1 Comment

New hire spreading Dorcol gospel

 Jessica Elizarraras, Dorcol Distilling + Brewing Company

Jessica Elizarraras, Dorcol Distilling + Brewing Company

Showing our affinity for journalists, we are announcing our hire of one of the city’s most followed foodies Jessica Elizarraras, the former food and nightlife editor at the San Antonio Current.

For more than 10 years, the Texas native has crafted stories about the food and drink scene for a ream of publications, including the San Antonio Express-News, Bon Appétit, Eater and Texas Monthly. As the newest addition to our small team at Dorćol, Jessica will focus on spreading the news for our award-winning brewery and distillery, as we set to celebrate our fifth year this December 15th.

As the company’s Chief Engagement Officer, the former journalist will be seen around Texas spreading our gospel. A recent member of the Les Dames d’ Escoffier, a group of women leaders in the food and drink industry, Jessica got a taste of being asked questions from a nosey writer, who in his past life used to sling Kinsman cocktails and pour HighWheel brews at Dorćol.

After more than a decade as a journalist, why the change?

I want to explore a more social role in this industry. These days, being in journalism for 10 years is pretty successful. I wanted to go out and see what else I can be successful at.

You’ve spent most of your career documenting San Antonio’s growing food and drink scene, which has come a long way over the last few years. Where do you see it going from here?

When San Antonio finds something it likes, it commits to it. More and more people find they like good food and good drinks and they like supporting local. As long as San Antonio can continue to support its local spots, the scene will continue to grow. We are no longer just a margarita city. I love having been part of the evolution of our food and drink scene and am really excited to continue sharing Dorćol’s story and contribution in shaping it.

Where does Dorćol fit in the city’s continuously developing scene?

Their story is so unique. They have this amazing brandy that you don’t see anywhere else in Texas or the nation. Just like the local scene, they’re creating something special and they continue to grow.

7F7A5440.JPG

Do you remember the first time you visited Dorćol?

It opened around the same time I started at the Current. I had heard about what they were doing but I had to see it for myself. I remember venturing into this random place in an obscure part of downtown along South Flores. It was like a Willy Wonka situation, two dudes making this smooth spirit no one can pronounce but that’s so magically flavorful that it goes with everything. It’s pretty special.

Where does Kinsman fit in the spirits scene?

It’s different and so versatile, lending itself to be used in so many creative ways. It’s playful and adventurous. Knowing that it’s local, it’s so much fun seeing it develop in the hands of some of the state’s top bartenders. Watching them use it to enhance classics or to create something totally new has been a treat.

What’s your favorite Rakia drink?

I loved the Clear Skies Ahead. I love the way it’s used in the Brandy Alexander. If you think Brandy Alexander in San Antonio, you better think Rakia.

When it comes to craft beer, a lot of breweries seem to go over the top with ingredients. What do you think about Dorćol’s HighWheel sticking to classic styles?

When it comes to craft beer, people seem to always look for the extreme. But there’s something to be said about perfectly crafted beer.

How would you describe Dorćol to someone who hasn’t visited?

It’s truly a neighborhood bar. You’re going to get quality every single time, whether it’s a cocktail or beer. What it has going for it, is that it’s so inviting. No matter if you’ve been once or all the time, you can’t help but to feel like a regular. You’re going to have a good time.

Any final thoughts about your new role?

I got into journalism for the storytelling. I wanted to ask the questions and inform people about what was happening in their community. I’m not going to stop doing that. I’ll still be telling stories at Dorćol, telling people that along South Flores there’s this evolving scene anchored by this special place doing amazing things. 

- Valentino Lucio

1 Comment

Comment

Fritts: the new face at Dorćol

 Eric Fritts ( Dorćol Distilling + Brewing Co., Chavis Barron )

Eric Fritts (Dorćol Distilling + Brewing Co., Chavis Barron)

On the cusp of celebrating our fifth anniversary, Dorćol Distilling + Brewing Company has added a new face to the award-winning bar program. Starting today, Eric Fritts (just call him Fritts) is the team’s newest barman. Joining us from Paramour, he will run day-to-day operations at the South Flores tasting room and lead the creative direction for the spot’s robust cocktail menu. The Connecticut native has worked in the San Antonio bar scene for years. He got his start in scrappy dive bars and eventually worked his way into respected craft cocktails joints, learning the ins and outs of the craft. Aside from slinging cocktails and pouring beers, he’ll be helping to grow the Kinsman and HighWheel brands as a Brand Ambassador.

As a previous barkeep familiar with Dorćol from the start, I sat down with Fritts to chat about his new role at Dorćol, thoughts on the craft beer scene, and his take on using our award-winning apricot brandy. Let’s see what's in store:

Barmen usually have several base spirits to work with when slinging cocktails. What are your thoughts now that you only get to use one?

It’s exciting. I like that we feature just one spirit because I know the goal of every drink. Every cocktail that comes from behind this bar will feature Kinsman and feature it well.

