Skip to main content

WTF is Träkál? Only the Spirit of Patagonia (Literally)

TRAKAL spirit
Image used with permission by copyright holder
When a band of backpackers and fellow ex-pats met by chance in Buenos Aires, Argentina, they decided to go all-in on distilling a new spirit that embodies the rugged beauty of Patagonia. This mountainous region shared by Chile and Argentina would not only be the spiritual inspiration, but the garden for all ingredients used in the making of the booze eventually called Träkál.

“We use local apple and pear varieties to create our base alcohol and work with local communities to hand-pick seven native herbs and four native berries that are all integral to our authentic spirit,” says Träkál co-founder Ben Long.

During the process of finding the perfect balance of ingredients, master distiller Sebastian Gomez Camorino found a way to use Patagonia’s seasonal wild herbs year-round. To capture the flavor profile January through December, Camorino’s mother suggested they make essential oils from each herbal variety. The idea was a success, maintaining the consistency of Träkál’s unique taste and the distillery’s ability to scale production for market. Today, Träkál uses essential oils and vapor infuses fresh herbs on the third and final distillation.

But what exactly does it taste like?

TRAKAL Cocktail Grapefruit Berries
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The folks behind Träkál, which clocks in at 42-percent ABV (84 proof), will say that you just have to try it. But it’s recommended both on the rocks and in cocktails.

“The profile is approachable like a gin, but instead of a juniper bite, you get a bit of the sweetness of the apple and pear for a smoother finish,” says Long. “We like to say, it sips like a whiskey and mixes like a gin.”

If that concept is hard to wrap your head around, that’s because Träkál is a completely new spirit classification. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) had a similar conundrum, finally deciding to classify the Patagonian creation as a “spirit distilled from apple and pear with natural flavors.”

“Nobody has ever put these herbs and berries into a bottle before, so people can’t quite put their finger on it. They say, ‘OK, this is different,’ and recognized we are a whole new type of spirit,” says Long, adding that the struggle to classify Träkál was a bit of a roadblock in getting the liquor distributed. “We went back to the Chilean authorities and they also had no idea how to classify our spirit, which took time. But the brand is also the category.”

Just like Chartreuse is Chartreuse, they say Träkál is Träkál, and hope that once the brand expands (they’re currently only available in Chile and Colorado, but you can get a bottle shipped to you by The Proper Pour of Denver), people will correlate Patagonia to Träkál the way Scotland is to whisky and Mexico to mezcal.

TRAKAL Cultivation
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The co-founders of Träkál are serious about maintaining the integrity of their brainchild, so much that the bottle itself is Chilean-sourced with a natural cork. The distillery is also located in Patagonia, and the spirit is made in batches using water sourced from an underground river.

And, yes, Long does admit it would have been easier had they decided to make another vodka or gin, but as recovering backpackers, there would have been no adventure in that. “We want to show the world that Patagonia can be a distilling destination and honor its botanicals and be authentic to that,” Long adds. “Our friends said, ‘Oh, you should have just done a gin, to be more marketable,’ but juniper doesn’t grow in Patagonia.”

We’re grateful because, to be honest, the world doesn’t need another vodka or gin. What we need is a spirit for Patagonia that embodies the luscious yet rugged terrain, complete with deserts, pampas, and grasslands. Träkál has forged this new path, which helps explain the name that translates to “the first warrior in battle.”

For more information on Träkál’s availability, sign up for alerts here.

Images courtesy of Träkál.

Jahla Seppanen
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Born and raised off-the-grid in New Mexico, Jahla Seppanen is currently a sports, fitness, spirits, and culture writer in…
33 easy and delicious recipes any man can make
Breakfast, mains, sides, and more. Simple recipes to whip up
Close-up of a man holding frying pan with fresh vegetables and a wooden spoon

Being able to feed yourself is important, but being able to make a meal is impressive. Whether from an online recipe or a cookbook, these days, cooking has become a necessity and, like anything, the more you do it the better you become.

Whipping up a dish from scratch can sound daunting, and even with the help of a recipe app, it can take a lot of effort. However, once you get the hang of it, you’ll realize that it’s cheaper, healthier, and fun. From a simple savory breakfast to a sexy night in, give takeout a break and try one of these easy recipes every man should know how to make in their lifetime.

Read more
The best fried chicken recipe you will ever make
This is simply the best, and you can stop looking for this recipe now
Eating fried chicken

As you know, we love all things fried chicken. It’s the ultimate comfort food no matter the day of the week, no matter the weather. We just can’t get enough of that golden brown and delicious chicken. Keep reading, and you'll find the best fried chicken recipe ... hands down.
The history of fried chicken

Europeans were the first to fry up chicken during the Middle Ages. Fried chicken was considered an expensive delicacy until after World War II and was only served for special occasions. Scottish immigrants were the ones who introduced fried chicken to the U.S., but they didn’t use any seasonings until West Africans added spice blends into the recipe. Since then, it has been a staple in Southern cooking.

Read more
How to store coffee beans: 3 tips to keep your coffee fresh longer
Not today, Costco.
Coffee beans in hands.

For most of us, coffee beans are every bit as much a necessary kitchen staple as eggs or milk. After all, these are the magic beans that give us the energy to get out the door in the morning, to put on our big kid pants and go to work, to do the things we might not want to otherwise do. But when it comes to storing this precious ingredient, it's not quite as simple as shoving a bag in a cupboard, even if this is what many of us have done in the past.

Coffee beans are a fragile, temperamental ingredient, however life-giving and wonderful they may be. So it's important to treat them with the care and love they deserve and learn the right way to treat them after their stay in the grocery store. This is how to store coffee beans the right way.
Store them properly

Read more