Dorćol Distilling Company is Bringing a New Spirit to San Antonio
Chris Mobley and Boyan Kalusevic have done more than just dream of opening a business. Since meeting up several years ago at the University of Texas in Austin, they have built their dream into a real bricks and mortar building. Dorćol Distilling Company is in a newly built art deco building on South Flores in the heart of the City’s Art District.
Chris and Boyan invited a few friends to the distillery for a tour and tasting and I was happy and excited to be part of this get together.
The first thing I noticed when walking up to their new business is the beautiful woodwork surrounding the building and the expansive patio out front. When I stepped inside, I was greeted by a warm living room setting with a couch, chairs and tables on one side and a bar on the other. And the art work on the walls gave the room the ambiance of the Art District. “We wanted this area to be cozy and casual inviting conversation and sipping our spirits” explained Mobley. There is also a large glass window behind the bar where you can see into the actual distillery housed in a large open area. Today the backroom was set up with a nice sized catered buffet along one side with many beautifully displayed scrumptious treats. There were also tables and chairs arranged for open seating in front of the copper still. The building setup is great for hosting tastings, art and music events or any number of private events.
Seeing the backroom was a new experience for me since I have never been inside a distillery before, but both Mobley and Kalusevic were happy to give a tour of the backroom and explain the process of making their spirits. I won’t even try to repeat the entire process Dorćol uses to create their quality spirits, but I will say the most impressive part for me was seeing the traditional direct-flame copper pot-still in the center of the room. This massive copper pot seemed to own the room even while being surrounded by large stainless steal tanks. In fact, this copper pot still is their most prized possession because it was made by third-generation father and son coppersmiths in Europe. The shape of this pot is specifically designed to create the most flavorful and full-bodied spirit possible. Watching the liquid spirits dripping out of the still was intriguing and getting to catch the drip into a glass to taste the 126 proof Distiller’s Cut was an honor.
The idea for the business came from Kalusevic’s family’s Serbian roots where it is a tradition for families to make their own “rakia” or fruit-based wine and spirits. In fact, the recipe for their Kinsman Rakia is Kalusevic’s grandfathers original recipe. Dorćol Distilling Company believes the recipe for success isn’t only following this age-old recipe closely but also using the finest, purest ingredients for their rakia. And double-distilling insures the final product will have a perfect blend of character and aroma.
The first spirit to come off the production line is the Kinsman Apricot Rakia (Apricot Brandy) which is the one I got to sample. It has a very nice smooth taste which I am sure is going to become a new favorite drink among the social crowd. And to think it is produced right here in San Antonio!
This urban boutique craft-distillery is creating an artisan spirit which fits right in to our city’s Art District. Kinsman Rakia is both robust and full-bodied to be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in a cocktail. Be sure to stop in for a sip or to buy a bottle or two on Second Saturday when the Art District comes alive with live music, film screenings, art installations and dramatic performances.