Relationship-Building at Clementine

Courtesy of Clementine.

Courtesy of Clementine.

After making a splash in the San Antonio dining scene this past year, the staff at Clementine isn’t going to start resting on their laurels now.

That would be too easy.

Instead, owners John and Elise Russ leaned into the hustle of it all, adding a second baby girl to the mix, while still maintaining their place as one of San Antonio’s premier eateries.

For John, that includes making sure the guest experience is exactly what they wanted it to be since day one. That includes catering to a different audience than they might have initially expected, especially after John and Elise’s days on the San Antonio Riverwalk in dining rooms such as Lüke and Biga on the Banks.

Courtesy of Clementine.

Courtesy of Clementine.

Instead, the Castle Hills audience is a discerning one that wants to pair incredible wines with equally jaw-dropping dishes.

“My struggle as a chef has been not playing to that card, and remembering they came in here in the beginning for a reason,” John said.

It’s easy enough to build those connections. John and Elise are both stationed at the entrance of their open kitchen, which serves as both stage and prep area.

“A lot of it is listening to our guests, watching what they order, and seeing how much — if any — comes back to get thrown out or boxed up,” John said.

Listening to their audience also means knowing when to pull back. Initially, the couple and general manager Patrick Frasier carried bottled and canned beers from across the state, along with a few HighWheel brews. But when sales pointed to a wine-drinking audience, Betty stayed where others did not.

“I traveled to Germany in 2006 for a few months and gained a solid 30 pounds because I was drinking kölsch and eating donner kebab,” John said. “When kölsch beers started coming out in America, I never found one that tasted like what I had in Köln, where kölsch beers are from until I had the Betty.”

He credits Dorćol Distilling + Brewing’s commitment to “making something right” for why he stuck with Dorćol’s Betty, and some of her rotating beer cousins.

“It’s not an interpretation, you’re not trying to recreate the wheel. You’re trying to get something perfect.”

John also knows he can rely on Dorćol’s staff.

“I can call them and ask for a keg, and it doesn’t mean I’ll definitely get it that night, but I know they’ll do whatever they can to get it done,” John said. “It’s not about getting paid, but about the relationship you create where there is integrity, respect and loyalty.”

Those tenets are extended to the Castle Hills neighborhood where Clementine opened its doors that’s home to several faiths. This April, Clementine offered a unique Passover menu with gluten-free options, and included kosher wines to their varied wine list.

Courtesy of Clementine.

Courtesy of Clementine.

Respect, integrity and loyalty also play a part in both front and back-of-the-house staffs, which have seen little change in the past year — even with John and Elise’s kitchen rules.

“We demand a lot. We do all of our prep and that kitchen is not big,” John said. “With our servers and food runners, we try to remind them the difference between being hospitable and being gracious, and we always want to be both.”


2195 NW Military Hwy., (210) 503-5121.



HighWheel Coq Hardi Wins Bronze at L.A. Beer Competition


The name is tongue in cheek, but this win certainly is not.

HighWheel Coq Hardi earned a bronze at this year’s Los Angeles International Commercial Beer Competition this April.

Of the 1,520 entries from 244 breweries hailing from across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, HighWheel Coq Hardi was only bested by the Beachwood BBQ-Long Beach’, Un Atout and the 2kids Brewing Company’s Rocket Powered Geese, which won gold and silver, respectively.

HighWheel Coq Hardi is one of Dorcol Distilling + Brewing’s year-round offerings, and was one of the original four beers made by head brewer and co-owner Randy Ward. Coq Hardi, named after the Walloon flag, is a traditional saison.  This food friendly beer is made with a strain of yeast from a well respected saison brewery in the Walloon region of Belgium.  

“The yeast strain, coupled with the simple malt bill and combination of two different hops, gives this beer a crisp flavor with notes of clove, pepper, and bubblegum,” said Ward.

Get a taste for this distinctive brew in our taproom at 1902 S. Flores St., Bar 1919 and SoHill Cafe.



Meet Supper's Violeta


Spring is here and so are the spring menus that come along with it. Supper, the American Eatery tucked away inside Hotel Emma at the Historic Pearl, created a new cocktail we can’t get enough of.

