Drink An Agave Ritual at TnT
“What’s with the snake?” It’s a question I’m often asked at TnT, and for good reason. One of my favorite spirits, and one that’s displayed prominently on the counter of our open-air beachside taco bar, is Coyame Sotol, which has a whole rattlesnake curled up inside along with several scorpions. They’re said to give special healing powers. Here at TnT, we view “Caroline the Rattlesnake” as a cure-all, and bestower of good energy.
Sotol has been called tequila’s “crazy little brother,” and is often confused with tequila or mezcal. In fact, it takes its name from “Tzotolin,” the Nahuatl word for “palm with long and thin leaves.” Because while tequila and mezcal are made from agave, sotol is derived from the Dasylirion plant (more commonly, and confusingly, also known as sotol). There are 16 different species of the spindly succulent, which when fermented and distilled, reflect their terroir in unique ways. Forest-grown sotols tend to have a pinier flavor, while ones grown in the desert give off earthy notes, says Sotol expert Ricardo Pico.
Sotol has a long history stretching back thousands of years to pre-Columbian times, and legend has it that Pancho Villa and his army drank it, and so did Al Capone’s men. But its past has been a dangerous one. During U.S. Prohibition, it was frequently smuggled up north as Mexican moonshine. Then the Mexican government embarked on a campaign to brand it as a drink of peasants, and criminalized its production. For decades, sotol was made in clandestine by farmers and ranchers until it was finally legalized in the 1980s.
Now sotol enjoys its own “denomination of origin,” which restricts its production to the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila and Durango. Some sotols are infused with fruits, nuts and spices, but here at TnT, we believe in sotol the old-fashioned—and more dangerously fun—way: with snake-infused venom and a real snake. If you haven’t tried a shot yet, come see me at the bar when you’re here.