San Luis Spirits invites visitors to their Dripping Springs stills
San Luis Spirits makes its Dripping Springs vodka and gin in 50-gallon copper pot stills that look like rocket ships. The small-batch distillery began hosting small-bunch tours this September.
Limited to six attendees, the tours walk the curious through the distilling process beginning with 15 stills lined up like space-alien tin soldiers. Each one is handmade just for San Luis Spirits. "Because of that, each still is a little different," says Kevin Kelleher, co-owner of the distillery with his brother, Gary.
The flavor of the vodka is controlled by the temperature and drip rate of the stills, the filtration, and the water. The crew handcrafts about 450 cases a day using Hill Country water with a balance of calcium and potassium. Kevin says they use a Swedish activated charcoal that pairs best with the water used.
The distillery began operation in 2005 with Gary's recipe and still design, and is now distributed around Texas and in 12 other states. This summer the distillery added gin to its product line which includes Dripping Springs Vodka, 1876 Vodka, and an orange-infused vodka. "According to the British, it's the juniper berries that make gin from vodka," Kevin says. He uses nine "botanicals" to give his Dripping Springs Gin a smooth, rounded finish.
San Luis Distillery in Dripping Springs opens for tours and tastings three days a week by reservation only. Tickets can be purchased on their website, www.drippingspringsvodka.com.
1,205th in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.