Created by the Supper staff, the Violeta combines Kinsman Rakia with Botanist gin, Creme de Violette, apricot and lemon for a refreshing patio cocktail that’s as awe-inspiring as it is delicious.

The cocktail also has a sweet connection to one of Supper’s bar members. Isaiah Lopez built the cocktail to honor his grandmother Violeta, who he says “always wore Violet perfume behind her ear lobes and loved gin cocktails late in the evenings while watching her soap-operas.”

“I wanted to include a nice, soft brandy (another of grandma's favorites) in my cocktail to cut the citric acid of the lemon, but yet bring out the floral notes of the Botanist gin. I chose Kinsman because I'm a huge fan of apricots and it really complimented the herbacious-ness of the cocktail, while adding a nice touch of sweet fruitiness,” Lopez said.

Enjoy a Violeta this spring.

Hotel Emma


136 E. Grayson St., (877) 524-0031

Breakfast: 7AM – 11AM

Lunch: 11AM – 3PM

Dinner: SUN-THURS 5PM – 10PM; FRI-SAT 5PM – 11PM



Dorćol Distilling + Brewing Co. & Nina Hassele present Abstractions to Conclusions by Avi Avalos

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Opening Reception: Dorćol Distilling + Brewing Co.

Second Saturday, May 11, 2019 1902 South Flores St

7:00 pm – 10:00 pm San Antonio, TX 78204

Abstractions to Conclusions:

This work is a visual display of emotions and exploration expressed through colors line and form. The abstract with hints of impressions gradually evolve to a clear visual and literal conclusions. The work stands alone but gradually evolves into the literal and visual understanding of making art and making money.

Artist statement:

Avi Avalos is a multi disciplinary artist artist, From performance and creation of the beloved Mr Piñata San Antonio character, to pop art paintings sculptures and printmaking. He uses which ever media is most suitable to express his convictions and views. Consistently striving to answer the question of “what is the purpose of art in society” he purposefully makes his work to communicate and strives to have a positive impact on the viewer. Avi lives and works in San Antonio Texas and his work has been admired from the streets of NYC to Art Basel Miami and Mexico

Show Run:

May 11, 2019 - July 6, 2019

Dorćol Distilling + Brewing Co. hours:  

Thursday 5pm – 10pm

Friday 5pm – Midnight

Saturday 5pm  – 1am

For more information and private viewings contact Nina Hassele at (210) 630-0235



Stop, Collaborate + Listen: Our Ranger Creek Collab!


Brewers have to stick together. That’s why we invited our friends at Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling to join us for a collaboration brew this spring.

After a San Antonio Beer Week meeting at Ranger Creek, Randy and Ranger Creek brewer Holland Lawrence chatted about brews they wanted to try their hands on. Conversations on sours…well, soured, but they turned their attention to Belgium.

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Randy and Daniel teamed up with Holland and brewer’s assistant Zach Wolfe this past April to create the latest HighWheel Small Batch release, a Belgian Dubbel using a traditional Trappist strain of yeast and Belgian candy sugar. To put a twist on the classic abbey brew, Randy and Holland infused the beer with a mix of sweet and tart cherries.

Brew day involved an early morning start, breakfast tacos, lots of coffee, pizza, and “studiously watching the brew,” per Randy.

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The result is a rose-hued beer with notes of fig and cherry with a nice Belgian funk on the back end.

Find it at Dorćol Distilling + Brewing Co. and select tap rooms across San Antonio.

18 IBU, 7.9% ABV, 22 SRM

Make sure to check in on Untappd and give us a 5-star review!



It Started with a Still


When Boyan and Chris set out to open Dorćol Distilling Company (we weren’t brewing just yet), the first step was easy. The guys needed a still, and a coppersmith was practically extended family.

They connected with Nenad Poparić, a family friend and still maker based out of Novi Sad, Serbia, a city just an hour north of Boyan’s boyhood home in Belgrade. 