How would you describe Kinsman’s versatility?

It’s only going to add to a cocktail and never take away anything from it. You can use it in a variety of cocktails and it’s going to compliment and accentuate the drink. As the main feature of a cocktail, you can’t go wrong. Kinsman is always going to make whatever you're concocting better. I like that it’s apricot based, which is something you don’t see everyday. I like that it’s unique and there’s nothing else out there like it. A spirit can be iconic because of the story it was inspired from. This spirit has a great family history and it’s part of what makes it special.

As the creative force behind the bar, what are your plans for the cocktail program?

I’m excited to come in and work to develop my own drinks and use such a great spirit while doing it. I want to develop different syrups, shrubs, and tinctures to compliment the brandy and not overwhelm it. I’ve worked with so many great mentors. I’m ready to take what I’ve learned and really create something special. But really, I want to help further establish and grow the identity of our brands.

What are your thoughts on HighWheel’s place in the craft beer scene?

There’s so much more to craft beer than hoppy IPAs and artificial flavorings. I think most breweries don’t get that. IPAs are great, I personally love the one we have, but you don’t need nine of them. I love that we take it back to the beginning, embracing the classic styles. It’s handcrafted beer, but it’s not pretentious, it’s not excessive flavors for the sake of excessive flavors. It’s just really good beer.

Aside from the gig behind the bar, what else excites you about this opportunity?

I’m excited to experience the entire process, both spirits and beer, getting out from behind the bar and help grow a brand beyond the tasting room. I’ve been behind the bar for six years and now it’s exciting to have the opportunity to sell beer and spirits in another way. It’s something I’ve always been passionate about, so I’m ready to learn everything from production, to sales, to consumption.

What can people expect with you behind the bar?

I always want to make sure you’re going to have a good time. That’s the whole point. You’re coming here to relax and enjoy yourself. Every time I get back here I’m ready to have fun. This is my passion. I enjoy this. I want to make drinks people will really enjoy and develop a relationship with them over time. I want to be their bartender.

Describe your approach to cocktail making?

It’s versatile and quick. I like to adapt to each guest and make sure I give them what they are looking for.

How would you describe Dorćol to someone who hasn’t visited?

You have to know it to find it. There’s relaxed identity here. The whole place has this cool industrial feel that’s refined, but not pretentious. It exemplifies the spirit it was inspired by. We are makers of the world's highest-rated brandy, that needs to be shared. 

Where does brandy fit into the craft cocktail scene?

Brandy is one of the oldest spirits and it's starting to re-emerge in its own niche. Not many people know brandy was America's original spirit, long before whiskey and vodka, so it’s going to take a little education, but that’s part of the fun. We’re bringing something different to the table and that changes things.

 

by Valentino Lucio

Comment

Comment

Kinsman Rakia 2017 Brandy Alexander Tour: Piatti

 2017 Brandy Alexander Tour:  Piatti

2017 Brandy Alexander Tour:  Piatti

Piatti is well known for serving up Italian-inspired fare at both it's Quarry and Eilan locations.  Lucky for us, they're both also participating in this year's Brandy Alexander Cocktail tour with two unique and imaginative takes on the classic.   

Concocted by Beverage Director Matt Collett, both takes enhance the original with the addition of white chocolate and an espresso liqueur, respectively.  Whether you're a fan of chocolate, coffee, or both, you won't want to miss what Matt put together for a perfect after-meal libation. 

PIATTI AT THE QUARRY // DANDY ALEXANDER

1 oz. Kinsman Rakia

1 1/4 oz. Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur

1 1/4 oz. aromatized heavy cream (pink peppercorn, clove, cinnamon)

1 drop of tiki bitters

Rim coupe with chocolate ganache. Combine all ingredients in a tin over ice.  Shake.  Double strain into coupe and top with freshly-ground pink peppercorn.

 

PIATTI AT THE EILAN // CAFFE ALEXANDER

1 oz. Kinsman Rakia

1 oz. Caffe Broghetti

1 oz. heavy cream

1/2 oz. Lazzaroni Amaretto 

Combine all ingredients in a tin over ice. Shake. Strain into coupe and garnish with ground cinnamon dust

Dorcol Distilling Co.:  Piatti

Comment

Comment

Kinsman Rakia 2017 Brandy Alexander Tour: Bite

 2017 Brandy Alexander Tour:  Bite

2017 Brandy Alexander Tour:  Bite

This eclectic restaurant is well known for pouring creativity into everything that they do.  From the art on the walls to the food on your plate, Chef Lisa Astorga-Watel has created a fun and unique culinary experience in the heart of Southtown. 

Bite's Alexander Frappe is a perfect example of this creativity.  This rich and creamy cocktail features an entire scoop of pistachio gelato to go along with crushed pistachios on the rim.  Whether you eat the gelato or let it melt into the cocktail, there's no wrong way to savor Bite's take on the classic Brandy Alexander.  

