Texas has a reputation for bringing the heat during these summer months.
Some days you get a chance to venture out for an afternoon, hopefully in the comfort of some shade, but there’s just no getting around it. Some days are just hotter.
A Little Village Near Tequila
Founder and CEO of Dulce Vida Spirits, Richard Sorenson, knows the heat well. On his many trips down to San Ignacio to visit the organic tequila farms and distillery down in Jalisco, Mexico, he is reminded of this.
But there’s one positive side to all of the blazing Mexican sun and sweat that becomes synonymous with the desert. This climate makes for bountiful blue agave plants, which is the main component of Mexico’s national drink.
You wouldn’t be able to tell without an experienced Jimador at your side, but these spiky blue agave variations are fibrous at their heart, perfect for fermenting and turning into the “honey water” that eventually gets distilled and barreled down to its final drinking stage — one tasty tequila.
It’s a centuries-old tradition that gets reinterpreted slightly with each distiller around Mexico. However, few tequilas bear their dual organic and kosher certified label, not to mention their dozens of awards, leading them to be known formally as The Most Awarded Tequila.™
“We believe we are purists in what we do,” Richard states as he welcomes me to their main location in the United States, their warehouse off Highway 290 in Southwest Austin.
When he’s not touring the fields and inspecting his fermenting and distilled products, he’s back in Texas completing the other half of the business from this large space, which doubles as a concert venue for events such as Barreled during SXSW.
Each year the events held here become more popular, leading to a few celebrity appearances (think Texas country legend Michael Martin Murphy) and over hundreds of eager Texans looking to unwind in the Texas Hill Country with a bit of tequila and a whole lot of music.
Friends in Spirits
Central Texas and the Hill Country are home to some of the most breweries, distilleries and wineries this side of California. It helps to know your neighbors, as they say, and in some cases, these relationships can even lead to joint collaborations, like that between Dulce Vida Tequila and Garrison Brother’s Distillery.
Aged in straight bourbon whiskey barrels, this Añejo tequila is left to do its magic for 18 months in these American Oak casks, until subtle hints of black cherry, cinnamon and vanilla make appearances. The end result is a very scrumptious tequila that’s good enough to sip on its own, even if you’re usually one to pass on the margaritas.
Another great way to impart original flavors into tequila is to age them in wine barrels, such as the special Extra Añejo Tequila, which is aged within Napa Valley red wine barrels. The inside of these temporary wooden homes has a completely different composition so that wine doesn’t permeate as deeply as it would inside of a charred bourbon cask. And the flavor profile speaks for itself.
For five years, this distilled drink “rests” and soaks up the complex notes of the surrounding wood and last hints of wine, only to emerge at the end of its metamorphosis a completely transformed tequila. And Dulce Vida is looking to change the tequila game, one bottle at a time.
At Home in the Hill Country
After you’ve been here a while, you might notice that the Hill Country seems to attract a certain kind of person. A scenic drive down Fitzhugh Road will show you just how many moonshine distillers, beer brewers and the like have called the area home.
Willie Nelson lives around the way, and you never know when Texas music legends will make an appearance on your doorstep. It’s a way of life and Dulce Vida seems at home here.
Sorenson loved it so much, he made the move to the Hill Country, as well. With the space, peace and quiet it provides, we may just see more unique spirits offered by Dulce Vida, if the new home base inspires him. It will either be new tequila or new friends to come, as Sorenson says,
“The Hill Country becomes more spirited everyday.”
Don’t forget to check your local liquor store for new tequilas or just purchase them online here.