drink dogma » Vodka http://drinkdogma.com Thu, 31 May 2012 01:01:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3 THE TEXAS MICRO-DISTILLATION MARKET http://drinkdogma.com/the-texas-micro-distillation-market/ http://drinkdogma.com/the-texas-micro-distillation-market/#comments Mon, 04 May 2009 22:34:59 +0000 http://drinkdogma.com/?p=546 Since my return to Houston a couple of years ago, I have anxiously monitored the Texas spirits market. In Chicago, I had the great small-batch spirits from North Shore Distillers, including Distiller’s Gin No.6 and their Aquavit. But, despite the boom of Tito’s Vodka years before, the Texas market remained relatively quiet, adding only Paula’s Texas Spirits until 2007. I was always puzzled by these circumstances because if there is anything that Texans are fanatical about, it is products made in Texas. Nevertheless, over the last year, several new brands have been released – a clear sign that Texas interest in spirits and cocktails is on the rise.

Amid, all of these developments, I thought it would be appropriate to profile each of the existing Texas micro-distilleries and preview those on the way. The Texas micro-distillery market is still young, and for it to survive and resemble anything like what can be found in California and Oregon, cocktail fanatics in Texas need to support these brands. So please, become familiar with the producers and consider them a viable, and often preferable, option to other global and national brands.

Paula’s Texas Spirits
Established: 2003
Founders: Paula Angerstein
Location: Austin, TX
Profile: I want everyone to be aware of Texas spirits, but more than any other, I wish more people would buy Paula’s Texas Orange and Paula’s Texas Lemon. There may be no other more tediously crafted spirit made in Texas; they actually hand zest every single orange and lemon used in the production of this spirit. Recently, I had the opportunity to try the new and improved Paula’s which is charcoal filtered, and it is incredible. If you are making your margaritas or any other cocktail without Paula’s, you’re missing out on what is clearly the freshest and most vibrant orange liqueur on the market.

The Margarita
1.5 oz Tequila
.75 oz Lime Juice
.5 oz Paula’s Texas Orange Liqueur

That’s it; don’t add anything else. No margarita mixes, no simple syrup, just booze and lime juice (which comes from limes, not bottles with the brand Rose’s on it). Shake them all with ice and strain into a cocktail glass or on rocks if you prefer. Salt the rim if you feel the need. And for the love of God, please don’t put it into a machine or blend it.

Tito’s Vodka
Established: 1997
Founder: Tito Beveridge
Location: Austin, TX
Profile: Tito’s is the most well-known Texas spirit. Tito’s helped to launch the national micro-distillery movement, and it has since become a nationally recognized brand.

Savvy Vodka
Established: 2007
Founder: Chad Auler
Location: Austin, TX
Profile: Chad Auler, who may also be known to some through Fall Creek Vineyards, started this Texas vodka.

Dripping Springs Vodka
Established: 2007
Founder: Kevin Kelleher
Location: Dripping Springs, TX
Profile: Dripping Springs just refuses to quit fighting after two fires and flood. Dripping Springs is located just outside of Austin – there must be some sort of vodka-making disease going through that area.

Railean Rum
Established: 2007
Founder: Kelly Railean
Location: San Leon, TX
Profile: Instead of buying a one time distilled spirit, like most micro-distillers, these folks actually ferment their molasses on site just outside of Galveston. Additionally, they were the first to release an aged spirit with their Railean XO Rum in addition to their white rum. Here is my winning recipe from the Tipsy Texan Drink Local Cocktail Contest which features Railean XO Rum and Paula’s Texas Orange:

False Dichotomy
2 oz Railean XO Rum

1 oz Lemon Juice

.75 oz Honey-Lavender Syrup
1 Egg White
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

Shake all ingredients except the bitters with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Mist the angostura bitters on top and garnish with a lemon twist.

Treaty Oak Rum
Established: 2007
Founders: Bruce Graham & Daniel Barnes
Location: Austin, TX
Profile: Treaty Oak is named after a 500 years old Live Oak that is at the center of countless stories and legends in Austin. Treaty Oak is also house-fermented and is made from Texas molasses. Currently, Treaty Oak is only available as a white rum, but I hope to see an aged version in the future. Treaty Oak, with Railean, has definitely raised the standard for spirit production in Texas.

Texas Gin
Established: Under Construction
Founders: John Manicom
Location: Austin, TX
Profile: I talked to John recently by phone, and he told me he was getting closer to launching Texas Gin everyday. He mentioned using Texas juniper and other herbs in the process – sounds very Texan.