 

Bite // Bite's Alexander Frappe

1 oz. Kinsman Rakia

1 oz. crème de cacao

1 pistachio gelato scoop

1 oz. heavy cream

Combine ingredients in a tin over ice. Shake. Double strain into a coup with a finely crushed pistachio rim

Dorcol Distilling Co.:  Bite

Comment

Comment

Kinsman Rakia 2017 Brandy Alexander Tour: The Brooklynite

 2017 Brandy Alexander Tour: The Brooklynite

2017 Brandy Alexander Tour: The Brooklynite

This stylish cocktail joint has long been a local favorite for their playful twists on classic cocktails. The BKSA Alexander is no exception with the team over at Brooklynite throwing golden grahams into the mix. 

This decadent cocktail boasts notes of honey, nuts and vanilla and has a silky mouth feel.  If you're looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, the BKSA Alexander has you covered.  

 

BROOKLYNITE // BKSA ALEXANDER

1 oz. Kinsman Rakia

1/4 oz. white chocolate macadamia nut liqueur

1 oz. house cereal milk (rice, almond, heavy cream infused with golden grahams)

Combine ingredients in a tin over ice.  Shake. Double strain into a coup

Dorcol Distilling Co.:  The Brooklynite

Comment

Comment

Kinsman Rakia 2017 Brandy Alexander Tour: George's Keep

 2017 Brandy Alexander Tour:  George's Keep

2017 Brandy Alexander Tour:  George's Keep

Nick Kenna’s no stranger to the cocktail scene. Having opened Dorćol’s bar program in 2013, he’s no stranger to Kinsman either. A veteran of the Kinsman Brandy Alexander Cocktail tour he continues to raise the bar with his creative take on this classic libation.

Nick's imagination is front and center in this year’s version which boasts hints of spice and perfectly balanced notes of mint and vanilla.  Experiencing this cocktail is definitely worth the drive up north.  

 

GEORGE’S KEEP // YORK PEPPERMINT PAPI

1 oz. Kinsman Rakia

3/4 oz. Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao

1/4 oz. orgeat

1 oz. mint and serrano pepper house-infused vanilla almond milk 

Combine ingredients in a tin over ice.  Shake. Double strain into a coup. Garnish with bakers chocolate shavings and a mint leaf.

Dorcol Distilling Co.:  George's Keep

Comment

Comment

Kinsman Rakia 2017 Brandy Alexander Tour: Rosella at the Rand

 2017 Brandy Alexander Tour:  Rosella at the Rand

2017 Brandy Alexander Tour:  Rosella at the Rand

With barman Jesse Torres at the reins of this freshly minted Houston Street eatery's beverage program, the bar is poised for success in creativity and execution alike.

Rosella at the Rand's inaugural participation in this year's Kinsman Brandy Alexander Tour is presented with a berry twist - a refreshingly light and airy take on the classic. Equal parts a well built cocktail and a good ol' fashioned "adult" strawberry shake, this rendition with a cute name is a must on your Tour stop. 

 

ROSELLA AT THE RAND // APRICOT ME BY SURPRISE

1 1/2 oz. Kinsman Rakia

3/4 oz. Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao

1 oz. heavy cream

1 strawberry

Muddle a strawberry in a tin. Combine remaining ingredients in the tin and add ice.  Shake.  Double strain into a coupe lined with house-made chocolate ganache on the inside. Garnish with a fresh strawberry slice.

Dorcol Distilling Co.:  Rosella at the Rand

Comment

Comment

Kinsman Rakia 2017 Brandy Alexander Tour: Juniper Tar

 2017 Brandy Alexander Tour: Juniper Tar

2017 Brandy Alexander Tour: Juniper Tar

The barman behind this swanky downtown cocktail lounge is well known for his fun and imaginative cocktails.  It's no surprise then that Benjamin Krick's take on this classic strays slightly off the beaten path. 

Served over crushed ice and including a spiced rum cream liqueur, the Kinsman Brandy Alexander has a nutty, butterscotch flavor that takes even the most avid Brandy Alexander enthusiast by surprise.  A trip downtown is well worth the smile this cocktail will put on your face.  

 

JUNIPER TAR // KINSMAN BRANDY ALEXANDER

1 oz. Kinsman Rakia

1 oz. Kringle Cream

1/2 oz. Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao

Combine all ingredients in a tin over ice.  Shake.  Strain into a rocks glass over crushed ice. Dust with Abuelita chocolate for garnish.

 

Dorcol Distilling Co.: Juniper Tar

Comment

Comment

Kinsman Rakia 2017 Brandy Alexander Tour: The Hoppy Monk

 2017 Brandy Alexander Tour: The Hoppy Monk

2017 Brandy Alexander Tour: The Hoppy Monk

While The Hoppy Monk is often recognized for a broad beer selection, their spirit offering is as creative and diverse. Brittany Dinhobl showcases her cocktail know-how with her take on this classic cocktail, which aptly includes a house-made coffee-porter liqueur. 

