.

That must have been a loooooooooooong 14 years, LOL!

But I don’t know. Maybe it was a little thrilling to secretly sip hand-crafted cocktails with friends behind closed doors. You want to find out? Well, as it turns out you can do just that… thanks to The Bookcase & Barber.

Where might you find this place? Well, yes, go ahead and use Google maps. You’ll find it. But will you find the speakeasy inside?

Not unless you have the password, of course.

On approach, you’ll see that this place is a legit barbershop. They’re not kidding about that. So if you need a trim, just walk in or book an appointment with one of the 3 professional barbers: Pedro, Pat, or Brendan. They’ll make sure you look dapper for your cocktail hour behind the bookcase. But I remind you: you’ll need that darn password.

Before we get to that you should know what to expect. How about a cozy, relaxed atmosphere where welcoming bartenders serve up the most phenomenal craft cocktails known to man? I’m talking about drinks that take 10+ minutes to make because they’re true works of art.

The incredibly creative drink menu is inspired by the favorite books and authors of the proprietors Beau and Jenna Black. This place is located behind a bookcase… so that just makes sense.

The couple has lived and worked in Durango for many years. Both are in hospitality. In fact, Beau is a Professional Chef. He’s the genius behind the awesome presentation of the cocktails, but the unique drink recipes are a collaborative effort—a blend of improv and creative input from the entire A-team of bartenders and mixologists.

And you may need the password to get into their speakeasy, but Beau, Jenna, and team are not keeping secrets. In fact, they are all about educating us on the art of craft cocktails. Discover your favorite new drink there? They’ll give you the recipe! Seriously. (I’m going to post the recipe for my fav drink here soon so make sure to subscribe at if you haven’t already.) Imagine serving up fun new drinks to your guests this holiday season, such as…

The Faulkner

“Mint Julep” Basil Hayden’s bourbon, fresh mint, simple, Barber’s bitters, fresh crushed ice, and lemon wedge

St. Vincent Millay

“Between the Sheets” or “Sidecar with Rum” Germain Robin brandy, Cointreau, Diplomatico Blanco rum, fresh lemon juice, and flamed orange peel

Hemingway Part 2

“Death in the Afternoon” Leopold Bros absinthe, verte, agave nectar, and Prosecco

So why haven’t you heard about this place? I’m not sure. But the important thing is that now you do. (You’re welcome!) And, of course, the word has been getting around since they opened 2 years ago on December 5th. Yes, that’s the exact date that Prohibition ended in 1933. “The date seemed fitting,” Jenna told me. Ummm, yeah!

If you know anything about Durango you already know it’s a pretty cool, eclectic place. It’s home to a mix of Colorado natives as well as happy transplants from Los Angeles, New York and all around the world. And yet there is a distinct sense of local pride and authenticity.

Nowhere is that more obvious than at The Bookcase & Barber. This place may be in its infancy, but it’s got soul. It came by its name honestly as it was previously the site of Durango’s beloved local bookstore for 32 years. In fact, the shopkeeper Anne Perkins (who was already planning to retire in 2015) gifted Beau and Jenna with the books that you’ll see on the shelves when you visit. Even the restroom is wallpapered with repurposed pages from a set of torn 1920s magazines, which the snarky publisher at the time called The Police Gazette.

Okay, okay. You’re eagerly awaiting the password, aren’t you? To find it just hit up their Facebook page @thebookcaseandbarber and scope out their cover image. There you have it. The keys to the kingdom. Cheers!!

 Want to go?

Address:  601 East Second Avenue, Suite B, Durango, Colorado 81301

Hours (always double check their website):

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – 5:00 pm to Midnight

Thursday, Friday, Saturday – 2:00 pm to Midnight

They don’t take reservations, but you can book a private party or event (max is 25-30 peeps)!

Questions? Go ahead and email: or call 970-764-4123.

What to wear?

It’s Durango so it’s casual. But hey, if you’re feeling inspired then check this out.

Want some fresh ideas for holiday cocktails?

Drop your name and email into the Wanderlove subscription form here on the main page of our blog and you’ll receive it all before Thanksgiving is upon us! Promise. But first, you’ll have to give me the password. JK!


Something Special to Freshen Up Your Holiday Cocktail Offering


This popular little ditty has been in our craft cocktail lineup since day one! It has become a longtime favorite, especially with our regulars. #BookcaseOriginal

It’s really perfect any time of year—but it’s an especially nice prelude to big meals like Thanksgiving dinner as it has a lovely light, grapefruit nose and a well-balanced citrus herbal flavor.