Nenad, a second generation coppersmith has been making stills all his life. He crafted similar still used by Boyan’s paternal grandfather (known as deka to the boys) and was commissioned the task of creating Dorćol’s hand-crafted, direct-heat copper still. 

Just as Dorćol Distilling was a family endeavor, so was crafting its still. Nenad made the 400-liter traditional European copper still alongside his son Igor, a third generation still maker. Dorćol’s still became the first of its kind to bare both still makers’ seals at its head. 

Tools of the trade found inside Nenad’s Novi Sad shop…

Tools of the trade found inside Nenad’s Novi Sad shop…

The still left Novi Sad in December of 2012 and made it to the port of Houston a month later in January 2013 with short stops along the way in the Croatian port city of Rijeka and Egypt. Since then, the still’s been responsible for distilling 17,000 liters of low-wine of our first product, the award-winning Kinsman rakia, a delicately balanced spirit filled with character and aroma. The small still is responsible for another 40,000-plus liters of grape-brandy and single-malt whiskey that’s yet to be put on the market. 

Given Kinsman’s popularity, and our passion for creating amazing spirits, a second still was commissioned to the Poparićs in April of 2017 and was completed in October of the same year. The 750-liter still No. 2 made it to the States in January of 2018, complete with a few custom design tweaks that accommodate our production process. 

Boyan, Nenad, Chris, Nick Kenna and Igor in Serbia, September 2017.

Boyan, Nenad, Chris, Nick Kenna and Igor in Serbia, September 2017.

This 2019, we’re banking on two stills being better than one!



Sooner or Lager: We're making a Pils!

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Spring has sprung at the warehouse, but while we’re enjoying the mild temperatures, Randy’s thinking ahead to those sweltering South Texas days. As such, he created our first HighWheel lager, a golden yellow Czech-style number that’ll keep you cool as the temperatures keep climbing.

This time, Randy leaned into the pils, named after the Czech city of Plzen and known for its crisp, clean finish. Using traditional Czech hops, he delivered a 5.9 percent ABV pale lager with mild bitterness, that’ll rival Betty with its refreshing and easy-drinking quality. Come try one in the tasting room starting April 26!

IBU:  30, ABV: 5.9%, color: 3.8 SRM



The Return of the Cucumber Collins

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Spring is ALMOST here, and we can already taste it. As such, the Cucumber Collins is making a menu comeback!

Crafted by Dorćol Distilling + Brewing Co.’s former bar creative Nick Kenna, the Cucumber Collins takes a spicy turn with the addition of a habanero simple syrup, while staying refreshing as ever with Kinsman Rakia, fresh cucumber juice and a splash of Topo Chico. It’s finished off with a light dusting of Trechas chile-sugar mix.

Come try one of these classics for yourself and stay tuned for more springtime cocktails in the coming weeks!



On Transforming the Broadway Corridor: Jeret Pena, The Brooklynite's Future + More

Stephan Mendez, Jeret Pena and Rob Gourlay of The Boulevardier Group

Stephan Mendez, Jeret Pena and Rob Gourlay of The Boulevardier Group

One of the first barmen ever to test out Kinsman Rakia in cocktails in our very own taproom will open what is undoubtedly the city’s most anticipated new bar later this summer.

But this isn’t Jeret Pena’s first rodeo. After he helped open The Esquire Tavern in 2011, before moving on to open The Brooklynite in 2012, Pena has kept plenty busy and he’s learned a lot along the way. When the chance to lease a new space for the award-winning Brooklynite came up, he couldn’t pass it up. Not this time.

“Where The Brooklynite will be is where we wanted it to be from the beginning,” Pena said.

The appeal of opening his own craft cocktail bar superseded wanting to take on the higher rent of the Broadway corridor, which has seen enormous growth in the last five years. Pena and The Boulevardier Group leased the Brooklynite’s original location off Brooklyn Ave. and quickly turned it into a must-visit bar for the area, drawing plenty of national attention for their inventive cocktails, raucous Tiki Tuesdays and attention to detail.

Other bars would follow: Stay Golden Social House, The Last Word, The Old Main Assoc. (the latter would eventually close). Stay Golden, the casual patio bar with accessible porch-sippers, closed in 2017, only to open as Still Golden Social House, which Pena likens to an anarchist punk who grew up and went to college.

