UPDATE: Deep Eddy Vodka is not leaving its new production facility in Dripping Springs, although the company is looking for space for more production to keep up with rapid growth. An announcement from the City of Buda on Wednesday said the distillery planned to move to an almost 200,000-square-foot space on 15 acres in that city after an incentive package was passed by Buda City Council. Later Wednesday, Deep Eddy clarified what’s happening with the spirits company, including that the company is in negotiations for a possible spot in Buda but that no plans have been finalized.
Deep Eddy also will keep its tasting room at the Dripping Springs facility for now, according to the company. The 5,000-square-foot tasting room is along U.S. 290 West, not far from where other distilleries and breweries, such as Treaty Oak Distilling and Jester King Brewery, are located.
Dulce Vida, which made waves in the tequila industry by producing all-organic, 100-proof tequilas, is releasing a blanco, reposado and añejo at a lower 80 proof, to invite a wider range of drinkers to the organic products. But most notably, Dulce Vida now has two fruit-infused blanco tequilas as well: one made with lime, the other with grapefruit, two of the most common flavors in tequila cocktails.
Flavored tequila has never taken off as a spirits category before, but Milestone Brands’ CEO Eric Dopkins — whose newly formed spirits company scooped up Dulce Vida in the spring, followed by Tennessee’s American Born Moonshine — aims to change that. He and business partner Chad Auler, also formerly of Deep Eddy and now Milestone’s president, believe they know what consumers want.
“Obviously, with our experience at Deep Eddy using real fruit and doing things differently, our mission was to reinvent flavored spirits,” Dopkins said. “We feel that can also be applied to other categories, not just vodka… This is really a breakthrough, a disrupter. As cocktail-ready tequila, it’s very good straight, good on the rocks, good with simple mixers. ”
He and Dulce Vida are very clear that the lime and grapefruit-infused tequilas follow the strict guidelines the Mexican government has laid out dictating what tequila can be. Even with the fruity additions, both are still considered tequila, “not a prepared cocktail or a liqueur,” Dopkins said.
And they are also, as a result of Mexico’s regulations, surprisingly low-calorie.
“Tequila is so regulated that you can’t just add whatever ingredients you want,” he said. “They limit you with sugar content and what you can put in it to still call it tequila. Because of that, there are not a lot of additives here. The net result is a lower carb, lower calorie tequila: 66 calories. That’s lower than a Michelob Ultra.”
The decreased amount of sugar in the Dulce Vida Lime and Dulce Vida Grapefruit is only a boon to the taste because the tequilas incorporate both of the fruity flavors without being overly sweet. They also maintain the flavor of Dulce Vida’s Los Altos highlands agave, slightly floral and fruity itself, that complements lime and grapefruit so well in margaritas and palomas.
Those two cocktails are the main reasons that Dopkins and Auler, in charge of the product development, chose lime and grapefruit to start with. (They’ve got another flavor in the works but aren’t ready to reveal it yet.)
“Not too often can you drink tequila straight out of the bottle and get that balance,” Dopkins said. “Usually you’re going to get that pucker, that harshness. Here, you’re getting a nice balance, fruit in the front, and a nice finish. That’s part of our whole concept, to break people into the tequila category and show consumers you can have fruit-infused tequila. It can really change how you drink tequila.”
The other new line of Dulce Vida Tequila, at 80 proof, is similarly important to the brand. But for fans of the original 100-proof options, don’t worry — those aren’t going away. The 80-proof tequilas are meant to supplement the existing ones, drawing in more tequila converts. They are also cheaper.
“That’s our whole mission, to make the brand much more affordable and approachable. We think we’re over-delivering on quality,” Dopkins said.
The vodka company decided to pursue peach as its sixth-produced spirit because of how ripe the fruit is for use in cocktails, especially light, refreshing ones in spring and summertime like the Bellini.
“Peach is a classic American flavor and has seen a resurgence in cocktails over the past few years,” Brandon Cason, Vice President of Marketing at Deep Eddy Vodka, said in a news release. “We worked on Deep Eddy Peach for more than a year to ensure we capture the flavor of real peaches in a way that enables both simple mixology at home and complex cocktails for advanced bartenders.”
