On Saturday, August 1st, I was offered the opportunity to explore Austin with the Keeper Collection team. First on the agenda were visits to local farmers markets. I learned that Boggy Creek Farm opens at 8 am and you must arrive very near the opening time to get a good selection before it is all gone! Springdale Farm, another Keeper Favorite, is nearby and opens at 9 am.
A great Saturday in Austin
Contributing Author: Clothilde Lafarge, Keeper Collection Intern
These two markets are organic and very well regarded in Austin. Both supply local ingredients for chefs at top restaurants to use in dishes on their menu.
I tried the egg and bacon tacos, as well as the chicken fajitas tacos.
This breakfast was good and very TEXAN. It was really interesting to discover one of the specialties of Texas food.
Salt & Time had so many cuts and meats to choose from, so deciding what to get was not easy. This is a good problem to have, and I felt at home working with a local butcher on what to choose. I knew no matter what the Keeper Team chose, it would be good, and it would be fun to see the preparation of the dishes and the wines that would be paired with the food.
Once the shopping was done. I was excited to learn that I would visit a gin distillery. This was another first for me and I was curious to see the differences in making spirits versus making wine. We visited “Revolution Spirits” distillery, which is located west of Austin.
The idea of Revolution Spirits was born in 2007 by Mark Shilling. In 2011, the formal paperwork was filed to start the company. In 2013, they had their location and real testing began.
Their first bottling was on February 22nd , 2014. The timing is very funny, because the first President of the United States, George Washington, known as a revolutionist was born on the 22nd of February and after his presidency he was a distiller. This is a fun fact, because the company is called Revolution Spirits.
During our visit, we learned much about the process of making gin.
Revolution Spirits currently produces two different gins and a coffee liqueur.
The process, of making the first two gins, begins by using a neutral base of Missouri corn, which is about 96% distilled alcohol, purchased from another company. This liquid is put in a steel tank and filtered through charcoal. This charcoal-filtering step lasts between 4 and 6 hours.
After the charcoal filtration, they add six aromatic ingredients, which include juniper and five carefully selected, additional botanicals: rosemary, lavender, lemongrass, pink peppercorn, and dried grapefruit rind. This mix infuses for about one day.
I learned that Juniper is compulsory for the manufacturing of gin. The five others ingredients were chosen after over 9 months of experimentation. Mark Shilling told us that during the experimentation phase they gave some samples to different sommeliers and people in the wine industry, in order to get their input because these people are known to have a good tasting palate.
At this point, the liquid is 40% alcohol.
It is put back in smaller tanks for redistillation in order to concentrate the alcohol and the aromas. The gin contains 80 % alcohol after the distillation. Then, they add some water to obtain a gin with 50 % alcohol.
This method of manufacturing produces the “Austin Reserve Gin”
They also produce a second “Austin Reserve Gin”, which is produced in the same way but is aged in a French oak barrel. The barrel was produced by the Tonnellerie Sirugue, which is located in Nuits Saint Georges, in Burgundy, France. It can hold 228 Litres (60.23 gal). This made me feel at home to have a something made using a Burgundy barrel.
These barrels were part of an exchange with another local wine artisan, William Chris Vineyards, who had previously used the barrel for aging port. This “Austin Reserve Gin” is aged 7 months in these oak barrels. During these 7 months, the Revolution team tastes often to insure that it does not absorb too much of the wood. This is important to not have too much wood influence, as it would mask the taste of botanicals.
Revolution also produces a “Coffee Liqueur”. For this liqueur, the same base is used, 100% neutral alcohol from Missouri corn. The coffee beans are a specially selected roast called Mezzanotte, from a local Austin coffee artisan, Cuvée Coffee. Revolution purchases the coffee beans one week after they are roasted. Then, they do a double cold coffee brewing. To this, they add syrup made with Demerara sugar. Then, Madagascar vanilla beans are added, and steep in the mixture for about 24 hours. The vanilla beans are removed with a cheesecloth bag before bottling.
During our visit, we were able to taste each of the three products. Each had their own lovely, enjoyable characteristics. We also were offered a Revolution Gin cocktail, made with pineapple and ginger and the classic “Austin Reserve Gin”, which was very refreshing on a warm summer day
To conclude, it is very interesting to have so many things to explore about food and drinks in Austin.