Sotol is THE drink of Chihuahua, sometimes called “Chihuahua in a bottle“.
It is somewhat like tequila, but really many of the fine varieties have more of the character of excellent single malt scotches.
There are other spirits in the Chihuahua region. One of my favorites to get locally is lechuguilla. But lechuguilla is one of the agave drinks and this sotol is made from a totally different genus- as explained in the opening comments about sotol in Wikipedia:
Sotol is a distilled spirit made from the Dasylirion wheeleri (commonly known as Desert Spoon or, in Spanish, sotol), a plant that grows in the wilds of Northern Mexico, New Mexico, West Texas, and the Texas Hill Country. It is known as the state drink of Chihuahua, Durango and Coahuila. There are few commercial examples available. It is produced in a manner similar to the more common artisanal mezcals of central Mexico.
Now speaking of mescal, sotol also varies a great deal like mescal based on a number of important factors. Here are a few:
1.The plants- the age, genetics, condition and so on of the raw material makes a huge difference in flavor. It takes about seven years for the pina to be ready to harvest and they should not be rushed.
2. The soil- the alkalinity, drainage, minerals present, amount of houmus material and so on make a flavor difference in the final brew.
3. Altitude- where the sotol plants grow on the mountain effects the result
4. The process- roasting in particular can vary a greaat deal. For instance the type of wood used- mesquite, oak, prima vera, etc- flavor the sotol in varying ways
5. Local water- some water comes from wells, some from springs or rivers and as this is added to the fermentation tanks it carries along an essence.
6. Individual tricks of the brewer- each producer has their little foibles and habits such as time of cooling or water added.
7. Speed of production can make a huge difference and generally slower is better and more stages of distilling gives a better product.
So there are some factors. You can buy these sotols on the street in recycled bottles and also they are available in stores there under several labelled names. My favorite in Don Cuco Reposada