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Desert Door Original Texas Sotol
About Desert Door Original Texas Sotol
Desert Door Texas Sotol is produced at Desert Door Distillery in Driftwood, Texas. Desert Door aims to celebrate the history and legacy of Sotol – a unique spirit made by the natives of what is now west Texas. As a brand, they also engage in conservation efforts through their nonprofit, Wild Spirit Wild Places – including projects such as pollinator conservation, controlled burns, and more.
Similar to agave, the sotol plant is a grass-like shrub native to the Chihuahua Desert. Desert Door harvests their sotol wild, selecting plants that are between 10-15 years old. The heart is then cooked in steam, pressed individually, and fermented for 5-6 days before distillation. It is then distilled to a very high proof in a hybrid still, and then corrected with water.
This particular bottle of Original Sotol is bottled immediately at 80 proof, while other batches continue onto the next step for further aging.
❖ ABV: 40%
❖ Distillery: Desert Door Distillery
❖ Aging: none
❖ Price Point: low price
My Tasting notes
My first whiff of this sotol was bright and strong. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the aroma, but it began a bit fresh, and slowly turned more and more earthy with each sniff. Overall, the strong waves of alcohol wafting up my nose made it difficult to really pinpoint all the nose notes.
I took a sip, and it was very strong with a plant-like bitterness. My mouth was immediately very affected by the alcohol, which felt a bit distracting from the flavor. Still, I could sense that there were interesting flavors underneath. After a few sips, strong earthy notes came out, followed by grassy plant notes. On it’s own, the sotol flavor is a bit bitter – but I got the feeling that mixers would even it out nicely, and I was excited to try my cocktail.
When I saw that Desert Door has a Ranch Water recipe on their website, I knew immediately this would be the best way to put this sotol to the test in a cocktail. After all, this drink is quintessentially Texan – although it is usually made with tequila. Apparently, it is blasphemy to substitute Topo Chico with any other brand of mineral water in this cocktail, so don’t even try!
❖ 1.5oz sotol
❖ Topo Chico (to top)
❖ 1 lime wedge
- pour the sotol into a tall cocktail glass with ice.
- Top with Topo Chico mineral water.
- Squeeze the lime wedge into your drink.
I found this version of a ranch water to be very nice. The flavor of the sotol is subtle, but it brings a nice earthiness to the mineral water. After a few sips, I began to taste what must be the sotol plant flavor.
At first, my opinion on the flavor was neutral, but as I continued to sip, I began to feel very connected. This drink succeeded in transporting me to a desert landscape. I could really picture the wild sotol plant in my head, peacefully sitting there under the hot sun. I enjoyed the meditative experience of sinking into the landscape as the mellow alcohol buzz reached my head.
Overall, I really enjoyed trying out this bottle of Desert Door Original Texas Sotol, though I can’t say that I’m completely a sotol convert at this point. Though I’m intrigued enough to try more, I found the sotol plant flavor a little too grassy and bitter for my taste compared to similar plants like agave. However, I do get the sense that this is a matter of personal taste. The quality of the spirit is apparent.
As mentioned above, the alcohol heat was quite strong when I sipped the sotol straight. That said, this particular bottle is un-aged, so one would expect to treat it similarly to an inexpensive tequila blanco. Inside of a cocktail, this sotol was pretty smooth for the price.
At the end of the day, I would recommend this bottle of Desert Door to any spirit enthusiasts, because I think it’s a nice, affordable entry point into the world of sotol. Plus, the company’s commitment to conservation is another reason to feel good about purchasing a bottle.
As always, drink responsibly.