could regenerate. Because it is a lowyielding fruit, we use steam pressure in our cooking process, so that way it maximizes not just sugar conversion but retention.” Looby compares the flavor of his product to many favorite spirits around the world. “We have a similar profile [to Mexican sotol]. It’s a little more delicate because I use steam pressure and there’s no smoke in it. But it does have a depth of character much like a mezcal, much like a gin, much like a Scotch — it’s just softer. It’s very grassy and herbaceous on the front end, but the way it finishes, it’s very earthy. If you were a wine person you would say terroir. It really drinks like a very delicate desert gin. We like to think of it as a transportive experience. It tells you what it is, and then it finishes by telling you where it’s from.” While the distillery is experiencing a lot of positive feedback here in the US, there are questions about the validity of calling something made in America
“sotol.” As of 2004, the term does possess a legal designation of origin (DO), though it’s only recognized in Mexico and does not carry the same weight as the international naming rights of things like mezcal and tequila. Whatever the future holds for sotol, I encourage you to go out and sample it for yourself. A wilder, more diverse spirit seems hard to find. If you’re fortunate enough to live in larger metropolitan areas, you can find sotol at a handful of bars. (Bar Amá in Los Angeles features a couple of sotols to sip on, as does Leyenda in Brooklyn.) Or secure a bottle for your home bar and enjoy it as the spirit of the season. Brent Looby puts it best: “I think the sky’s kind of the limit right now.”
Devon Trevathan is a writer based out of Nashville, TN. She loves spirits that are older than she is, grower-producer style, and dogs.
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