In Far West Texas, wild Dasylirion texanum (Texas sotol) plants grow wild and weed-like by the millions. When they reach maturity around 10-15 years, our team selectively wild-harvests this plant. Taking only a small number of plants from each acre and leaving root systems intact allows this precious resource to remain wild and plentiful forever. The leaves are trimmed, and the heart of the plant is secured for transport to Desert Door Distillery in Driftwood. To similarly prepare sotols for eating or fermenting, “native Americans dug up the shrubs and removed the slender leaves, using the heart and meat at the base.”
The sotol hearts are loaded one by one into our cookers. They are cooked in steam, which converts the stored energy into sugar. Steaming maximizes the precious juice obtained from the sotol plants and keeps the flavor light rather than smoky. “Inedible raw, after prolonged cooking they turn to a sugary carbohydrate.” After roasting, Native Americans “scooped out and chewed the soft, fibrous pulp in the center to extract the sweet nutritious juice, spitting out the fiber.”
The cooked sotol hearts are individually pressed for their juice. Full of plant sugars, once the dark, molasses-like juice is extracted it’s fermented in tanks for five to six thoughtful days with our organic, proprietary yeast. Depending on environmental factors like climate, we are left with a 10-12% ABV sotol beer at the end of this process.
The resulting mash is distilled in our custom-built, hybrid still. When it’s through, the Texas sotol averages 155 proof.
Our beautiful spirit is reconciled with water to get to its correct proof. Some at 80 proof goes straight into our bottles, while even less at 120 proof is set aside for barrel aging to satisfy those with a taste for aged spirits. Our rack house in Driftwood is home to many new American oak barrels with a medium char.