7 Sotol Brands That Kick Like A Mule


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With much interest in other Mexican spirits that aren’t tequila, the best sotol brands will take you to the traditional heart of Mexico. Sotol is showing up in more and more cocktails, but it’s even better to sip neat, the traditional way of enjoying it.

What Is Sotol?

Sotol is a spirit distilled from the sotol plant, a distant agave relative that tequila is made from, and resembles yucca, with long, thin, spiny leaves. Several different species of sotol grow across Mexico, particularly Dasylirion wheeleri and Dasylirion texanum plant varieties.

What Does Sotol Taste Like?

In general, sotol has a herbaceous, grassy flavour, a slight saltiness, smokiness, and smooth creaminess. The precise taste of each sotol depends on the land the plant is grown. 

Sotols from forested areas have a resinous and piney taste with influences from the oak and pine wood used during the roasting process. In contrast, sotols from desert areas have more spicy, earthy, and leathery flavours and influences from the mesquite wood used for roasting.

Best Sotol Brands

I’ve selected 7 of the best sotol brands that give you an insightful introduction to this exciting Mexican spirit packed with history.

1. Hacienda de Chihuahua Reposado Sotol

Hacienda de Chihuahua Reposado Sotol
Credit: Hacienda de Chihuahua

Overview

  • Distiller: Hacienda de Chihuahua
  • ABV: 38% (76 Proof)
  • Country: Mexico
  • Colour: Light golden

Review

Hacienda Tabalaopa, in Chihuahua, has produced sotol since the nineteenth century. Today master sotolero José Daumas makes a reposado sotol that has been aged for five months in French oak casks, much like aged rums.

Hacienda de Chihuahua Reposado Sotol is presented in a 700 cl bottle resembling a round flask with a wooden stopper. The faintly pinkish colour of the reposado sotol sets off a circular cream-coloured label that reads “Hacienda de Chihuahua.”

Taste Notes

The creamy taste begins with notes of fruit and lemongrass. It broadens into a herbal mid-palate with overtones of citrus and pepper. The aftertaste is luxurious, with lingering vanilla and oak.

Best Served

Hacienda de Chihuahua Reposado Sotol is best enjoyed neat, with no ice, served below room temperature but not fridge chilled. Enjoy the flavours!

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

2. Sotomayor Excepcional Blanco Sotol Artesanal

Sotomayor Excepcional Blanco Sotol Artesanal
Credit: Sotomayor

Overview

  • Distiller: Sotomayor
  • ABV: 48% (96 Proof)
  • Country: Mexico
  • Colour: Clear

Review

Master sotolero Gerardo Ruelas lovingly creates Sotomayor Excepcional Blanco from a blend of three species of sotol, namely Dasylirion leiophyllumDasylirion texanum, and Dasylirion cedrosanum.

Sotomayor Excepcional Blanco is presented in a traditional ceramic-style flask, squat and white and squared-off. Bands of red and green patterns wrap around it, above and below the sunburst Sotomayor logo.

Taste Notes 

Nutmeg and peppercorn hit the tongue first. Then, the mid-palate opens up with grass and hints of herbs and mint, with a subtle aftertaste of brown sugar.

Best Served

Sotomayor Excepcional Blanco is another sipper. Serve neat over ice to best enjoy the initial spicy kick and brown sugar finish.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

3. Onó Sotol

Onó Sotol
Credit: Onó

Overview

  • Distiller: Onó
  • ABV: 45% (90 Proof)
  • Country: Mexico
  • Colour: Clear

Review

Onó Sotol is named in honour of the shaman figure among the Raramuri (Tarahumara) people. The use of willow and oak firewood contributes to the flavour of this blanco sotol, produced entirely from Dasylirion cedrosanum.

Onó Sotol is presented in a tall, slender bottle with a white label that prominently displays a shaman’s portrait wearing a buffalo headdress and “Onó.”

Taste Notes

A fresh and green flavour with lime zesty and a flinty mineral note, leading into pine needles, green apple, and citrus, with an aftertaste of spice.

Best Served

A fabulous addition to any cocktail, Onó Sotol is a vibrant and refreshing addition to a heavenly martini or sotol infused mojito. It is very versatile so can of course also be enjoyed neat, with its zesty citrus and flinty mineral notes.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

4. Balam Sierra Sotol

Balam Sierra Sotol
Credit: Balam

Overview

  • Distiller: Balam
  • ABV: 42% (84 Proof)
  • Country: Mexico
  • Colour: Clear

Review

Since 2016, Xavier Villagran of Balam, an established purveyor of mezcal, has been producing raicilla, churique, and a range of sotols that emphasize the terroir of different environments.

This is a blanco sotol that comes from the high sierra of Chihuahua. According to traditional methods, it is made from one hundred percent Dasilyirion wheeleri, roasted in wood-fueled ovens.

Balam Sierra Sotol is presented in a vodka-style bottle, entirely jet black, with a dizzying, mesmerizing indigenous patterned red, white, and black label.

