First Truly Authentic Texas Spirit, Desert Door, to be Produced in Driftwood Texas
First truly authentic Texas spirit, Desert Door, is a line of sotol produced from West Texas-grown evergreen sotol – also known as the Desert Spoon plant – announced the launch of the spirits brand in Austin, Texas, with the opening of the Desert Door distillery in Driftwood, Texas, at 211 Darden Hill Road on November 16. At the distillery, visitors can experience both Original Desert Door Texas Sotol and Desert Door Oak-Aged Sotol – the two different styles of the spirit. 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.
Cocktail Photo credit: Alyson Campbell
Based on historical artifacts and other findings, sotol was first fermented by the Native Americans living in Texas more than 7,000 years ago. Over the last 250 years, West Texans have been moonshining sotol in makeshift homemade stills, and the spirit is also made by a handful of producers throughout Northern Mexico, particularly in the states of Chihuahua, Durango, and Coahuila. The Desert Spoon plant, which is one of 16 species within the Dasylirion genus, takes up to 15 years to reach maturity. Desert Door is using Dasylirion Texanum to make the spirit.
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.
Desert Door’s portfolio includes two variations: Original Desert Door Texas Sotol, a versatile and complex spirit that is organic, low calorie, and perfect for cocktails, and the 100-proof Desert Door Oak-Aged Texas Sotol, which is distilled using the most mature sotol plants (15-17 years) and then aged for 24 weeks in oak barrels. Both the aged and unaged versions of Desert Door Texas Sotol are made with only three ingredients: wild sotol, organic yeast, and purified natural Texas water. The result is a spirit with herbaceous and vegetal notes that leave the palate with a crisp earthiness, a hint of floral mint, and just the right amount of sweetness to calm it down. The 750 ml ceramic bottles of Desert Door Texas Sotol are bottled at 40% ABV with a starting retail price of $50 each.
The 100-proof Desert Door Oak-Aged Sotol is aged in new American charred white oak barrels and is an ultra-premium sipping spirit, reminiscent of a fine aged bourbon with the warmth of brandy, but retaining the unique and wild flavors that only Texas Sotol can deliver. The aged variation starts with 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 750 ml ceramic bottles priced at $70 each.
Texans Judson Kauffman, Ryan Campbell, and Brent Looby are the founders of Desert Door. Kauffman, Campbell, and Looby met while attending The University of Texas McCombs School of Business. An elective course on entrepreneurship planted the seed for the trio that would lead to the group developing the first sotol distillery in the nation shortly after getting their MBAs. Each founder has a passion for the outdoors, the wilds of Texas, and all are former service members of the United States military.
“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 Desert Door distillery will open its doors to patrons on November 16. Visitors can tour the 6,500 sq. ft facility, and enjoy craft cocktails and curated goods available in their desert-modern tasting room which features a cozy fireplace and work by regional artists. For more information on Desert Door and for updates on the distillery, tasting room, and future distribution, please visit https://desertdoor.com and follow Desert Door at @desertdoorsotol on social media.
ABOUT DESERT DOOR
Desert Door, launched in Austin, Texas, in November 2017, produces a line of sotol made from the evergreen sotol, or Desert Spoon plant, native to West Texas. Desert Door sotol is made with only three ingredients: wild sotol, organic yeast, and purified natural Texas water and is available in two variations; the Original Desert Door Texas Sotol and a 100-proof Desert Door Oak-Aged Sotol. Desert Door also has a 6,500 sq. ft distillery and tasting room, located at 211 Darden Hill Road, Driftwood, Texas, offering craft cocktails and guided tours. The distillery is open Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on Desert Door, or to make reservations for tours, please visit https://desertdoor.com or follow the brand on social media at @desertdoorsotol.