Temptryst Rum
Established: Under Construction
Founders: John Manicom
Location: Austin, TX
Profile: Temptryst Rum was all the rage at Tales last year when a few samples were made available during rum competitions and gained widespread notoriety. The rum is pressure aged with various woods, which creates a unique spirit. I’ve yet to try any myself, but those I trust love the stuff. The mesquite aged rum sounds amazing. I sent Temptryst an e-mail recently; they are still trying to get started and hope to release the rum soon.

Garrison Brothers Distillery
Established: 2008
Founders: Dan Garrison
Location: Hye, TX
Profile: Garrison Brothers has barreled over 100 barrels of bourbon, and they plan to let each age the necessary amount of time until it matures. The wheated bourbon is mashed on site and uses Texas Panhandle corn. I spoke with Dan Garrison at the Edible Austin Drink Contest, and he said that he hopes the bourbon will be available in 2011 but is willing to wait until it is ready. He also mentioned that he would like to launch a Texas Rye in the future too called Hye Rye.

Balcones Distillery
Established: Under Construction
Founders: Chip Tate
Location: Waco, TX
Profile: I haven’t talked to Chip and can’t find a website, but I have heard that he plans to use peated malt to create a distinct Texas whiskey. They also plan to make Rumble, which is a rum-based liqueur flavored with mission figs, Texas wildflower honey, and turbinado sugar. Sounds awesome!

Well, there you have it – the booming Texas micro-distillery industry. I really enjoy these spirits, and I hope that you will give them all a try and support our local producers. I am excited about the growth of this market, but more than anything, I am thrilled to have met most of the folks behind these brands. I must say they are some of the most genuine people I know making spirits. But, I guess you already knew that – they are from Texas after all.

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RATTLESNAKE INFUSED VODKA…SERIOUSLY http://drinkdogma.com/rattlesnake-infused-vodkaseriously/ http://drinkdogma.com/rattlesnake-infused-vodkaseriously/#comments Tue, 18 Mar 2008 22:26:19 +0000 http://drinkdogma.com/?p=119 rattlesnake-vodka.jpgWell, it’s official; the flavored vodka plague has gone as far as it can. Last Thursday, the Texas Alcholic Beverage Commission seized over 400 bottles of rattlesnake-infused vodka. Don’t believe me? Just check out the story on Fox News. There are all kinds of crazy things at work here.

First of all, what is this supposed to freaking taste like? Seriously, I’ve heard of rattlesnake roundups (another confusing phenomenon altogether) resulting in rattlesnake steaks and other culinary delights, but what do you do with this? Are we to assume that, if popular, the rattlesnake vodka trend would inspire “rattlesnake tinis”? Man, I’d hate to see the garnish on one of the things. Then again, I know given a bottle that I’d put it to use and have to experiment with a few classic recipes. Rattlesnake negronis anyone?

Rattlesnake Negroni

1 oz Rattlesnake Infused Vodka
1 oz Campari
1 oz Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth

Stir and thoroughly and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a severed rattle from snake.

I wonder who wins this battle – the rattlesnake or the cochineal beetles present in older bottles of Campari? Actually, I don’t think the negroni twist would work as the snake infusion is actually supposed to act as an aphrodisiac. That’s right, nothing like downing shots of decaying snake vodka to put that girl on the stool next to you in the mood. If this is the type of mate you’re trying to attract, best of luck to you, but I might start at an underground exotic pet store, not a bar.

Infusing snake and other exotic critters, like scorpions, for romantic purposes is actually a common practice in some Asian cultures. Now, I don’t want to be culturally insensitive here. I am a vigilant supporter of respecting cultures worldwide and reducing ethnocentrism, but this was South Texas. There aren’t any Asians there, and if I’ve missed in my visits to this area of the country, they certainly aren’t going to consume the 411 bottles that were seized last week by themselves.

Instead, this is just another example of that weird portion of Texas that continues to dominate the world’s view of our state. For the record, we aren’t all cowboys. I’ve never rode a horse, and I don’t own a cowboy hat, boots, or an obscenely large belt buckle. The only thing that me and these rattlesnake vodka producers might have in common is our lack of understanding for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. I get the snake vodka seizure thing, but when are we going to be able to get a decent selection of liquor in this state? Surely if this is even an underground possibility, we can finally get some creme de violette down here right? I’m not holding my breath, but you can be sure I’m checking every bottle on my local liquor shelves a little more carefully nowadays.

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