Deep Eddy Vodka has seen skyrocketing growth over the past few years and produced more than 700,000 cases last year after being bought up by a Kentucky beverage company. Each of its bottles are found in all 50 states. Deep Eddy Peach, which officially launches in February, will go on retail shelves for $19.99.
Once you’ve got your bottle of the peach vodka in hand, try it in these easy-to-make cocktails.
1 oz. Deep Eddy Peach Flavored Vodka
4 oz. sparkling wine
Pour the vodka into a champagne flute, then top with wine.
The Southern Belle
1 oz. Deep Eddy Peach Flavored Vodka
1 oz. Bourbon
½ oz. lemon juice
Mix first three ingredients in a cocktail glass. Top with club soda.
Treaty Oak Distilling is opened every weekend to offer you cocktails made from the Treaty Oak spirits lineup — including Starlite Vodka, Waterloo Gin and Red-Handed Bourbon Whiskey — but next weekend, the distillery is hosting a class to teach you how to make these cocktails yourself.
The cocktail class on Dec. 19 is being taught by Treaty Oak’s cocktail guru Matt Moody, which means you’ll be in good hands if you’ve never mixed up a drink before. He’ll teach you how to make two classics: an Old Fashioned featuring the bourbon and a daiquiri featuring Treaty Oak Rum. His “fun and informative session will explore the history, the process and the methods needed to rock these recipes at home,” according to a press release.
For $38, you’ll also get a light food buffet paired with the drinks, a branded Treaty Oak rocks glass and recipe cards of each of the featured cocktails. Or, if you really want to go all out, upgrade your ticket for $117. That’ll get you a full bag of professional cocktail tools and a bottle of one of Treaty Oak’s clear spirits — you can choose which one. Reserve your spot ahead of time here.
Once the 2 to 5 p.m. cocktail class is over, stay for an evening of games, cocktails and live music from Sophia Johnson, who’s performing at the rickhouse from 4:30 to 8 p.m. The Treaty Oak ranch is located at 16604 Fitzhugh Rd., in Dripping Springs.
Treaty Oak isn’t the only booze maker in Dripping Springs ready to turn you into your own home bartender. For anyone who prefers vodka, Deep Eddy Vodka is offering another “Dive in to Mixology” class on Thursday. This one is $37.92 and gets you small bites, cocktails and a souvenir glass to take home. Tickets to the class are here.
Starting in mid-November, Deep Eddy Vodka will start offering something new at its Dripping Springs distillery.
The distillery plans to bring in bartending gurus Jason Ducharme and Ben Walker to teach a monthly class on the fundamentals of making cocktails. Plus, Deep Eddy will also start opening to the public on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting on Nov. 5.
“We’ve seen a fantastic reception for our distillery in our first year, with over 1,000 daily visitors on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays,” Tracy Beacham, Deep Eddy’s hospitality manager, said. “With the expanded hours, we’ll be able to open our home to even more visitors throughout the Austin area.”
Those additional hours will include the “Dive in to Mixology” series that Ducharme and Walker are set to teach. Each course is going to focus on a different flavor of Deep Eddy Vodka — from sweet tea to Ruby Red grapefruit to lemon — and participants can also expect to get a behind-the-scenes look at how each of the flavors are produced at the distillery, according to a press release. They’ll enjoy a cocktail hour afterward with small bites from a rotating list of local chefs.
Creating a DIY cocktails class was important to Deep Eddy, Beacham said, because it’s just one more way for the distillery, which features a 5,000 sq. ft. tasting room and visitor’s center, to reach out to and connect with the community.
“The new cocktail class is an extension of that idea and will allow our fans to bring the Deep Eddy love home with knowledge of how easy it is to make great cocktails from a few simple ingredients and our products,” she said.
Expect the classes to focus on “classic techniques that easily translate at home,” Beacham said. “The fundamentals of tasting and mixing vodkas, proper shaking/stirring techniques and use of natural ingredients you can find anywhere.”
