Desert Door sotol distillery to open in Texas

Texas-based sotol brand Desert Door is to open a 6,500 square foot distillery in Austin next month, with plans to release two variations of small-batch sotol.

Set to open on 20 October in Driftwood, the Desert Door distillery will produce two variations – Original Desert Door Texas Sotol and Desert Door Oak-Aged Sotol. Both the aged and unaged versions of Desert Door Texas Sotol are made with three ingredients: wild sotol, organic yeast, and purified natural Texas water. The Original Desert Door Texas Sotol is described as “organic, low calorie, and perfect for cocktails”. It has “herbaceous and vegetal” notes with a “crisp earthiness, a hint of floral mint, and sweetness” on the palate. Bottled in 750ml ceramic bottles at 40% abv, it has an RRP of $50. The 100-proof Desert Door Oak-Aged Texas Sotol is distilled using the most mature sotol plants aged from 15-17 years and then aged for 24 weeks in American oak barrels. It is described as having “caramel vanilla, mint and floral notes”, drawing touches of oak and a “subtle hint of smoke” through the aging process with a sweet earthy finish leaving impressions of white peppercorn, rose water, and oaky vanilla. The Desert Door Oak-Aged Sotol will be available in February 2018 in 750ml ceramic bottles priced at US$70 each. The Desert Door process begins by harvesting the plant in West Texas. At the age of 12, wild sotol plants are harvested, trimmed, and cooked in steam, converting stored energy into sugar. The plant sugars are extracted and fermented in tanks for five days with Desert Door’s organic, proprietary yeast. The resulting mash is distilled in a custom-built, dual-head copper column still. The taste of the spirit reflects the growing conditions and landscape of its desert home. “Sotol has deeper roots in Texas than any other spirit. Desert Door is proud to be bringing it back,” said co-founder Judson Kauffman. The sotol will first be available at the distillery and in Austin at select bars and restaurants, with additional distribution channels to be announced in the coming months.