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 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Treaty Oak Distilling Proudly Announces Waterloo Gin

After months of hard work and recipe testing, we are proud to announce our release of Waterloo Gin.  We've had the goal of releasing a gin since we first released Treaty Oak Rum several years back.  The name was an obvious choice once we learned that Austin was originally known as Waterloo.  Our goal with Waterloo was to stay true to the traditional London Dry Gin style while still making the gin's Texas roots evident.  Waterloo Gin is a true Texas Native.

Waterloo is a distilled gin as opposed to a compound gin.  Distilled gins are made by placing the various botanicals into the column of a still while the wash is boiled.  The vaporized distillate then passes through the botanicals and absorbs the flavor.  A compound gin is made simply by steeping botanicals into neutral grain spirit.

We use local juniper, lavender, zest from oranges, lemons and grapefruits, rosemary, anise, coriander, licorice root, ginger root and pecans to flavor our brave gin.  The combination of flavors is big - we by no means intended to make this a soft or quiet gin.  The lavender, grapefruit and pecan are a departure from traditional gin recipes, but they give Waterloo the Texas flavor we wanted.  

We hope that you enjoy this latest elixir from our distillery, Treaty Oak Distilling Company.  We're very proud to finally be able to offer it to you.  Please let us know what you think and keep us aware of any interesting cocktails you may come up with.  Here's a classic that we've been enjoying to get you started:

Waterloo Martini
2 oz Waterloo
1 dash dry vermouth
2 barspoons olive brine
a lemon zest
a green olive
Add the Waterloo, dry vermouth and olive brine to a shaker or pint glass filled with ice.  Stir (don't shake).  Strain into a chilled martini glass with a lemon-zested edge.  Garnish with an olive.

Be brave - Drink Waterloo!


Daniel Barnes
Owner & Distiller
Treaty Oak Distilling Co.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cooking with Graham's Texas Tea

We had the pleasure of spending an evening last week with Chef Kyle Jentsch at Barbeques Galore (in the Hill Country Galleria). He came up with some truly inspired recipes using Graham's Texas Tea, so we thought we'd share! For more information about the Barbeques Galore Cooking Experience, visit We highly recommend it!

First Course: Sweet Tea Chipotle Shrimp with Jicama Orange Salad

For the salad:

1 jicama
1 can Mandarin Oranges
1 cup orange juice
chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1/2 cup cilantro
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp olive oil

Put orange juice and chipotle pepper in saucepan and reduce by half on low heat. Chill. Balance mixture with oil, salt, and pepper. Peel jicama and slice into small strips. Toss jicama and mandarin oranges in the orange/chipotle mixture, reserving some of the sauce for a garnish. Put jicama salad on plate and top with shrimp, cilantro, and reserved sauce.

For the shrimp:

2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground chipotle chile powder
1/4 cup Graham's Texas Tea
32 peeled and deveined large shrimp, skewered

Combine first six ingredients in a large bowl.

Pat shrimp dry and lightly brush with light olive oil. Heat grill on medium-high heat. Cook shrimp about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Place shrmp in the bowl with the mixture, coat, and serve atop a bed of jicama orange salad!

Second Course: Raspberry Sweet Tea Jerk Pork Chops with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Grilled Green Beans

For the green beans:

1 pound green beans of choice, picked
Stone Wall Kitchen Chicken and Pork Rub
1-2 oz oil of choice

Place your green beans (seasoned with oil and chicken and pork rub) on your grill topper. Grill over a mediu heat until browned and roasted. Stir the beans on the topper during cooking or they will burn. Once browned, remove from the grill and place in a bowl. Immediately cover the bowl in plastic wrap to let the beans finish cooking by steaming.

Once they are done steaming, remove the plastic wrap and season the green beans to taste with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and serve.

For the sweet potatoes:

HINT: These can be done a couple hours ahead of time and re-heated on the grill to save time!

1 yam per person
salt and pepper
cooking oil

Wash the yams thoroughly. Preheat grill to low with barbeque toppers in place. Slice yams into quarters or 1/2 inch slices. Coat lightly with cooking oil and place on grill. Cook until golden brown an all sides. Once brown, place in bowl and season with salt and pepper. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and steam for 10-15 minutes. Remove from wrap and serve.

For the pork chops:

4 bone-in pork chops
2 tbsp John Henry's Raspberry Chipotle sauce
2 tbsp Caribbean Jerk Rub
Graham's Texas Tea (as needed)

Combine all rubs and add tea slowly to make a thick paste. Rub the paste on the pork chops and marinate overnight.

Preheat grill to medium-high. Remove excess rub from porkchops and lightly coat with cooking oil.

Grill to desired doneness, and serve!

Third Course: Grilled Sweet Tea Peaches with Vanilla Ice Cream

4 or 5 peaches, halved and pitted
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup Graham's Texas Tea
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla

Heat the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.

Baste the entire peach halves with the sauce and place them cut side down on the grill over medium-low heat. Cook them for about three minutes each side and turn.

Spoon some of the sauce into each peach half and heat for another 4 to 5 minutes, until soft.

Serve atop your favorite vanilla ice cream!