The Double Life of Dos Almas Tequila

Double Life

The Double Life of Dos Almas Tequila De Soto is not only the Maestro Tequilero of overproof tequila Dos Almas blanco and its stablemate, Dos Almas Cinnamon Liqueur, but he is also the founder of a sportswear company.

Following a severe surfing accident, Emilio was inspired by water polo competitors and swimmers while enduring his own grueling physical therapy.  Eventually, De Soto became a competitive triathlete.

De Soto Sport Triathalon Company grew out of a need for versatile clothing for triathletes.  And Dos Almas sprang out of a need for a tasty beverage among these extreme super competitors after races.

Farmer and The Seahorse

An avid outdoorsman, Emilio and his family frequently take camping trips.  Aware that we were on our Wild Wild West Tour in our own “mobile command center” (camper), De Soto chose to meet with us at a scenic bar and restaurant called Farmer and the Seahorse.

The Double Life of Dos Almas Tequila

A multi-cuisine restaurant owned by celebrity chef, Brian Malarkey, this new farm to table eatery is nestled in the lovely Torrey Pines neighborhood of La Jolla, California.

The Double Life of Dos Almas Tequila

We were joined by certified Catador (tequila taster) and Director of Food and Beverage for Farmer and the Seahorse, Green Acre Campus Pointe and Green Acre Nautilus, Chris Simmons.

The Double Life of Dos Almas Tequila

Inside a converted vintage Airstream trailer/meeting room, we taped an in-depth discussion of all things Dos Almas.

[Tweet “Emilio De Soto tells the story of @dosalmastequila in his own words.”]

In His Own Words

[*FTC Disclosure: Brands appearing on the Tequila Aficionado Wild Wild West 2017 Tour were vetted as Brand of Promise(c) Nominees and paid a nominal fee to be included.]

In this segment, we cover Emilio’s background, what drove him to concoct his earlier versions of Dos Almas, its high proof flavor profile, and even the types of ideal glassware used for tequila events at the restaurant.

A Matter of Endurance

Of Cuban decent, Emilio De Soto is a man of many passions.

He admitted that as a young man bussing tables at a restaurant, he was exposed to fine sipping tequilas long before it became fashionable.  That passion has stayed with him all his life.

The Double Life of Dos Almas Tequila

Despite some surprises on the retail side of the spirits industry, Emilio is a staunch believer in the long game.  He knows full well that endurance and persistence pay off.

The Convergence of Two Worlds

In this portion of our interview, De Soto discusses where he sees himself and Dos Almas in five years; the intricate process that goes into Dos Almas Cinnamon Liqueur, and the explanation behind the name and artwork of Dos Almas.

As an added bonus, De Soto manages to creatively combine parts of his sportswear business with Dos Almas by designing a handy carrying sling made from limestone instead of the traditional neoprene.

A Close-Knit Agave Community

Echoing similar sentiments about the importance of disseminating education to an agave information-starved audience, Chris Simmons has recently branched out on his own.

The Double Life of Dos Almas Tequila

Sipping Life offers the world of Tequila, Mezcal and other Mexican spirits through an exciting array of enrichment opportunities that include tastings, tours, education and consulting.

Tequila’s Ironman

The Double Life of Dos Almas Tequila

With humbleness and graciousness, along with guidance and encouragement from Simmons and others in the close-knit agave community, Emilio De Soto and Dos Almas is destined to be Tequila’s Ironman in the often challenging spirits race to the top shelf.

[Tweet “@DosAlmasTequila is destined to be Tequila’s Ironman in the race to the top shelf.”]


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Tequila Pairing Challenge with Tequila Don Fulano

…At The Patio in San Diego

By Ryan Kelley

 patioTequila pairing dinners are always an adventure. Like fine wine, tequila has a way of inspiring and challenging chefs to marry just the right food to match the myriad and often complex flavors inherent in well-made, artisanal tequila. So when my friend Tequilier Mario Marquez invited me to join him and renowned chef Andrew Spurgin to judge a tequila pairing competition between both locations of The Patio in San Diego, I was all in.don_fulano_bottles2

Chefs at each of the restaurant’s two locations were given the challenge to prepare a five-course dinner with the five different expressions of Don Fulano tequila.

[Tweet ” Like fine wine, tequila has a way of inspiring chefs to marry just the right food to match the flavors in well-made tequila.”]

Day 1: The Patio on Lamont



In a large yet cozy room at The Patio’s Pacific Beach location on Lamont Street, General Manager Chris Simmons welcomed tasters and the judging panel and then introduced Chef de Cuisine Andre Fuentes.

As the first course was delivered, Don Fulano Brand Ambassador Sergio Mendoza told guests about Don Fulano—distilled at La Tequileña in the Tequila valley in small batches from 100% estate-grown agave from the highlands of Jalisco.

Day1_Course1Most notable about Chef Fuentes’ menu was that it strayed from the typical Mexican flavors normally paired with tequila.

