Saratoga Springs has a nice little pocket of Mexican restaurants, with Cantina, the Mexican Connection and El Mexicano holding down the fort, and a fourth restaurant, Tatu, coming soon. All of them have one common denominator: tequila. And while you can probably picture most of their tequila brands hailing from south of the border, you might have a harder time imagining one of them being produced right here in Saratoga. Yes, you read that right. Get your salt shaker and lime wedge ready, Saratogians. If you haven’t already, it’s time to get to know One With Life (OWL) Organic Tequila. Did I mention the company’s already winning awards?
Earlier this month, OWL took home first prize at the third annual Fort Lauderdale Margarita Festival in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, an award it’s won once already. Hundreds of patrons attended the sold-out festival to vote on signature cocktails served by over 20 tequila brands. Unlike the competition, OWL owner Lisa Elovich and her team presented a cocktail that was 100 percent natural. “After going to Patrón, Casamigos, Los Altos, Milagro and all the other brands, [festival-goers] tasted a huge difference,” said Elovich. “When you’re drinking freshly squeezed citrus juices, and you have fresh pureed berries on top of that, you can’t even compare that to putting a processed triple sec into a margarita.”
To make OWL tequila, Elovich works with Tequila Las Americas, a family-owned farm in Jalisco, Mexico. There the agave is grown, picked after eight years, baked off using a clay oven in small batches and distilled. Elovich explains that most companies flash-steam their agave rather than bake it, and wait just five years before picking their plants. “That’s why when people drink our tequila, they’re like ‘Wow! This tastes so mellow!’ It doesn’t have the bitterness and the bite that most tequilas have, and it’s because of those two things,” Elovich says.
OWL’s dedication to providing a quality product has quickly paid off. Elovich founded the company only four years ago, and it’s already received wide recognition. The brand was recognized as 2015’s Organic Brand of Promise, won the Fort Lauderdale Margarita Festival in 2017, received high praise (a 94-point rating!) from Wine Enthusiast magazine and was named the top tequila to drink for fall/winter of 2018 by Forbes magazine.
Currently, OWL tequila is served only in New York and Florida, but the company is actively negotiating with distributors from other states. In 2018, OWL brought on a national sales director—formerly the No.1 market manager and sales rep from Tito’s Homemade Vodka—to whom Elovich credits the exponential growth OWL experienced last year. Elovich assures that “regardless of how much we grow, we’re going to always keep it small-batch, organic…and made in the traditional method in the clay oven.”
Elovich started OWL unsure of where it would take her, but was fueled by her passion for tequila, and her passion for spreading the message of being “one with life,” hence the brand name. It all started with a “small project/test case…in Saratoga,” Elovich says, “the community really responded to it, Saratoga in particular really embraced the tequila, embraced the philosophy and [embraced] the fact that I was a local.”
In the Elovich household, Lisa lives by the motto that “natural is always better than processed.” She’s a vegetarian with vegan children, and feeds her family with organic local produce, much of which is purchased at The Saratoga Farmers Market. She hopes to encourage others to make a similar lifestyle change with her tequila. “We’re trying to use the bottle as a vessel to spread a message of authenticity, a lifestyle which believes in balance, mindfulness and healthy living—and includes consumption,” says Elovich. I have one word for that: ¡Salud!