Friday, February 10, 2012

Why Treaty Oak?

We get asked often how we came up with the name "Treaty Oak" and what it means.  Here's the scoop on the famous Treaty Oak, why we chose it, and why we love it.

We ran through a lot of ideas when attempting to establish a name for our first product, Treaty Oak Rum (and now the namesake of our distillery).  Nothing really stood out until the story of the Treaty Oak popped up during conversation.  

The Treaty Oak was part of the original council oaks, revered by local Comanche and Tonkawa tribes.  Stephen F. Austin signed a border treaty with Native Americans under its broad branches.  Back in 1989, the tree was poisoned with velpar.  After tedious efforts, the tree survived against slim odds, even though more than 60% of it died.  It is large and healthy today, although only half of its original size back in 1989.  

The Treaty Oak showed strength and bravery in overcoming this incident.  When combined with its deep Texas history roots, we found it to be the perfect basis for our company.  The historic tree has lent its name to our distillery and our rum.

Daniel R. Barnes
Owner & Distiller
Treaty Oak Distilling Co.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

San Antonio Cocktail Conference 2012

This past weekend some of the Treaty Oak team (Eric and Ruth Anne Thornton, Rob Cantu and myself) were lucky enough to attend the San Antonio Cocktail Conference.  One of our first stops was to swing by Bohanan's for some awesome Treaty Oak Rum cocktails.  My favorite was the traditional daiquiri - simple, eloquent, and perfectly blended.  What more could you ask for?

Texas Daiquiri at Bohanan's

We hit up Luke for lunch and had an impressive array of foods - huge burgers, smoke ribs, shrimp and grits, and some killer salads.  Their drinks were superb as well.  We tasted a house spiced and aged version of Treaty Oak Rum that they're playing around with; it had plenty of clove and licorice flavors but was still light with a sweet finish.  Since Luke’s was about to host a Texas beer party, we also got the chance to try a flight of several different Texas beers (lucky us!).  I fell in love with the OPA from Ranger Creek and enjoyed the lighter Twisted X as well.

Next we sat in on the “Trouble in Tequilaville” class at the Gunter Hotel.  David Alan and Bill Norris did a phenomenal job explaining how modern technology and globalization is affecting the Tequila industry.  I could write an entire separate blog about what I learned regarding Mezcal and Tequila.  But more on that later…

That evening, we joined a party at Soho Lounge, a true gem of a place.  It is tucked away just off the Riverwalk in an old bank (with the vault still in tact and used for wine storage behind the bar).  Cinco Vodka and Dulce Vida Tequila joined Treaty Oak Rum and Waterloo Gin in the cocktail menus.  Great turnout, fabulous drinks and entertaining conversations. 

We continued to imbide and enjoy the industry crowd later into the evening.  When we weren’t enjoying 360 Double Chocolate Vodka and Yellow Rose of Texas cocktails (Paula's Texas Lemon, Treaty Oak Rum and club soda) on the riverboat taxis, we hit up Ocho Lounge and Esquire Tavern.  What can I say? We have hard jobs.  Ocho Lounge featured Bacardi and Bombay cocktails and the crowd at Esquire was impressive.  Were treated to a couple of unworldly cocktails to top off the night, one featuring Balcones' Brimstone and the other Treaty Oak Rum. 

Eric & Ruth Anne

While at the San Antonio Cocktail Conference, I participated in a Texas Distillers' panel at the Gunter.  It was moderated by Bill Norris and David Alan, with Tito Beveridge, Paula Angerstein, and Dan Garrison joining me.  We all talked about the trials and tribulations of getting to where we are now, the inspiring current state of the industry, and the excitement about where we'll see Texas distilleries go next.  It’s a great time and a good opportunity to taste some of the best spirits made in our great state, or, in my opinion, anywhere. 

We hosted a tasting table and met a ton of great industry folks and cocktail aficionados.  I couldn't help but feel sad when it was all over, but I can't wait until next year.  Cheers to those behind the San Antonio Cocktail Conference for a great and successful event!

Lookin' Good 

Daniel R. Barnes
Treaty Oak Distilling Co. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A little more about Texas gin...