The first course was a fried green tomato with herb-whipped goat cheese, watermelon and cucumber salad and watercress paired with Don Fulano Suave. The fried green tomato had a tendency to overwhelm the delicate and complex flavors of a blanco, but the watermelon and cucumber brought out the herbal and earthier flavors.

[Tweet “Don Fulano—distilled at La Tequileña in small batches from 100% estate-grown highland agave.”]


Day1_Course2It was a solid start, but then the evening took an unexpected twist.

At most tequila pairing dinners, courses will be paired with a vertical flight of tequila. That is, the first course is paired with blanco, the second with reposado, third with añejo, etc. Instead, Chef Fuentes served his second course, a chilled honeydew soup with pistachio gremolata, snow crab and lemon vinaigrette with Don Fulano añejo, which is a floral yet sweet and intense tequila aged for three years in French oak.

Pairing the sweet soup brought out the sweetness of the añejo—fine for a dessert course but a little odd this early in the evening. Interestingly, when I went back to sipping the blanco with this course, I found it to be a much better marriage.

Day1_Course3The highlight of the evening was the third course: fried soft shell crab cooked to perfection with a grilled corn puree, smoked pork belly and cantaloupe relish paired with Don Fulano resposado.

The hearty dish stood up to the well-balanced reposado, which offers a fruity, delicately herbal flavor up front and ends with richer flavors of caramel and maple. The freshness and fruitiness of the relish and corn puree brought out the sweet agave and herbal flavors, while the heartier fried crab opened the palate to the richness from the barrel.

Day1_Course4This was a true winner, and was the highest-scored plate by all three judges.

The fourth course, agave-glazed smoked duck breast paired with Don Fulano 5-year Imperial was unfortunately overpowered by the complex flavors of the extra añejo, but the evening ended on a high note with a watermelon-basil sorbet that brought out the fresh flavor of the sweet, intense Don Fulano Fuerte, a 100-proof blanco.


Day 2: The Patio on Goldfinch

Day2_Course1The second evening featured Executive Chef John Medall’s five course menu at The Patio on Goldfinch in the Mission Hills area of San Diego. Medall’s menu offered more traditional Mexican flavors, but was still creative and full of unexpected accents.

The first surprise came with the first course, a simple yet elegant watermelon and jicama salad dressed with agave honey, cilantro, cotija and pine nuts. Fellow judge, Chef Andrew Spurgin, hit it right on the mark when he described the dish as “honest.”

[Tweet “Watermelon & jicama salad dressed with agave honey, cilantro, cotija & pine nuts – Honest.”]

The fresh, flavorful salad complimented notes of grapefruit in the blanco and opened up the herbal aspect of the tequila without an overpowering sweetness.

Day2_Course2This was the first highlight of the evening. It even gave me chills!

The second course, a cantaloupe and mango gazpacho, was tasty but its richness and sweetness overpowered Don Fulano reposado.

The second highlight of the evening, and my favorite dish and pairing across both nights was tequila-braised pork carnitas wrapped in a house made tortilla and topped with salsa verde, served with Mexican rice and spicy pinto beans and paired with Don Fulano añejo.

Day2_Course3It was a robust dish worthy of the bold flavors in the añejo. The flavors of the dish heightened the agave-heavy entry of the añejo and accentuated the wonderful wood notes in the tequila’s finish.

Also notable was that the dish showcased Medall’s philosophy of using even “unusable portions” of his ingredients: watermelon rind leftover from the first course was smashed into the tortilla dough to give it a beautiful color and a mild, sweet flavor that added to the complexity of the dish and tequila pairing.

Day2_Course4The third course proved hard to follow, and the fourth course, a Puerto Nuevo-style lobster, came out a bit overcooked—likely due to difficulty choreographing and timing such an ambitious plate for so many guests. It’s pairing with Don Fulano Imperial was rather “ho-hum,” but I found that pairing the Imperial with the course’s side of roasted corn was a surprisingly good marriage of food and tequila, and this helped salvage the course and bump up the score a bit.

The pairing challenge came to a close with a tasty melon granita made from watermelon, cantaloupe and casaba complemented by the 100-proof aromatic and intense Don Fulano Fuerte. It was a solid way to end the night and the 2-day challenge.

And The Winner Is…

When the scores were tallied, the judging panel selected Chef Medall’s menu from The Patio on Goldfinch as the winner.




The Patio on Goldfinch plans to hold another five-course tequila pairing dinner on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 5:30p.m. with Tequila Montalvo. For reservations and details, click here or contact the restaurant, located on 4020 Goldfinch St, San Diego, CA 92103, at (619) 501-5090.

[Tweet “Make Reservations Now! 5-Course @MontalvoTequila dinner at The Patio on Goldfinch Aug 26 @ 5:30p.m.”]


Writer Ryan Kelley and friends enjoying all five of Don Fulano Tequila’s offerings.


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Learn all about tequila from field to glass and then get paid to share your love of agave spirits with others! Buy Them Both Now!