Bar Cart Brief: Sotol or Until I Fly to Mexico
It’s been a winter of little sun, no snow, and the aroma of petrichor everywhere. “Petrichor” is from the Greek “petra” meaning stone, and “ichor" the ethereal fluid that runs through the veins of ancient gods. To the mere mortals among us, this simply means that smell in the air after the rain. It’s produced by geosmin--microorganisms, accumulations in rock and soil that mix with aerosolized raindrops to produce that unmistakable, earthy aroma. The term was coined by Australian scientists in 1964, the same year rock-and-roll icon Lenny Kravitz was born.
A true renaissance man, Kravitz is also an actor, photographer, designer, and now the force behind Nocheluna, an ultra-premium Sotol. Sotol is a Mexican spirit made from the Dasyliron (commonly known as desert spoon). This plant can be found in the Chihuahuan Desert and is also grown as far north as Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. The Dasyliron thrives in both desert and forest climates. Like wine, its terroir informs its flavor. Sotol from the forest is imbued with flavors of wild herbs and pine and mushroom, while those of the desert regions tend towards leather, cacao, spice, and earthiness.
Kravitz is the face of the brand Noceluna, produced by the 4th generation master sotolero Don “Lalo” Arrieta along with the Casa Lumbre team—Ricardo Pico and Iván Saldaña. It is made from plants grown in the fields of the Chihuahuan desert in Mexico. The official Mexican appellation for Sotol only applies to spirits made from Sotol plants that define the Mexican side of the desert--Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Durango. Nocheluna is described as having fresh minerality, light sweetness, a balance of herbal tones, and notes of dried stone fruits and cacao.
I want it on our bar cart as a means of transport to Mexico, a place I’ve never been. I will make a toast to “beautiful and beloved Mexico” and dream of the day I finally meet her.