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!