“It went off and got a degree, but it’s still kind of that punk kid. It’s a teenager that grew up,” Pena said.

Still Golden’s success, which he credits to its affordability and comfort level, have paid off enough to mean the barman can get back into cocktails.

“I didn’t want to let go of The Brooklynite. It (and Chris Hill at the Esquire) are what brought us here and put us on the map. We got tattoos of the damn thing!” Pena said.

After closing this past February, The Brooklynite will reopen behind Still Golden Social House at the intersection of Broadway and Grayson with a new look, and a re-imagined love of cocktails.

“It’s going to look timeless. The old Brooklynite looked like a period piece, a little doll house from the early 20th century,” Pena said. “We’re going with something more timeless you won’t be able to pin-point with Mid-century and splashes of art deco, Herringbone flooring, demascus wallpaper.”

Pena will lean on eau de vie, or unaged fruit brandies, for some of his creations.

“It’s a lot like math for me. If you can consolidate the strength of the spirit with its main flavor profile, like in Kinsman, you’re able to add modifiers and develop the complexity of the drink,” Pena said.

“That’s what I like about Kinsman — it’s a strong spirit and it puts that apricot flavor on center stage.”

Look for The Brooklynite to open with cocktails prices between $12-$18, for all to enjoy.


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FeBREWary Updates


This January, we released our heftiest ale yet — our HighWheel Russian Imperial Stout.

For February, Randy took it down a notch with an American Brown Ale, released during our GroundDog Day celebration on February 2 (Groundhog Day, get it?). This was only the third-ever HighWheel American Brown Ale.

This malty beer with an American hop presence clocked in at 30 IBUs, 6.1 percent ABV , and 19 SRM. Ask for it at Piatti Eilan, all Big Hops locations, Stout House, Dignowity Meats, St. Joseph’s Hall, The Point Park & Eats and 502 Bar.

Or stop by Dorćol for a taste, and while you’re here, sample our core lineup (Betty Kölsch, Coq Hardi Saison, 56 IPA, Porter, Hefeweizen, Irish Red Ale and Extra Pale Ale), as well as our HighWheel Small Batch series (Russian Imperial Stout, and Black Kölsch).

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Mardi Paws Takes Over Dorćol Distilling + Brewing on February 23

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This February 23, we’re celebrating all things pets with our friends at 4 Paws Animal Hospital.

From noon to 4 p.m., we’re hosting a Mardi Paws Block Party and closing a portion of LaChapelle Street to welcome pet-supply vendors with treats, the latest in pooch and kitty fashions and pet-friendly services. Ten percent of the bar’s proceeds will benefit the Animal Defense League of Texas.

There will be treats aplenty for all the humans as well, as we welcome Third Coast Kitchens (the restaurant group behind The Cookhouse, NOLA Brunch, and Bud’s Rotisserie) for an authentic crawfish boil; fresh-fried beignets from market-favorite The Beignet Stand; and whimsical milkshakes from Honeysuckle.

Leashed and well-behaved pets are invited to don their best Nawlins-inspired ensembles for our pet parade, emceed by local fashion guru and former Express-News staff writer Michael Quintanilla.

Join us for Heritage Ranch pet food samples from our friends at H-E-B; giveaways from Rudy’s Feed Store; training demos by Stephanie Garza of Pup, Pup and Away; fun games from See Spot Run Pet Sitting, pet ambassadors from the Animal Defense League of Texas, Kinsman-filled FURRICANES, and more!

Noon-4pm, Saturday, February 23, Dorćol Distilling + Brewing Co., 1902 S. Flores St.

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We're Celebrating Valentine's Day at Dorćol by Eating Dessert First


This Valentine’s Day, Dorćol is dimming the lights…

…and getting ready to celebrate the sweeter side of things.

On February 14, we’re teaming up with The Sinister Sisters, Stephanie and Stacy, to showcase the versatility of our warehouse. By day, we produce and brew some of the finest spirits and beers in Texas. By night, we’ll transition our space to a candlelit respite from the urban madness. The evening will be perfect for cocktails and a lil somethin’ sweet.