The King Alexander is a complex cocktail that combines subtle notes of coffee, chocolate and cardamom with a rich, creamy mouth-feel. Appreciate the creativity on display in The King Alexander and order yourself one (or two) on your next visit.  

 

THE HOPPY MONK // THE KING ALEXANDER

1 oz. Kinsman Rakia

1 oz. House-made Merit coffee and Deschutes Black Butte Porter liqueur

1 oz. heavy cream/St. Brendan's/China China "cream"

Combine all ingredients in a tin over ice. Shake vigorously. Double strain into a coupe. Sprinkle cocoa powder and nutmeg mix to garnish.  

Dorcol Distilling Co.: The Hoppy Monk

Comment

Comment

Kinsman Rakia 2017 Brandy Alexander Tour: Biga on the Banks

 2017 Brandy Alexander Tour: Biga on the Banks

2017 Brandy Alexander Tour: Biga on the Banks

Biga on the Banks, a San Antonio staple owned by James Beard Award nominee Chef Bruce Auden, has long been celebrated for its culinary achievements. Barman Shane Clifford with his Alex-En-Rakia, a light and frothy cocktail with balanced notes of coconut and vanilla, is continuing Biga's history of excellence. It's not hard to imagine drinking more than one of these on your next visit.

 

BIGA ON THE BANKS // ALEX-EN-RAKIA

1 oz. House vanilla infused Kinsman Rakia

1 oz. coconut milk sweetened with palm sugar

1/2 oz. orgeat

1 egg white

4 dashes Aztec chocolate bitters

Combine ingredients in a tin over ice. Shake and strain back into tin removing the ice. "Dry" shake vigorously. Strain into a brandy snifter and freshly grate nutmeg for garnish.

 

Dorcol Distilling Co.: Biga on the Banks

Comment

Comment

Kinsman Rakia 2017 Brandy Alexander Tour: Liberty Bar

 2017 Brandy Alexander Tour: Liberty Bar

2017 Brandy Alexander Tour: Liberty Bar

Liberty Bar's Ana Cabrera took her admiration of Kinsman and married it with her house-made ice cream for this decadent inspiration. Shaken without ice, and garnished with an orange zest, her Abuelita Alexander is an envy of even the savviest of grandmas.

Liberty Bar's Abuelita chocolate ice cream folded into Kinsman Apricot Rakia and Montenegro Amaro topped with milk chocolate shavings and orange oils is a humdinger of a cocktail with or without a meal. 

 

LIBERTY BAR //ABUELITA ALEXANDER

1 1/4 oz. Kinsman Rakia

1/2 oz. Montenegro Amaro

2 oz. scoop soft house-made Abuelita ice cream

Combine all ingredients in a tin. "Dry" shake combined ingredients. Pour into coupe. Garnish with an orange zest and freshly grated chocolate shavings. 

 

Dorcol Distilling Co.: Liberty Bar's Ana Cabrera 

Comment

Comment

Kinsman Rakia 2017 Brandy Alexander Tour: Signature

 2017 Brandy Alexander Tour: Signature

2017 Brandy Alexander Tour: Signature

Signature's take on this classic dessert cocktail is equal parts culinary creativity and bar execution. Chef Andrew Weissman's bar team built this libation to be a perfect after meal addition, with a balanced build and a rich mouth-feel.

 

SIGNATURE // CREMOSA

1 oz. Kinsman Rakia

1 oz. crème de cacao

1 oz. heavy whipping cream

Combine ingredients in a tin over ice. Shake. Double strain into a coup. Top the cocktail with house-made whipped cream made by combining and "dry" shaking in a tin heavy whipping cream and simple syrup. Pour over cocktail, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg. 

Comment

Comment

Kinsman Rakia 2017 Brandy Alexander Tour: Nov 23 - Dec 31

Join us in celebrating both the holiday season and the creativity of the San Antonio bar and culinary scene as we team up with the city's best chefs and barkeeps on the Kinsman Rakia 3rd Annual Brandy Alexander Cocktail Tour, November 23rd to December 31st. 

A select dozen bars and restaurants across San Antonio have each created a unique take on the holiday classic using Dorćol’s award winning Kinsman Rakia.  This year’s participants include Bar 1919, Biga on the Banks, Bite, Brooklynite, George’s Keep, Hoppy Monk, Juniper Tar, Liberty Bar, Piatti, Rosella at the Rand, and Signature. 

 Biga On the Banks

Biga On the Banks

Biga on the Banks // Alex-en-Rakia

1 oz. House vanilla infused Kinsman Rakia

1 oz. coconut milk sweetened with palm sugar

1/2 oz. orgeat

1 egg white

4 dashes Aztec chocolate bitters

Combine ingredients in a tin over ice. Shake. Remove ice out of tin, and "dry" shake vigorously. Strain into a brandy snifter and freshly grate nutmeg for garnish.


