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Try the only agave spirit made in Fort Worth at La Pulga. Courtesy La Pulga Spirits

Tequila connoisseurs will tell you that tequila is only tequila if made in the city of Tequila in the central-western Mexican state of Jalisco. Except for distillers who import tequila and finish it in special barrels, anything else distilled from an agave plant in America is an “agave spirit.” At the Weekly, we like to #KeepItLocal as often as possible, so I’ve compiled a list of agave spirits for your consideration this National Tequila Day (Monday), two of which are from North Texas.

 

1.) Named for the open-air market on the North Side, La Pulga Spirits (5300 Pershing Av, Fort Worth, 817-330-4267) was founded by market owner Andrew De La Torre, Sarah Castillo (Taco Heads, Tinies), and real estate developer Stephen Slaughter, all Fort Worth natives. These spirits are hand-crafted with no additives, coloring, or concentrates, “just the heart of blue agave and the soul of the land,” and made using traditional methods. To find where La Pulga Blanco and La Pulga Resposado are sold, visit LaPulga.com and click “Find La Pulga.” It’s worth noting that this is the only agave spirit made in Fort Worth.

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2.) Originally known as Witherspoon Distillery, BENDT Distilling Co. (225 S Charles St, Lewisville, 214-814-0545) has been creating whiskey and bottled cocktails since 2012. BENDT experiments with other spirits, including agave, brandy, gin, rum, and more, through its Old Town Spirits line, available only at the distillery. BENDT makes its Texas Agave Spirit on a special, seasonal basis, using pure Mexican agave syrup, and describes it as “earthy and vegetal.” The distillery recommends sipping it neat with a splash of lime or used in your favorite margarita. Check out the facilities 6pm-10pm Sat at BENDT’s 11th-anniversary party. There is no cost to attend, but you will need reservations via BENDTDistillingCo.com.

 

3.) In a border town along the Rio Grande River in South Texas, Ancestral Crafts Spirits (702 Portscheller St, Roma, 956-844-3048) is making three distinct agave spirits from secret recipes that have been in the family since 1742. The number in the names indicates the years the spirit was aged. Blasfemus 7 offers a woody sweetness derived from smoky agave with hints of cinnamon and blackberry. Blasfemus 11 has coconut and vanilla notes, and Blasfemus 17 has an exotic spice flavor, floral notes, and bittersweet agave finish. The products are not available for purchase at retailers yet, so keep an eye on Instagram.com/BlasfemusTexas for updates on tasting events.

 

4.) In the Hill Country town of Fredericksburg, Iron Goat Distillery (830-307-4357, @IronGoatDistillery) is making a variety of specialty rums and spirits, including the Iron Goat Agave Spirit. Tastings are by appointment, but you can also buy bottles at Total Wine & More in Austin and San Antonio.

 

5.) Named for the Coastal Bend legend of the Lechuza Witch, who haunts the night and lures men with her evil charms in South Texas, La Lechuza Agave Spirit is twice distilled from 100% blue agave. It is slightly sweet with notes of citrus lime and a hint of salt. La Lechuza purchases the agave nectar in the Rio Grande Valley, then distills and bottles it at Coastal Bend Distilling (201 N Madison Av, Beeville, 361-492-5846), just north of Corpus Christi. There are two batches to choose from, each made with a different type of yeast during fermentation. Batch No 1. is smooth, and 750ml bottles are $70. Batch No 2 is more like tequila, and bottles are $55. For now, bottles can be purchased only on-site in the Coastal Bend Tasting Room. For updates on future retail availability, visit CoastalBendDistillingCo.com.

 

6.) Founded in 2006 by Kelly and Matthew Railean, Railean Distillery (341 5th St, San Leon, 713-545-2742) was Texas’ first legal rum distillery. Located in an area south of Houston which calls itself “a small drinking community with a large fishing problem,” Railean offers locals and tourists hand-crafted spirits and cocktails to enjoy at home or in the distillery’s Caribbean-vibe atmosphere. (Think: pirates.) Along with the rum, vodka, and whiskey already in production, agave spirits were added in 2009, making Railean the first Texas distillery to do so. Options include the basic Railean Blue Agave Silver and two premium spirits that have been aged longer, including the Railean Blue Agave Reposado (aged 10 months) and the Railean Blue Agave Anejo (aged three years). For more info, visit Railean.com.

 

7.) The folks at Maverick Distillery (115 Broadway, San Antonio, 210-447-7010) are bottling Samuel Maverick Agave Blanco, which is distilled from 100% blue agave nectar. The distillery says this spirit has “a nose of dry white wine, apple blossom, and white pepper, with a palate reminiscent of green fruit and honeysuckle.” The 750ml bottles are priced at $40 and can be shipped from MaverickWhiskey.com/Spirits. It’s also available at area Spec’s locations and Crockett Street Bottle Shop (2805 Crockett St, Fort Worth, 817-585-1555).

 

8.) Right outside of Austin, Leanderthal Distilling (11894 Hero Way West, Leandor, 512-697-9127) is producing its TexAgave Blue Agave Spirit, which can be purchased at two Spec’s locations in Austin or at the distillery. Hand-crafted and the perfect complement to any margarita flavor as it’s not overpowering, the spirit, Spec’s says, also has “tropical notes of coconut and vanilla riding on a foundation of roasted agave, the pleasantly mild aroma and flavor [giving] way to a firm but smooth finish.” North Texans make a lot of trips back and forth to Austin, so a distillery tour may be in order next time. Check out their upcoming events at Facebook.com/LeanderthalDistilling.

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