Join us for a trio of desserts, a warm apricot bread pudding with Kinsman-soaked apricots, salted caramel drizzle topped with toasted almonds, and a Brandy Alexander cheesecake with chocolate cracker crust paired with a raspberry coulis. There’s also a sweet and fluffy surprise in store.

Desserts (meant for sharing) will be paired with Kinsman cocktails created by two of our favorite barkeeps, “Doc” Elliott and Ron Bechtol. Enjoy the Sherry Baby with Kinsman Rakia, Pedro Ximenez Sherry and Frangelico, and the coffee-based KinKafa with Aztec chocolate bitters, cardamom bitters and Kinsman Rakia.

Seatings are available for 7 to 8:30 p.m. and 9 to 10:30 p.m.

Tickets, available through, includes one portion of each dessert for the table, as well as two cocktail pairings, two HighWheel Beer pours (Russian Imperial Stout & Betty) and complimentary bubbles per person.



New Works by Michael Stoltz


Second Saturday is here and we’re celebrating the opening of a new exhibit.
New Works by Michael Stoltz will open Saturday, January 12 at 7 p.m. with the artist on-hand. Stoltz, an alumnus of the University of Texas at San Antonio, has been creating art in the city for the past 15 years.

His latest focuses on minimalist compositions drawn or painted with intentional repetitious mark making as a form of meditation.



Our Cocktails of the Week Take on a Caffeinated Twist

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We’re big coffee drinkers around here. It doesn’t hurt that the sweetness of Kinsman Rakia lends itself as the perfect partner for coffee. This week, we toast San Antonio’s coffee scene, from established outposts such as White Elephant to micro-roaster 1885 Coffee Co., with two tasty cocktails anyone can make at home.

Rakia Shakerato

1 1/2 oz. Cold Brew Coffee (We used White Elephant)

1 oz. Kinsman Rakia

1/2 oz. Simple Syrup

Pour ingredients in a shaking tin. Add ice. Shake vigorously. Double strain into Nick & Nora glass and enjoy!

Coffee Old Fashioned

1 oz. Kinsman Rakia

1 oz. Cold Brew Coffee (We used 1885’s available here)

1/2 oz. Brown Sugar Simple

3 Dashes Angostura Bitters

Pour ingredients into a mixing glass. Add ice. Stir to combine. Strain and pour into glass over ice. Garnish with orange rind.




Sparkling Rakia Cocktails for NYE


Reaching for sparkling cocktails to ring in the New Year? We’ve got you covered.

Whether you’re reaching for a classic with a twist or a next-level cooler, here are a few recipes to try out this New Year’s Eve.

Henrietta’s Pick-Me-Up

1/2 oz. Grenadine

1/2 oz. Lemon Juice

1 oz. Kinsman Rakia

Bubbles of choice

Combine grenadine, lemon juice, Kinsman Rakia in a shaking tin. Add ice. Shake and strain into coupe. Top with bubbles and garnish with lemon twist.

Serbian Guayabera

1/2 oz. Brown sugar simple with star anise

1/2 oz. Lime Juice

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

1 1/2 oz. Kinsman Rakia

Small bundle mint

Combine brown sugar simple, lime juice, Angostura, Kinsman Rakia and a handful of mint leaves in a shaking tin. Add ice. Shake and strain into Collins glass and top with bubbles. Garnish with mint sprig. 

French 75

1/2 oz. Simple Syrup

1/2 oz. Lemon Juice

1 oz. Kinsman Rakia

Bubbles of choice

Combine simple, lemon juice, Kinsman Rakia in a shaking tin. Add ice. Shake and strain into coupe. Top with bubbles and garnish with lemon twist.



Signature's The Downtowner

Photo by Kalyn Davidson

Photo by Kalyn Davidson

Signature rolled out a new cocktail menu this Autumn, we stopped by to speak with the bar creative, Isabella Morlet, about her newest Kinsman cocktail. Isabella is always creative when it comes to her cocktails and this time was no different. The Downtowner is a exceptionally delicious sherry and Kinsman cocktail that can be enjoyed by cocktail novices and master mixologists alike.