Our Waterloo Gin hit shelves back in mid-November in the Austin area.  There are now a few stores in both Houston and San Antonio that are carrying it as well.  The response has been pretty positive thus far.  We were aiming to make a traditionally styled London Dry Gin with a definitively Texas twist.  We achieved this by mixing the usual ingredients with some Texas natives - lavender, pecan and grapefruit zest.  If you haven't had a chance to try it, you really should.  It's a big junipery gin that is softened quite a bit by the presence of the grapefruit and lavender.   
Four Seasons: Chris makes a Gin 'N Sin 
We've seen a lot of our local Austin restaurants and bars start to carry Waterloo Gin and do some fantastic work with it.  The Four Seasons has created a number of great cocktails with Waterloo, many of which were featured at our release party there.  Pam over at the Tigress has come up with some cocktails that blew us all of out of the water!  
The only thing better than the 'Loo and Tonics at Yellow Jacket Social Club is their amazing beet sandwich. 
'Loo & Tonic

Of course, Jack Allen's and Red's Porch, two of my all time faves, continue to support local and feature Waterloo Gin.  If you're near VY Steakhouse, make sure to have Zach hook you up with one of his awesome concoctions as well. 
Red's Porch: The Greenbelt
I hope that everyone is enjoying Waterloo Gin.  I'll leave you with one of my favorite drinks from the badasses over at Lucky 13 Cocktail Company, the Austin Cup No.9.  It was voted Fan Favorite for the Official Drink of Austin!
  • Waterloo Gin
  • Domaine de Canton (ginger cognac)
  • Texas Olive Balsalmic Vinegar
  • Texas Goodflow Honey
  • Bad Dog Bar Craft Sarsaparilla Bitters
  • Fresh lemon & cucumber
Phenomenal cocktail...and I'll bet that Marcelo may even share the recipe if you reach out to him!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Top Gift Picks for the Holidays

Since I'm sure everyone is out looking for those last minute gifts, I thought I would throw out a few of my favorites.  Of course, since I'm a distiller, they focus on Texas booze and the like.  Here's my top ten list for 2011:

  1. 1. Waterloo Gin.  I thought about burying the lead, but I just can't.  We're really proud of this newest release from our distillery and it's starting to be found a little bit more easily on the shelves.  All Texas botanicals and a truly Texas attitude - grab a bottle today if you haven't already tried it.  
  2. Tito's Vodka.  Always gotta mention Mr. Beveridge's iconic elixir at the top of any list.  The first Texas distillery is still making extraordinary vodka and you can even find it in a sweet gift bag this holiday season.  
  3. Jester King beers.  Basically, any of them.  I've been a fan of everything I've had from these guys, but it's hard to beat the barrel-aged Boxer's Revenge.
  4. Balcones' 1.  A recent release from Balcones Distillery in Waco.  Lead guy Chip Tate is doing some really awesome and creative craft distilling.  This jewel is my favorite thus far with some forward fruit and slightly smoked finish.  I'd be pumped to find this in my stocking.
  5. Tempranillo-Cabernet blend from Inwood Vineyards.  A solid winemaker in Texas that pays close attention to our climate and terroir.  You'll be pleased the complexity of this jewel.
  6. Argus Cider.  The first cider-makers in our state.  Really good stuff and very different as few people have had craft made ciders. 

7. Paula's Texas Lemon.  This is still a favorite of mine, and not just because it makes a sweet Texas Icepick when mixed with our Graham's Texas Tea.  Delicate and floral, it can even be enjoyed with just a splash of soda. 

8. Ranger Creek .36 bourbon whiskey.  Out just in .375's right now, it's worth the cost.  Solid Texas whiskey with some depth to it, even at 9 months of age.  

9. Real Ale 15th Anniversary Ale.  Big hops and big malt = my kind of beer.  Additional props to these guys as well for making really kickass beers for 15 years in the heart of the Hill Country.

10. Adelbert's Belgian Style beers.  Kind of cheating here since you can't get this stuff yet (as far as I know).  However, they're right around the corner from us and I've had the opportunity to taste some of their brews with owner Scott Hovey.  With the premature inclusion here, I don't even think I need to say I was blown away.

11. Treaty Oak Aged Rum.  As long as I'm cheating, I thought I would plug our upcoming release.  We should have this out in limited quantities by the end of February.  We're going all out on this - single barrel, barrel strength, unfiltered.  Honestly, it's a rum made for craft-whiskey drinkers.  I can't wait to share it.

That sums up my holiday list, although there are a ton of great products I wasn't able to get to.  Happy Holidays and remember to always drink local!

Daniel Barnes

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Intern with Treaty Oak!

As I'm hoping you're all aware of by now, we recently released our Waterloo Gin.  Treaty Oak Aged Rum will be following shortly, along with three other product releases we have planned for next year.  We're also moving into several more markets.  It's a good time for us right now, but we're also getting really swamped.  Thus, we've decided to see if there might be a few interested individuals out there that would be interested in coming aboard with us for an internship.