Bite // Bite's Alexander Frappe

1 oz. Kinsman Rakia

1 oz. crème de cacao

1 pistachio gelato scoop

1 oz. heavy cream

Combine ingredients in a tin over ice. Shake. Double strain into a coup with a finely crushed pistachio rim


Brooklynite // BKSA Alexander

1 oz. Kinsman Rakia

1/4 oz. white chocolate macadamia nut liqueur

1 oz. house cereal milk (rice, almond, heavy cream infused with golden grahams)

Combine ingredients in a tin over ice.  Shake. Double strain into a coup


 George's Keep

George's Keep

George’s Keep // York Peppermint Papi

1 oz. Kinsman Rakia

3/4 oz. Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao

1/4 oz. orgeat

1 oz. mint and serrano pepper house-infused vanilla almond milk 

Combine ingredients in a tin over ice.  Shake. Double strain into a coup. Garnish with bakers chocolate shavings and a mint leaf.


 Hoppy Monk

Hoppy Monk

Hoppy Monk // The King Alexander

1 oz. Kinsman Rakia

1 oz. House-made Merit coffee and Deschutes Black Butte Porter liqueur

1 oz. heavy cream / St. Brendan's/ China China "cream"

Combine all ingredients in a tin over ice. Shake vigorously. Double strain into a coupe. Sprinkle cocoa powder and nutmeg mix.


 Juniper Tar

Juniper Tar

Juniper Tar // Kinsman Brandy Alexander

1 oz. Kinsman Rakia

1 oz. Kringle Cream

1/2 oz. Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao

Combine all ingredients in a tin over ice.  Shake.  Strain into a rocks glass over crushed ice. Dust with Abuelita chocolate for garnish.


 Liberty Bar

Liberty Bar

Liberty Bar //Abuelita Alexander

1 1/4 oz. Kinsman Rakia

1/2 oz. Montenegro

2 oz. scoop soft house-made Abuelita ice cream

Combine all ingredients in a tin. "Dry" shake combined ingredients. Pour into coupe. Garnish with  an orange zest and freshly grated chocolate shavings. 


Piatti at the Eilan - Caffe Alexander

1 oz. Kinsman Rakia

1 oz. Caffe Broghetti

1 oz. heavy cream

1/2 oz. Lazzaroni Amaretto 

Combine all ingredients in a tin over ice. Shake. Strain into coupe and garnish with ground cinnamon dust


 Piatti at the Quarry

Piatti at the Quarry

Piatti at the Quarry // Dandy Alexander

1 oz. Kinsman Rakia

1 1/4 oz. Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur

1 1/4 oz. aromatized heavy cream (pink peppercorn, clove, cinnamon)

1 drop of tiki bitters

Rim coupe with chocolate ganache. Combine all ingredients in a tin over ice.  Shake.  Double strain into coupe and top with freshly-ground pink peppercorn.


 Rosella

Rosella

Rosella at the Rand // Apricot me by Surprise

1 1/2 oz. Kinsman Rakia

3/4 oz. Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao

1 oz. heavy cream

Muddle a strawberry with Rakia in a tin. Combine all ingredients in the tin over ice.  Shake.  Double strain into a couple with house-made chocolate ganache on the inside. Garnish with a strawberry.


 Signature

Signature

Signature // Cremosa

1 oz. Kinsman Rakia

1 oz. crème de cocoa

1 oz. heavy whipping cream

Combine ingredients in a tin over ice. Shake. Double strain into a coup. Top with house-made whipped cream made by combining and "dry" shaking in a tin heavy whipping cream and simple syrup. Pour over cocktail, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg. 

Comment

1 Comment

Dorćol Expanding Facility, Distilling and Brewing Capacity

Dorćol Distilling + Brewing Co. (Door-chol) of San Antonio, Texas is a small craft spirits and beer maker on a quiet roll. Founded in December of 2013, the distillery’s inaugural spirit, Kinsman Rakia, an apricot brandy with Balkan origins, has been named both the highest rated American brandy (Gold - Chicago, 2014) as well as the world’s highest rated brandy, non-Cognac, (Gold, Best in Category - Los Angeles, 2016) in the three short years since its opening. Yet unless you are in the scene, or paying close attention, you’ve probably never heard of them, despite features in national publications like Playboy and Wine Enthusiast.

Inspired by one of the co-founder’s family’s countryside wine making and distilling tradition in his native Serbia and Croatia, Texas’ first post-Prohibition brandy distillery expanded its spirits production in 2015 to include a Texas-grown grape brandy, first aged in medium toast French-oak barrels and currently finishing in Sherry casks, as well as a single malt whisk(e)y, turning two in their used brandy barrels, similar to Scotch whiskies in the pre-Bourbon era which were often aged in Cognac barrels. This still young, but beautifully maturing single malt whiskey is showing signs of incredibly complex flavors and rich aromas.