The first class will be on Nov. 19 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Space is limited, with only 25 spots available at $25 per person, so make reservations soon by emailing Beacham at email@example.com. In addition to taking the class, the $25 will get you a cocktail, a souvenir glass and a 20 percent discount on Deep Eddy merchandise.
Cross Deep Eddy Vodka off your list of Austin companies: Kentucky’s Heaven Hill Brands, one of the biggest players in the liquor industry, has recently purchased the local vodka makers for an undisclosed amount of money.
“This is an incredible day for Deep Eddy Vodka,” Dopkins said in Dinges’ story. “The Deep Eddy team and their distributor partners will remain in place and continue to build on the exceptional momentum of the brand alongside Heaven Hill.”
Heaven Hill’s boozy products include Evan Williams Bourbon, Burnett’s Vodka, Admiral Nelson’s Rum and Christian Brothers brandies, among others.
It’d be hard to distill the essence of Texas into a bottle. Would this state taste like Fredericksburg peaches? Like High Plains or Hill Country grown grapes? Like Rio Grande Valley grapefruit?
A couple of vodka producers would argue the latter. Austin’s Deep Eddy Vodka has struck gold with its pink infusion of neutral grain spirit and grapefruit juice, the Ruby Red vodka that has flown off store shelves ever since it was first introduced in 2013. But it’s not the only one anymore: SKYY Infusions has also capitalized on a clear thirst for the sweet fruit by releasing SKYY Infusions Texas Grapefruit earlier this year, sourcing the grapefruit from state growers.
Since Texas grapefruits aren’t in season currently, look to these two spirits if you’re wanting to put grapefruit into a cocktail. The vodkas can stand in for the juicy red fruit until October, when they’ll return widespread in stores. But which vodka captures the sweet soul of a Texas-grown ruby red grapefruit the best? I tasted each one by themselves to find out.
The SKYY Infusions Texas Grapefruit is a more vibrant expression of the citrus fruit than Deep Eddy Ruby Red, with a blossoming aroma and an almost candied approach to showcasing grapefruit’s sweet side. On the other hand, the subtlety of the Ruby Red is more appealing in part because the Deep Eddy vodka smells, tastes and looks exactly like what it is without being overwhelming.
But if you like the sweet burst of grapefruit in a cocktail that the SKYY Infusions vodka provides, go out and get a bottle of it. That level of vibrancy does well in cocktails — like the one below with Scotch and an element of smoke from a special ice ball. (Note that because of the smoked ice ball, the flavor of the drink will change as you sip and the ice melts.)
Gimme the Peat
2 oz. SKYY Infusions Texas Grapefruit
1 oz. Glen Grant Single Malt Scotch
1 tbsp. Simple Syrup
Liquid smoke ice ball (see below)
Combine SKYY Infusions Texas Grapefruit, Glen Grant Single Malt and simple syrup in a double rocks glass.
Place smoked ice ball in glass and stir 5 times. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge.
Smoked Ice Ball
Use an ice ball mold to produce a large round ice sphere. Before placing in freezer, drop approximately 5 drops of liquid smoke into the water used. Freeze. Remember to use sparingly as liquid smoke is potent.
As the entertainment venue did last year during “Game of Thrones” screenings, the North Door will have a list of themed cocktails available during the “Better Call Saul” screenings that start up on Sunday with AMC’s premiere of the “Breaking Bad” spinoff.
Starring Bob Odenkirk as the small-time lawyer Saul Goodman, “Better Call Saul” will air on the North Door’s 25-foot HD screen Sunday at 9 p.m. when the show debuts; after that, the venue’s free watch parties will take place on Mondays, when the rest of the episodes run at 9 p.m. (However, there won’t be a screening of episode three on Feb. 16.)
At each of these watch parties, you’ll be able to sip on a show-themed drink that might just have you feeling a little crooked, from the vodka-based Plea Bargain to the tequila-heavy Time Served. Here’s the full menu of drink specials.
Plea Bargain:Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka and strawberry puree topped with champagne and a strawberry garnish. $8.
Time Served: Espolon Silver Tequila, fresh lime juice and agave nectar shaken and garnished with olives. $7.
