If you’re heading out for cocktails with friends or colleagues, learn about these liquors popular in Waller-Austin. You can order craft cocktails or keep it neat and enjoy the benefits of buying local.
TexAgave® Blue Agave Spirits
Leanderthal Spirits is one of the most famous Austin distilleries. Leanderthal produces not only TexAgave Blue Agave but also the JAVAgave that makes number two on this list. This distillery pays homage to Mexico by refusing to call its signature liquor tequila since the name is region-locked. However, their TexAgave liquor is the Texas stand-in and can be enjoyed on its own or in your favorite tequila-based cocktails. People in Waller-Austin Texas enjoy a Sunrise heavy with TexAgave.
JAVAgave™ Artisan Coffee Liqueur
While JAVAgave isn’t technically a liquor, it is a delicious liqueur. What’s the difference? Both beverages are high in proof, but liquors are distilled clean, so there are no sugars to sweeten them. Liqueurs, on the other hand, can have a range of sweeteners added, from natural sweet essence to syrupy sweet. JAVAgave is an 80 proof coffee liqueur that isn’t sticky-sweet but does make for an excellent add-in for other cocktails or even your actual coffee; no one is judging. They use real fresh roasted coffee and vanilla with blue agave nectar to make this artisan liqueur.
Tito’s is famous all over the nation, and it is made in Austin at the oldest legal distillery in Texas, so it has some hometown history. Starting in 1995, Tito’s corn-based vodka was made in old-fashioned pot stills and still is today. Since Tito’s is corn-based and doesn’t add mash back into the vodka after distillation, it is an excellent gluten-free (and kosher) vodka choice for drinkers who may be concerned about dietary restrictions. Residents in Austin enjoy Tito’s on the rocks since it’s so smooth or opt for some soda and lime to add to their spirit.
Banner Wheat Whiskey
Ready to feel special? Banner Wheat Whiskey is only available in Texas and is mostly only available in and around Austin-Waller Texas. These super small batches of wheat whiskey are only made five gallons at a time. The next best thing about Banner is their claim to fame: using 100% Texas rainwater and grains for the distillation process. Since they’re aged in American oak barrels, and it’s such a small release, people prefer to enjoy the Banner Wheat with little filler. Neat or on the rocks for this craft beverage made with lots of labor and love.
Derelict Emerald Absinthe
Violet Crown Spirits have done a fantastic job bringing back old-timey spirits for everyone to enjoy. Absinthe, cordials, and liqueurs are available from this distiller. Their absinthe has more body than most but still wrinkles the eyes if you don’t craft your cocktail just right. Herbaceous notes of pepper, anise, fennel, and the absinthe classic wormwood make this perfect for a sultry cocktail to please a crowd. Derelict offers cocktail recipes on their site for you to impress friends.
Still Austin The Naturalist American Gin
Classic juniper combines with cinnamon, citrus, tarragon, allspice, and elderflower to create a smooth gin that Austin folks buy again and again. The bottle is cute and will make an excellent addition to any bar cart that already is accented by botanicals; you know who you are. Thanks to the long-lasting vanilla notes and the juicy, citrusy finish, folks in Austin enjoy this liquor in a French 75 for added flavor and complexity to a classic drink.
Goodnight Loving Vodka
Two friends made this clean-tasting vodka a treat for all of Texas. Their cocktail bar in Austin has made many a fan of their liquor. Different from the other many vodkas, Goodnight Loving is made with Texas artesian spring water. The spring water adds a crisper, less heated feel to the vodka as it complements cocktails or just a few cubes of ice.
Crowded Barrel Whiskey Co Boosh Rye
Crowded Barrel is doing exciting things. It claims to be the world’s first crowdsourced distillery. Much of their work is done with other distilleries and then brought back to the Austin area. The Boosh Rye is an example of one of these collabs. Designated by batches, the first run came from Poland via Floridian import to Austin. If you’re a whiskey enthusiast who loves to try out new things, Austin folks will recommend Crowded Barrel as your first resource.
Desert Door Sotol
Much like the TexAgave from Leanderthal, Sotol can sometimes stand in place for tequila. However, sotol is not an agave plant nor a family member of the species. Think of sotol, also known as the desert spoon, as akin to an evergreen; this plant is more like pine than agave. It does have some similarities in taste to agave, thanks to notes of vanilla and bright wheatgrass. Sotol stands on its own with more herbaceous flavors than you would expect from pine and then a smoother finish than the warm pull of tequila. You can try sotol as a substitute for tequila if you have to, but since it is such a unique drink, you may want to give it a shot on its own or on the rocks.
Hye Rum Dark
This rum is smooth and non-pretentious but so fancy and voluptuous that you can’t help but put it in cocktails. You can enjoy it on the rocks or with some cola for an afternoon refresher. Splash it into your favorite cocktail, or make the El Presidente even more presidential with this dark rum. You and every other Texan will enjoy this white rum that has been aged with molasses. The aging process gives it the warm mahogany color and the hints of rich mocha. For a seasonal variation, the Hye Rum Spiced is another beloved favorite.
Find your favorite Texas liquors and more at Zipps Liquor. Don’t forget to write down all the ingredients for your cocktails on your shopping list and grab a bag of ice while you’re out so that you have everything you need on hand.