We're looking for marketing interns (in all major Texas cities), design interns, and anyone that is interested in "apprenticing" as a distiller.  The work will be hard, but I can guarantee a ton of educational value and some awesome perks along the way.  Plus, there's always a good chance that someone might kick-ass and get a full time opportunity.

Start Date: January 2012
Availability: M-F with weekends as necessary, approximately 20 to 40 hours/week

Please reach out to me directly at with your resume and cover letter, and of course shoot any questions my way.

Daniel R. Barnes
Treaty Oak Distilling Co.  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Feast at Jack Allen's Kitchen

This past Tuesday evening, we were lucky enough to team up with the folks out at Jack Allen's Kitchen for a cocktail and food pairing dinner to benefit the Lone Star Paralysis Foundation.  Lone Star is a really great organization, and you can learn more about them at their website. 
The cocktails featured all three of our Treaty Oak Distilling products:  Waterloo Gin, Treaty Oak Rum and Graham's Texas Tea.  Cocktails were created by David Toby and Tom Kaam.  Jack Gilmore and Chris TenEyck were the chefs behind the food, which featured various meats from Broken Arrow Ranch.

The first course was a wild boar chile and blue corn bread muffin served with the Texas 75 - Waterloo Gin, Paula's Texas Lemon and champagne.  Great combo that really blended the spice of the chile and effervescent softness of the cocktail together well.  Next up was the achiote grilled half quail paired with the Pepperita.  The Pepperita was perfect - lime and jalapeno flavors coming through strong and melding perfectly with the sweet potato crush the quail was served on.  

Third came the antelope osso bucco chile relleno and my personal favorite cocktail, the cucumber basil press.  The relleno packed a pretty good amount of heat, but the cooling cucumber and basil drink always tamed it down.  The fourth course was a wild boar and axis meatloaf served with the Orange Treaty.  The Orange Treaty is Treaty Oak Rum, fresh squeezed orange juice, orange sherry and simple syrup.  A winning combination as the rosemary that found its way both through the meatloaf and the cocktail.  The final course was a goat cheese pumpkin tart and a Graham's Cider.  The goat cheese pumpkin tart was almost like a light cheesecake and was a perfect finish to the meal.  The Graham's Cider was truly awesome - a combination of Graham's Texas Tea, apple cider, apple bitters and a cinnamon foam.

I can't say enough great things about the meal or the Jack Allen's team.  Service was impeccable as we were done with the entire dinner within two hours and never found ourselves without a drink or food in front of us at all times.  I hope that they'll have us back to do this again soon and thank you to everyone that was part of making this a success!

Daniel R. Barnes
Owner & Distiller
Treaty Oak Distilling Co.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Treaty Oak Cranberries

Ahead of time, let me apologize for the lack of pictures in this blog post.  To be honest, I got my hands on a bottle of .36 Texas Bourbon Whiskey from Ranger Creek over in San Antonio and was a little preoccupied with trying it while I was cooking the recipe below.  Very well made and similar to the bourbon that we'll be releasing next year alongside our rye whiskey.  Good to see quality products coming from the Texas distilling movement.  

Each year, I try to take one my mother Alice's old school recipes and make it a little more "modern."  She's not always completely patient with me (I thought she was going to strangle me when I made bourbon whipped sweet potatoes with pistachios last year), but she allows me to have some fun.  This year I decided to focus on the cranberry side dish.  My family has long served the tube-molded OceanSpray canned variety - not exactly a showstopper at the dinner table.  

I took this from a recipe over at Cooking Light and made a few of my own changes.  I made this two days ago and sampled yesterday after letting it rest - very, very tasty stuff.

Treaty Oak Cranberries

2 bags of fresh cranberries (about 24 oz)
3/4 cup Round Rock Honey
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 orange zested
a handful of mint leaves
1.5 oz Treaty Oak Rum
splash of Paula's Texas Orange
cooking spray

Mix all ingredients in a lightly sprayed baking pan except for mint, Treaty Oak and Paula's.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes covered, then another 25 minutes uncovered.  Stir in remaining ingredients and let chill for two to three hours before serving.  

This cranberry concoction is a great replacement for the canned version that is so common (and boring).  Plus, you can muddle this mix with a few extra mint leaves, agave nectar and lime juice, then top with Treaty Oak and club soda - and POW the perfect Holiday Mojito.

From all of us at Treaty Oak Distilling, Happy Thanksgiving!

Daniel R. BarnesOwner & Distiller