 Dorcol Distilling + Brewing Co - San Antonio, Texas (2013)

Dorcol Distilling + Brewing Co - San Antonio, Texas (2013)

The team’s old-World distillation philosophy of using only direct-heat copper pot stills and their choice of aging casks hasn’t helped them on the bottom-line, but it seems to be the right choice in standing out from the sea of mediocrity often found in today’s “craft” spirits.

Expanding into distilling grains, Dorćol introduced HighWheel beers at their two-year anniversary celebration in December 2015. Their four staples, a Kolsch, Saison, Porter and an IPA, are joined by their seasonally brewed Brewer’s Keep series, which has seen the return of the Dunkelweizen for Oktoberfest, along with an Irish Red Ale and a Hefeweizen as the spring and summer seasonals respectively.

“We think that the continued growth we experience comes down to two things,” says Boyan Kalusevic, one of Dorćol’s co-founders, “putting everything we have into making the finest spirits and beers possible, and building relationships with the very best barmen who love what we do.”

In a little more than three years since launch, Dorćol’s spirits and beers are now sold at over a hundred on- and off-premise outlets with the company looking to expand its footprint in each of the major Texas markets. Keeping up with current demand while preparing for expected growth in the number of on-premise outlets across the region is proving to be no easy task for the small team.

Architectural rendering of the tasting-room expansion project

Adding a Second Bar

All this growth required additional space and equipment. As if the production growth and investment weren’t enough for this Texas craft distillery and brewery, Dorćol continues its upward trajectory by doubling down on its arts-centric neighborhood and reinvesting in the Southtown facility by expanding the on-site tasting room and adding a second bar.

San Antonio’s building department recently approved plans and issued construction permits for the use of modified shipping containers for the second bar, as well as a roof structure over the patio; a much desired improvement if you’ve ever visited the downtown cocktail and beer bar on either a summer afternoon or a busy service night. Guests will appreciate both additions to this gem.

Tripling Distilling Capacity

The addition of a second still, a Serbian-made 750-liter direct-heat copper pot, is anticipated to be put on-line by the end of 2017, with their goals for 2018 to include both the introduction of their much-anticipated barrel aged spirits, as well as the ramped up production of new products.

Visiting our third generation copper-smiths, CUPRUM, in Serbia

100% Increase in Brewing Capacity

Dorćol is also adding a 21-barrel fermenter to their brewing capacity. The recently delivered fermenter is in the process of being installed, with the team hoping to have it fully integrated in the brewing operation over the next several weeks.

Arrival of Dorćol’s newest 21 barrel fermenter by BrewBuilt Mfg from California.

“A lot of moving parts come together over the last couple years, from the roll-out of our beer brand to the growing adoption of our spirit at the State’s finest bar programs. It’s been an impressive growth for Dorćol and the pace shows no signs of slowing into 2018,” adds Kalusevic. “We are doubling our fermentation capacity, adding a second custom still to ease the distilling bottleneck, and about to break ground on more on-site space in order to really prepare for the kind of business expansion that our investment in production will afford us. We are very excited, and can’t thank all our fans enough for the continued support.”

Dorćol’s Kinsman Rakia is available Texas-wide with more markets planned for 2018. Expanded distribution of HighWheel beer is planned for mid-2018. Dorćol is located in Southtown, a San Antonio, Texas arts neighborhood south of downtown.

1 Comment

Comment

Farm Feast at Dorcol (Spring 2017)

Our goal is to scour the world for greatest ingredients possible. From the fruit we distill, to the yeast we ferment with, each is native to its style and brewing or distilling region.

So when we hooked up with Chefs John and Elise Russ, Truckin' Tomato, and Texas farmers, ranchers and purveyors of dry goods, we knew damn well we'd be in for a culinary farm-to-table treat; a true Farm Feast! 

If you think you'd enjoy joining us, be sure to sign up to receive invites for future events!

Comment

Comment

Out of retirement, and back in the saddle.

Six months into her retirement, and after years at some of the most iconic restaurants in San Antonio, Katie McKee is bringing her energy and talents to another Southtown staple, Dorćol Distilling + Brewing Co.

Many know her as the gray-haired gal that helped manage Liberty Bar for years. After retiring late last year, and unwilling to sit still for long, we wanted to get her back into the industry that shaped so much of her life. With her boisterous personality, genuine affinity for hospitality and love of community and the people who shape it, we are excited to announce that Katie is out of retirement and back in the saddle....at Dorćol.   

"I believe it's the people in the neighborhood that make it what it is," Katie said. "There is a lot of incredible stuff going on around town, and Dorćol plays an integral part in making Southtown a vibrant and interesting part of San Antonio with its own unique identity." 

As Dorćol's brands, Kinsman and HighWheel, continue to grow, the Kentucky native will be called on to help in various capacities, meaning you'll probably see her behind the bar slinging drinks from time to time. Still, her focus will be on special projects at our South Flores shop and peddling Kinsman and HighWheel to area establishments. 