The main players? House-infused Hopped Vodka, Combier Liqueur de Pamplemousse Rose and Leopold Bros. Three Pins Alpine Herbal Liqueur … served in a chilled large coupe glass and garnished with a citrus twist, of course.


1/2 oz. of Leopold Bros. Three Pins Alpine Herbal Liqueur – from Denver, CO.

2 oz. House-infused Hopped Vodka… We infuse Pine River Hops from LePlatt’s Pond in Bayfield, CO. Beau’s brother grows and harvests them for our local breweries. We get a bag of hops every season and make our own “Hopped Vodka” using Spring 44 Vodka… another Colorado-made product out of Loveland, CO.*

3/4 oz. Grapefruit Liqueur
1/2 oz. Fresh squeezed Lemon Juice


Create a grapefruit peel twist. Take a fresh grapefruit (or lemon), make a slice through one side of the peel and the pulp—all the way up to the rind on the other side. Cut the pulp off of the peel so that you have one long thin strip of peel. Twist the peel into a curly-q shape. Balance it on the edge of the coupe glass


Add Three Pins Alpine Herbal Liqueur, hopped vodka, grapefruit liqueur, lemon juice and ice to your metal mixing tin and shake. Train into a large coupe glass. Garnish with a grapefruit peel.

* If you would like to learn how to infuse vodka with hops check this out:

Thanks for enjoying this cocktail responsibly! Enjoy your Turkey day! xo

Ever Been Kissed by a Wolf?

By Samantha

I’m going to guess you’ve probably never given much thought to meeting a wolf, let alone getting a kiss from one. I hadn’t. But when I heard about Wolfwood Refuge from a friend my curiosity was peaked.

Located in the rolling hills of Ignacio, Colorado about 30 minutes southeast of Durango, Wolfwood is home to more than 60 animals ranging from 100% straight-up wolves to wolf-dogs to full dogs and (most recently) a coyote toddler named “Wile E.”— who thinks he’s a wolf. (Seriously. I even had the chance to hear him try to howl like a wolf when the main pack started howling on the morning I visited.)

Paula runs the show here. Basically, she’s the wolf whisperer. And a highly entertaining teacher. Dre and I visited on a Wednesday morning and joined in her 2-hour tour.

I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical about whether the tour would hold my attention that long, but I was motivated by the opportunity to meet a 150-pound alpha wolf face to face… and maybe even get a kiss! That said, the time we spent on the tour absolutely flew by and every moment was fascinating. Paula is super spunky and she blends interesting facts with touching stories about the animals on the tour and how each one plays a special role at the refuge.

The star of the show is undoubtedly Oakley. He’s 6 years old and leader of the largest wolf pack at Wolfwood. He and eight of his siblings were flown to the refuge from Alaska as pups. They arrived neurotic and malnourished. Today they are healthy and playful. Of course, to achieve this goal, Paula and her team have put in countless hours and superhuman patience. They have also learned a lot— just as we did during our visit!

Paula tells us that she is often asked, “Are the wolves rehabilitated in order to be released into the wilds?”

The answer in this case is no. Everyone at Wolfwood is a “lifer.” For one reason or another, none of the animals who currently live at Paula’s refuge would be able to survive in the wild. She will explain all of that when you visit…

But back to Oakley and my wolf romance. When the moment comes to get face to face with Oakley, the experience is pretty tough to explain. The mix of emotions will be different for each person, but I guarantee it is a really powerful experience.   I mean he is a 150-pound alpha wolf, after all. Paula and one of her team members are right at your side as you respectfully crouch down and allow Oakley to get to know you… by sniffing of course. That’s when you get the chance to run your hands through his super soft coat and marvel at his sea foam green eyes. Oh, those eyes! They are lifechanging. (In fact, Paula will tell you a story about that too.)

Before you know it, you receive the most memorable kiss of your life, and it makes you smile from ear to ear because (if nothing else) it occurs to you how cool your life is at that moment.

I’ll leave you with that thought. Oh wait, one last thing. I definitely need to point out that Wolfwood Refuge is a non-profit organization and they rely 100% on private donations. You might be thinking “Oh, so I bet their 2-hour tour is pricey.” Nope. It’s FREE. Really. No joke. It’s FREE.

So, if you’re going to visit please be sure to make a donation (every bit counts), and obviously you’ll want to bring your phone along because there are some pretty epic photo opportunities… so the pics you snap will ensure that all of your friends on Facebook and Instagram are blown away.
Want to plan a visit?