Taste Notes

This sotol offers earthy, vegetal flavours leading into fresh-cut grass and lavender notes. A hint of smokiness and clean minerality and an earthy aftertaste.

Best Served

Balam Sierra Sotol is a tasty sipping sotol best served neat (just below room temperature) with a couple of ice rocks.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

5. Origen Raiz del Espiritu Mezcal Sotol Dasyliron

5. Sotol Dasyliron
Credit: Origen Raiz del Espiritu

Overview

  • Distiller: Origen Raiz
  • ABV: 50% (100 Proof)
  • Country: Mexico
  • Colour: Golden

Review

Origen Raiz is an artisanal distiller of mezcal, whose mezcaleros have roots in Oaxaca and Durango. They have branched out into creating artisanal sotol at Vinata El Ojo in the mountains of Durango.

This lip-smacking joven sotol is made with one hundred percent wild Dasylirion cedrosanum. Sharper than the others, this sotol kicks like a mule.

Origen Raiz del Espiritu Mezcal Sotol Dasylirion is presented in a wine-style bottle with a white label bearing the distiller’s name, “Sotol”, of the Durango origin, and a tattooed black-and-white dog.

Taste Notes

Sharp on the nose like a felt marker mixed with fruit. This sweet and faintly smoky sotol offers notes of grass and wildflowers with a hint of vanilla, with an aftertaste of chalky minerality and lingering citrus.

Best Served

Origen Raiz del Espiritu Mezcal Sotol Dasylirion is best served as a long drink with fresh pineapple juice and ice. Its smokiness and mineral taste add lots of Mexican flavours.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

6. Cosecha Imperial Sotol

Cosecha Imperial Sotol
Cosecha imperial

Overview

  • Distiller: Cosecha Imperial
  • ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
  • Country: Mexico
  • Colour: Clear

Review

For this sotol, Cosecha Imperial has enlisted the services of master sotolero Gerardo Ruelas, who has crafted this artisanal sotol with the aid of wild airborne yeasts. That one sotolero is involved with multiple brands has to do with the industry’s near-death mentioned previously.

This is artisanal sotol made from one hundred percent Dasylirion wheeleri. Cosecha Imperial Sotol is presented in a clear vodka-style bottle with a tasteful white label noting in red that it is Imperial Sotol Silver.

Taste Notes

A warm and smooth mouthfeel with fruity notes of tamarind and fresh mint and a hint of minerality. The aftertaste is lingering and herbal.

Best Served

Cosecha Imperial Sotol can be enjoyed neat over ice or as a base for margaritas with a Mexican twist.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

7. Flor Del Desierto Sierra Sotol

Flor Del Desierto Sierra Sotol
Credit: Flor Del Desierto

Overview

  • Distiller: Flor Del Desierto
  • ABV: 47% (94 Proof)
  • Country: Mexico
  • Colour: Clear

Review

A small group of friends started this company, including one named Flor! She won a baking competition using sotol as a special ingredient. Now, the company sources sotols from all over Chihuahua.

This is a joven sotol, made from eighteen to twenty-two-year-old Dasylirion wheeleri by Jose “Chito” Fernandez.

Flor Del Desierto Sierra Sotol is presented in a clear glass bottle, with a golden label depicting the sotol plant and a rattlesnake head and the Flor Del Desierto logo. Looks fantastic.

Taste Notes

Earthy and fiery, with notes of chilli, sweet smokiness, and hazelnut. The aftertaste is earthy, with lingering smokiness and oak.

Best Served

Flor Del Desierto Sierra Sotol needs to be enjoyed neat and really comes into its own if you nibble on some dark chocolate. You heard it here first!

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

Seperator

Andrew’s Top Pick

Onó Sotol

My top pick is Onó Sotol because it is a well-balanced sotol with zesty citrus and flinty mineral notes. Perfect for sipping neat and also works incredibly well as a solid cocktail base. I also love the overall traditional feel.

How Is Sotol Made? 

Mature sotol plants are harvested for the heart or piña by removing the leaves. It takes around fifteen years for the plant to mature, but unlike agave, sotol flowers every few years.

The piña is taken to the distillery to be roasted. It is roasted for several days in underground or above-ground ovens or steamed. The piñas are then crushed with the help of a donkey pulling a massive stone wheel, or sometimes by hand.

For several days, the crushed pulp is left to ferment with wild or cultured yeasts in open wooden vats. The resulting liquid, or vino, is double-distilled in pot or column stills. Each sotol plant makes approximately one litre of sotol. 

Conclusion

Now you’ve been introduced to the exciting world of sotol, with its long history and the spirit’s complex nuances, you are probably itching to try some. I suggest you start with the recommendations on this list, as these are some of the best sotol brands available.

Much like tequila, sotol has been around for centuries. However, until 1994, it wasn’t legal to make it in Mexico, and the tradition nearly died out. The Mexican government has introduced a designation of origin that limits what may be called genuine Mexican sotol to the three northern states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Durango. 

Further Reading

Below are some additional articles from The Drinks Geek blog. We write articles on several fascinating areas of drinks, including different brands, drink types, cocktail recipes and more.

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