"We're so excited to welcome a friend to the team, it was love at first email" said Chris Mobley, co-founder and distiller. "She brings such a wealth of knowledge and will be a great addition to help further our efforts and grow our reach." 

So when you see Katie making the rounds around town, feel free to celebrate her new venture by saluting her with her drink of choice: Kinsman neat.

Comment

Comment

Behind the bar with Justin Elliott

How did you get into bartending? 

I've been tending bar for about 15 years. I started tending bar as a senior in college at UT Austin. I moved to New York City and spent about nine years up there, mostly working in dive bars, neighborhood bars. I didn't really start doing the craft stuff until I moved back to Austin in 2011. I had my bachelor's in Theater Writing but when I got back to Austin I realized that I had been bartending, at that point, a third of my life. It certainly seemed that I should try to take it more seriously and make a career out of it. I didn't want to be 40-something, 50-something slinging drinks in a beer and shot bar, dealing with a bunch of rowdy assholes. I had to elevate my game. 

What are your thoughts on the idea of craft? 

It's complicated. I actually really don't like the word 'craft' that much. I feel like we haven't found a better word for it. The word is tough in general. It just seems to come with a certain amount of pretentiousness. I'm not calling myself an artisan. I'm a bartender who takes his work pretty seriously. I'm glad I spent 10 years working in neighborhood dives because those are institutions that really matter. With that said, I'm glad people are pursuing drinks that are nicer and balanced. To me, really nice cocktails are like a really nicely curated jukebox.  It's part of the experience but ideally it's not the only reason to hang out. If you find yourself going to a bar you don't like because they make a cocktail really well, I'm sad for you and I think your priorities are all messed up. 

What's your approach to bartending? 

The space is the most important thing. The space dictates the type of cocktails I'm going to prepare. The Townsend has a very classical feel to it. There's not a lot of odd-ball compound syrups being made. You're not seeing a whole lot of culinary shrubs or tinctures. I want this to be the least cerebral cocktail bar you can possibly go to in Austin.  

What makes Kinsman Rakia an interesting spirit to use in cocktails? 

The fact that it's bone dry but has bright fruit to it as well makes it weirdly and wonderfully versatile. I've had a lot of fun using it in split-spirit cocktails to help reinforce the fruitiness in a bourbon or a scotch. It's a great spirit. It's well structured. It has depth. Honestly, it's just well made. It's not that it excites me because I've never tasted an apricot before. It excites me because it's honest to God, solid craftsmanship. I like working with it because you can make delicious cocktails with it.

What ingredients play well with the spirit? 

It' delightful with all your citrus. It's great because there's a lot you can layer on top of it. It's fun to use in spirit forward cocktails. It can support hard spice, herbaceous notes. You can mind fuck people with it. You can hit a drink with a bunch of fruit but with the Rakia it stays a super dry cocktail. I love hitting it with absinthe. I just love it. Don't get me wrong, I like hitting everything with absinthe but with this spirit, it's screaming for it.

 

Photos by Sara Ellis/Dorćol Distilling Company

Gypsy Marching Band

1 1/2 ounces Kinsman Rakia

1 ounce Benedictine

1/2 ounce lemon juice

One bar spoon absinthe

Instructions: Combine ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake. Strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with lemon zest. 

Cocktail by Justin Elliott of The Townsend in Austin, Texas

Comment

Comment

Behind the bar with Travis Tober

Before Travis Tober was old enough to drive he was already pouring beer at a pub his parents owned in Buffalo, New York. After high school, he intended to become a cop but realized the Police Academy wasn't his cup of tea. Instead, he continued to pursue bartending, a profession that led him to do stints in West Palm Beach and Las Vegas. In 2011, he made his way to Austin, becoming one of the top bartenders in the state. He's garnered several accolades, including being named the People's Choice winner in the Official Drink of Austin competition and the People's Choice winner at Bacardi's Hand Shaken Daiquiri at Tales of the Cocktail in 2012. Tober, who also has served as the vice president for the U.S. Bartenders Guild Austin Chapter, is the beverage director at Vox Table. There, he has cultivated a thoughtful, fun cocktail program that features Kinsman Rakia, a spirit he calls "the most beautiful spirit distilled in Texas."

How did you get into bartending? 

I grew up in Buffalo, New York. My parents owned this dive bar, sort of like a cafe and pool hall, so I literally poured my first beer when I was 13 or 14. I basically grew up in restaurants and pubs. My very first job was as a dishwasher and bar back. I worked my way up from there and started bartending when I was 18. At that time I was also going to college and thinking about going to the Police Academy but decide that wasn't for me. I made good money as a bartender, and I really enjoyed what I did and had a great time. 

What's your approach to bartending? 

My whole ideal is to give the restaurant, bar and cocktails their own identity.  You can come to get great food but you can also get great cocktails. For many places, you're known for one or the other. Consistency is the main thing. It's got to be fun and taste great.  If you order a Negroni, it has to be the same down the line. I like fun names and great, fresh ingredients. You know, things that really stand out.