“Kinsman is one of my favorite spirits,” she says. “It has a bright approachable elegance that is prominent without over powering anything else. It goes with anything.”

She is no stranger to to the Serbian inspired apricot brandy as she featured it in three of her cocktails from the previous menu: Earnest Goes to the Southside, a local take on a classic Hemingway Daiquiri, and the Daydreamer, an apricot egg white sour, and a Brandy Alexander for dessert made with handmade cream that tops the cocktail nicely. 

Signature // The Downtowner

1 1/2 oz. Lustau Oloroso Sherry

3/4 oz. Kinsman Rakia

1/2 oz. Giffard Apricot Liqueur

1/4 oz. Demerara Cardamom Syrup 

2 Dashes of Bitterman’s Burlesque Bitters

1 Dash Orange Bitters

Combine all ingredients in mixing glass with ice, stir and strain into chilled coupe. 



Kinsman Rakia 2018 Brandy Alexander Tour: Hoppy Monk

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Hoppy Monk has always been skillful at weaving in beloved Mexican flavors into their food and drinks. Their Brandy Alexander for iteration, the Mazapan Alexander, is the collaborative brainchild of bartender Brittany Dinhobl and bar manager Ricardo Ruiz.

When developing the drink, Dinhobl wanted to bring the flavors of San Antonio to the mix. Together with Ruiz, they developed a liqueur using HighWheel’s Black Kölsch (we call her Veronica), vodka, guajillo peppers and Mazapan de la Rosa, a Mexican candy made with various peanuts, almonds and pistachios.

Though the cocktail uses half-and-half instead of heavy cream, the viscosity remains, and the result is a blend of flavors both salty, sweet and subtle. A dash of powdered peppers and toasted nuts finishes this unique cocktail offering.

Mazapan Alexander

1 oz. Kinsman Rakia

1 oz. Half-and-Half

1 1/2 oz. Mazapan Liqueur

Combine ingredients in a shaking tin. Add ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into coupe. Garnish with powdered toasted nuts.



Kinsman Rakia 2018 Brandy Alexander Tour: Tribeca 212

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Rudy Souberbielle took over the reigns at Tribeca 212 earlier this year, adding more than 30 years of design and hospitality experience to the Olmos Park favorite.

For Tribeca 212’s Brandy Alexander variation, Rudy tapped former co-worker and kombucha maker Bret Roberts to help highlight the apricot flavors in Kinsman Rakia. Roberts’ creation adds a new twist to the much maligned fruitcake by infusing vanilla ice cream with various fruits, and garnishing with dried apricots rehydrated using Kinsman Rakia.

Tribeca 212 // Fruitcake Alexander

2 1/2 oz. Vanilla Ice Cream with select chopped fruit

1/2 oz. Kinsman Rakia

1/2 oz. Chambord

1/2 oz. Disaronno

Combine ingredients in a shaking tin. Dry shake. Strain into martini glass. Garnish with dried cranberries, pineapple, rehydrated apricots using Kinsman Rakia and a mint leaf.



The General Public's Merry Kinsman


The holidays are stressful, but cocktails don’t have to be.

Enter The General Public’s Merry Kinsman created by Kara Trissel, Director of Beverage for FreeRange Concepts (behind The Rustic, Bowl & Barrel, and General Public) in 2017. Perfect for Friendsmas or your family holiday party, the Merry Kinsman is fun, easy to drink and crowd-pleasing. So much so, this little holiday number was put on the regular cocktail menu.

Visit The General Public for a taste or create it at home with your bottle of Kinsman Rakia.

The General Public // The Merry Kinsman

1 oz. Kinsman Rakia

1/2 oz. St-Germain elderflower liqueur

1/2 oz. lemon juice

Sparkling wine of choice

Combine Kinsman, St-Germain and lemon in a shaking tin. Add ice. Shake, strain into coupe and top with sparkling of choice. General Public garnishes the Merry Kinsman with a lemon wheel and a dried apricot.