While wandering the pathways of the recent Southwest Food Show presented by the Texas Restaurant Association this week, I ran across an interesting gentleman representing Roxor Artisan Gin produced by the same folks at Dripping Springs Vodka, the Texas made vodka creating much buzz through out the country.
The story of Roxor, a clever palindrome that means ‘rocks’, is interesting and starts with Don Short, former Coca-Cola executive, and Robert Del Grande, the James Beard award winning chef who is also part of the Gang of Five that includes Stephan Pyles and Dean Fearing who started the Southwest cuisine movement.
Seems Short and Del Grande were pushing ideas about over drinks and came up with the concept that was written on a cocktail napkin.
“We were looking at making an interesting vodka made with Lapsang Souchong, the smoky black tea. Then we figured that there are so many good vodkas being produced and why not come up with a gin,” said Don Short at the Dallas Convention Center Monday afternoon.
“Robert has worked with herbs and botanicals in his cooking, and I worked with botanicals in Chinese medicine. I worked for Coke for 30 years around the world and had seen many of these herbs,” Short continued.
So the two played with a variety of these botanicals and made a modern interpretation that would be a little softer on the juniper, but anchored the spirit with Texas grapefruit and limes. And instead of using dried botanicals they used fresh, giving the sprit a clean driving flavor.
Coriander keeps all the ingredients balanced, plus they added Texas pecans, hibiscus, cocoa nibs, and a touch of cinnamon. Del Grande also wanted to add sarsaparilla which gives a tiny root beer finish, but very well balanced.
While Del Grande was putting his finishing touches to the recipe, Short took off to Mexico in search of a bottle. He had designed a beautiful, tall sheave of glass that resembles a building and commissioned the same makers of the Patron bottle to create the Roxor bottle. The final result is a smooth, crisp 90 proof vodka made in Texas poured from this sexy vasso.
The bottle and its contents both stand out as great of all of Texas.