San Diego was abuzz with this ancient elixir from Chihuahua, Mexico which captured Gold Medals at the world famous Spirits of Mexico Tasting Competition for both its blanco and reposado sotol varietals.
Named by famed spirits writer, Robert Plotkin of BarMedia as a “Standout Performer,” Don Cuco Sotol wowed the more than one thousand visitors to the all day Spirits of Mexico festival in Old Town San Diego.
A mystery to most spirits enthusiasts, sotol has its own denomination of origin, and can only be produced in the northern states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Durango, Mexico. It also has its own official Mexican Normas (NOM 159-SCFI-2004), and its own Mexican Regulatory Council of Sotol.
Don Cuco Sotol was the first to export and import sotol. The plant sotol, or dasylirion Wheeleri, is found abundantly in northern Mexico and also
in the southwest United States. The Mexican state government is beginning to fund farmers to grow sotol commercially because of its little need for water.
Sotol, like whiskey and bourbon, was bootlegged throughout much of the early 20th century. Prior to that, sotol was a popular drink in the early 1900s and has a long history. The oldest distillery can be found in the state of Texas. In Chihuahua, Mexico, 400,000 liters were sold yearly before Prohibition. During Prohibition, sotol became too expensive to produce and faded into a forgotten drink.
Now distilled by both 4th and 6th generation master sotol makers known as sotoleros, Don Cuco Sotol is awakening from its long sleep.
After sampling Don Cuco Sotol, noted Master Tequilier/Catador, Mario Alejandro Marquez, said of this sleeping giant, ” Sotol is a genre that is growing and evolving in a manner that will revolutionize the Mexican spirits industry.”