Out on Parole: Absolut Citron, blue curacao and pineapple juice topped with a cherry. $7.
The Flaming Alchemist: Fireball, Blue Curacao and a flaming floater of Bacardi 151 Rum. $10.
And if you went to any of the North Door’s “Game of Thrones” or “Breaking Bad” screening last year — or any of the myriad comedy or music shows the venue regularly hosts — you might notice the space looks a little different. It’s been renovated, and among the changes is a new lounge area with revised seating and a service window that opens into the main room to offer additional bar service. A balcony bar and a kitchen are also in the works.
Sometimes during the mad scramble to report on the Texas Legislature’s every move, a journalist just needs a cocktail.
The Texas Tribune has teamed up with the W Austin to produce one in honor of the 84th Texas Legislative Session, debuting today at the downtown hotel and available through sine die — the day, June 1, when lawmakers will adjourn.
The Tribune Cocktail is made with Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka, Ford’s Gin and Cocchi Americano, an Italian aperitif wine. Served at the W’s bar for $12, it’ll go for $6 during Primetime, the W Austin Living Room bar’s daily happy hour from 7 to 10 p.m.
First Sunday Beer Release at Hops & Grain, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 4. Release of the Pale Mosaic IPA to kick off new First Sunday series, which will release a special edition beer each time, and the start of the brewery opening every Sunday.
Arro’s First Mondays Pairing, 5 p.m. to close Monday, Jan. 5. Wines and regional cuisine from the Rhone Valley. $60; additional $40 with wine pairings. Reservations recommended.
Ranger Creek Dinner at Barley Swine, 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 11. Six-course feast paired with Ranger Creek brews. $100. For reservations, visit the website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Libations 101 Series at School House Pub, 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, Jan. 12. A new monthly series with a cocktail-based theme each time. This debut class will teach you how to make four wine-based cocktails. $10.
Jester King and Evil Twin Collaboration Release, 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16. Evil Twin Brewing’s owner helped to brew the World’s Worst Twin, an oak barrel-fermented farmhouse ale refermented with blueberries, and he’ll be at Jester King on Jan. 17.
Rogness’ Brunch at the Brewery, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 18. How about beers for breakfast? Offerings include Yogi, Holiday, Sophina (a pineapple sour ale) and the brand new Iapetus Stout.
Shaving Heads for St. Baldrick’s at Hops & Grain, 12 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 18. Event is free if you shave your head; otherwise, it’s $25 and you’ll get a souvenir pint glass and 4 beer tickets. Proceeds go to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to fund the fight against childhood cancers.
Somms Under Fire, 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 18. A wine and food pairing competition that will pit three sommeliers against each other in this event organized by Keeper Collection. $60 general admission, $125 VIP.
3rd Annual Silverback Pub Crawl, 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24. Trek through Rainey Street (ideally in a gorilla suit) to raise awareness for the Austin Gorilla Run on Jan. 31.
2nd Annual Austin Bacon and Beer Festival, 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 25. Bacon-centric dishes from 30 notable Central Texas restaurants, including Barley Swine, Searsucker and Salty Sow; and craft beer from 12 breweries, including Independence, Save the World and South Austin.
Pappy Whiskey Flight at Easy Tiger, 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26 and Tuesday, Jan. 27. Just 32 flights of the 10 year, 12 year, 15 year and 20 year Pappy Van Winkle bourbons will be available each day for this very special offering. Plan accordingly. $50.
Firkin Tapping at Banger’s, 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29. This Thursday’s firkin tapping features Prairie Birra flavored with ginger; next Thursday’s will be Jester King Le Petit Prince dry-hopped with Mosaic hops.
Blue Moon’s White IPA Hunt, 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29. The first 20 to arrive at the designated starting location (30.172035, -97.825846) will receive a clue leading them to the second secret location — and a first taste of the new White IPA.
Live at the Deep Eddy Distillery, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30 and Saturday, Jan. 31. Live music and food trucks are now going to be fixtures at the distillery. This weekend: Whole Foods truck both days, Dawn & Hawkes Friday and Milk Drive Trio Saturday.