There are typically tours every week and you can find the schedule online at (click Visit the Refuge). All of the details you’ll need are there, including Paula’s email address in case you have more questions.

What to wear?

Obviously it depends upon the weather, but I definitely suggest that you wear sturdy closed-toe shoes for walking around the hilly, rocky terrain. At the link above Paula provides more helpful tips on what to wear and what to bring (and what to leave at home).


Want to help Paula and her wolves?

You can donate easily and quickly using Paypal and your bank card or credit card online at




Check out The Secret City—it’s the bomb.

By Samantha

Not so long ago we would have needed special government clearance just to get into this town. Today we roll right in to find an AMAZING year-round playground with everything from world-class mountain biking and skiing to a super lively brewery owned by some of the world’s top scientists. And speaking of scientists, this place just happens to be home to the lab that beat out the Nazis in the race to create the A-bomb.

Where the heck are we? Los Alamos! Located in northwestern New Mexico and previously referred to only as “Site Y”, this place has a fascinating “top secret” story. I don’t want to give it all away because you really should visit to uncover it all for yourself. But curious minds want to know so I’ll make planning your own Los Alamos adventure easy for you. Here are my…

Top 10 Reasons to Visit:

1. It’s an epic history lesson on the making of the Atomic Bomb—and more! Take a few hours to check out:

  • Award-winning Bradbury Science Museum …both Lonely Planet and USA Today call this place a “Must see” and I agree. You’ll find fun interactive exhibits, easy-to-digest history, and life-sized replicas of original atomic warheads “Little Boy” and “Fat Man”! It’s open daily and it’s FREE.
  • The Secret City Mobile App—available on iOS and Android for FREE. This mobile app offers an immersive, game-like experience and walking tour that uses virtual reality and “augmented” reality to bring the town’s fascinating race-to-the-atomic-bomb history to life.

2. You can actually go inside ancient pueblos on the cliffs at Bandelier National Monument …yes, it requires climbing ladders!

3. Waterfalls! I hear that Frijoles Falls inside Bandelier National Monument and Jemez Falls (a little further west) are pretty darn cool! Each drops roughly 70 feet in a series of cascades with a fun “plunge pool” at the bottom.

4. Every type of camping… RV parks, tenting, back country roving… however you like to roll. According to my YELP app, two popular camping spots seem to be inside Bandelier and at Jemez Falls Campground!

5. Hiking, hiking, and more hiking …Download the Los Alamos Trails Mobile App for a look at the many options!

6. Thursday Farmers Market …has the world’s best selection of New Mexico’s Hatch chiles (next to the library).

7. Pajarito Mountain gives you access to really affordable skiing and snowboarding and it’s not crowded. It was actually named “10 Best Secret Ski Towns in North America” by National Geographic Adventure Magazine.

8. The Bathtub Row Brewing Co-op… remember I mentioned this earlier? It’s a brewery owned by some of the world’s top scientists and there are always new and creative brews on tap. It’s not the only game in town. Also check out Pajarito Brewpub for really great eats (from burgers to salads) in addition to a wide variety of local and regional drafts.

9. It’s heaven for Mountain Bikers. There are miles and miles of great trails for everyone from beginners to seasoned riders. Need advice on where to find your ideal trail? Need bikes or gear? Visit Brad and Rose at Fusion Multisport (tell them Samantha from Naked Mobile says hi)!

10. The Summer Concert Series on Friday nights at Ashley Pond Park sees locals and visitors alike out enjoying the mild high-elevation summer evenings, a variety of great music acts, and tents selling yummy eats and drinks! Bring picnic blankets and lawn chairs.
In summary, Los Alamos is a seriously awesome, off-the-beaten-path destination. But if you want to go… go soon. This “Secret City”, which has intentionally stayed off-the-radar for decades, is now promoting itself more and more—to attract visitors.

And rightly so. In addition to all the activities I’ve mentioned thus far… there is even more to do and see.

Bonus! The Rio Grande (you may have heard of it) flows very close to Los Alamos and Cottam’s Rio Grande Rafting offers half-day, full-day and overnight options if you want to get up close and personal with this famous river. They score 5 out of 5 stars on Tripadvisor so check them out on the Tripadvisor app for more details and insight.

Want a sneak peek?

Like I said, our #Wanderlove episode on The Secret City will give you some great visuals of this place so…
Make sure to take 10 seconds to subscribe to our blog here if you haven’t already so you don’t miss out on any of the upcoming adventures. Here’s where to go:

Want to go?

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