Thanks to a new Texas law that now allows distilleries to sell on-site, Dorcol Distilling Company – which makes an incredible Serbian apricot brandy – transforms into a cocktail lounge on the weekends. Using only their signature spirit, they create the most amazing craft cocktails!
Owners Boyan Kalusevic and Chris Mobley opened their doors at the end of 2013, and they've been gaining momentum ever since. Dorcol was the first urban distillery to open after the law, enabling them to sell liquor on the premises.
Located in the burgeoning arts district on Flores Street south of downtown in San Antonio in what used to be a restaurant equipment dump site, Dorcol is now a social hub with as much promise as character and originality.
Dorcol demo — Photo courtesy of Kimberly Suta
Currently, Dorcol only makes one spirit called Kinsman, which is a premium handcrafted Rakia made on-site in small batches. Rakia is a traditional Serbian drink and is, in fact, the national drink of Serbia, globally identified with the Serbian culture.
"Most families [in Serbia] just make their own booze. They would here, too, if it hadn't been for Prohibition," explains Kalusevic.
The recipe for Kinsman actually comes from Kalusevic's own family. His grandfather was a winemaker and distiller, and it's clear that the talent for making spirits runs in the family.
"I grew up around Grandpa in the vineyards. He drank wine from dusk till dawn and would add ice to his wine in the summer," says Kalusevic fondly.
The cocktail bar, or tasting room, is only open Thursday through Saturday. But it's certainly worth a jaunt to the Southside, particularly if it's the second Saturday of the month, which is when the arts walk in the neighborhood takes place. Dorcol usually hosts an art opening, as well, featuring one of San Antonio's local talents.
Dorcol Distilling Company's cocktail bar — Photo courtesy of Kimberly Suta
Kinsman can be purchased by bottle at liquor stores throughout the city, and thankfully at the distillery as well. However, their specialty cocktails can only be found at Dorcol.
Although this brandy is extremely versatile and can be mixed with just about anything, the menu at Dorcol focuses on the classics. The team spent a lot of time coming up with just the right fusion of flavors to showcase their quality Serbian moonshine.
A bartender comments, "Kinsman can be the only liquor you keep in your cabinet. Anything you make with vodka or bourbon, you can make with Kinsman."
Dorcol showcases the usual suspects such as an Old Fashioned, Moscow Mule, French 75 and Mint Julep, as well as more original drinks. Take, for example, the BGD Waffle made with egg, orange, maple syrup, apricot jam, brown sugar and Rakia or the Strawberry Port Cake made with Rakia, port, sugar, lemon, rhubarb bitters, strawberry, black pepper and balsamic shrub. Simply divine!
When these gentlemen aren't distilling or whipping up cocktails, they also offer workshops on what they do – from the distilling process, which is actually quite fascinating, to how to make these same specialty drinks at home.
Generous and passionate about their craft, Dorcol is happy to share their recipes and knowledge, although they may keep their Rakia recipe a family secret!