What makes Kinsman Rakia an interesting spirit to use in cocktails? 

Seriously, me and all my bartenders say that it's the most beautiful spirit distilled in Texas. It's amazing. It's super clean and crisp.  I've had other people taste it and say it's one of the best apricot brandies out there and it's made, of all places, in San Antonio, Texas. It's subtle. It doesn't overpower and it doesn't have a fake taste to it. I say it's beautiful because that's exactly what it is.  I think it's definitely one of the best spirits out there. 

What ingredients play well with the spirit? 

I really like to use fresh citrus. Peach goes really well. Anything herbaceous, too. Like Chartreuse will make it pop. 

Photos by Sara Ellis/Dorćol Distilling Company

All the Kins Man

1 ounces Kinsman Rakia

3/4 ounce Germain-Robin brandy

3/4 ounce lemon juice

3/4 ounce simple syrup

Egg white

Peychaud's bitters

Instructions: Combine ingredients except bitters into a cocktail shaker. Dry shake without ice. Add ice and shake vigorously to further emulsify egg white. Strain into a chilled coupe. Top with bitters. 

Cocktail by Travis Tober of Vox Table in Austin

Comment

Comment

Wine Enthusiast Magazine gives nod to Kinsman Rakia

The report card is in! Wine Enthusiast gave Kinsman Rakia a grade of 89, naming it among some of the world's top new fruit brandies.

In a recent article, Kara Newman, Wine Enthusiast spirits editor, said the “fruit-forward spirit” was a “pleasant surprise.” She goes on to tip her hat to Kinsman’s use in cocktails, particularly the classic Fitzgerald (recipe below).

Here’s what she wrote about the San Antonio-made spirit in Wine Enthusiast:

“This unusual small-batch apricot brandy is made in Texas. It has a bold, delicious apricot aroma. On the palate, the stone fruit flavor is more subdued, with almond richness taking center stage and finishing with a floral touch. Pair with almond or vanilla desserts.

"Since many fruit brandies skew traditional, hailing from the Old World, a distinctly new-world apricot brandy from Texas was a particularly pleasant surprise. Made in San Antonio by Dorćol Distilling and based on Serbian rakia, this fruit-forward spirit seems to be made with cocktails in mind. Indeed, their take on the classic Fitzgerald seems like an ideal sour-style template to try with other fruit brandies too. Word has it they’re working on a barrel-aged version as well; we can’t wait to test-drive it when it’s ready."

In July, Newman, in an article for NYC-based Tasting Table, named Kinsman Rakia among the five best U.S.-made spirits with roots from the Old World. Check out our post here.

And, yes, we started our barrel-aging program. Earlier this year we filled a Texas sherry barrel full of Kinsman Rakia and it’s already smelling wonderful. We expect it to age for a bit so stay tuned. 

The Fitzgerald

1 ½ ounces Kinsman Rakia

½ ounce lemon juice

½ ounce Simple Syrup

2 dashes Angostura bitters

Combine ingredients except bitters in cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake. Strain into a coupe and top with bitters. 

Cheers!

Valentino

Comment

Comment

Art at the distillery: Tami Kegley and Page Graham

For 10 days this summer, local artists Tami Kegley and Page Graham captured a glimpse of Old-World Cuba, a corner of the globe that hasn't changed much since the 1950's. 

The couple, along with other local artists, invaded the Caribbean island for Havana Biennial, a contemporary art festival that features artists from around the globe. But their sightseeing didn't end there. The two explored the land, soaking in the culture in an attempt to capture its spirit. With cameras in hand, they snapped more than 1,000 photos, taking shots of the people, landscape and architecture. 

Their work, titled "Under Construction: Havana 2015" will be on display at Dorćol Distilling Co., starting this week. The opening reception is set for Thursday from 7-10 pm. The pair will exhibit dozens of framed photos  and Henry Brun and The Latin Playerz Trio will provide jams. 

Check out the article the pair wrote about their Cuba trip for the Rivard Report

Admission to the official FotoSeptiembre event is free with a portion of the proceeds from art sales at Thursday's event to benefit Contemporary Art Month. A portion of the Second Saturday, Sept. 12, proceeds will benefit the Artist Foundation of SA, Kegley and Graham said. Their exhibit, which was curated by Roberta Hassele, will run through Oct. 3. 

Oh, and if you see the pair at the distillery and want to buy them a drink, they prefer their Rakia neat. Just sayin'. 

Here are the details for Under Construction: Havana 2015

Opening show is from 7-10 pm on Thursday Sept. 10 at Dorćol Distilling Co., 1902 South Flores St. 

The Second Saturday Show at Dorćol is from 7 pm-1 am on Saturday Sept. 12. 

Here's a sneak peek: 


Cheers! 

Valentino

Comment