Food & Drink

Q&A: Step Up Your Drink Game with Owl’s Brew — A Tea Mixer Concocted for Cocktails

by Lea Faminiano

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[All images provided by Pivotal Public Relations]

One glance down the mixer aisle of a liquor store, and you’ll typically see shelves upon shelves of pretty unimpressive bottles, usually filled with unnaturally neon-colored, sickly sweet liquid. Pre-made mixers usually send me off into a sugar coma, and I hadn’t yet come across one to rave about…and then Owl’s Brew came along.

I first tasted the Owl’s Brew Coco-Lada at last year’s Brooklyn Eats and was happily introduced to the world of cocktails with tea – in this case, freshly brewed tea, sweetened with agave, and containing no preservatives.  I’ve come across some really good tea cocktails out there in the city, but none that I could ever re-create myself. Luckily, Owl’s Brew caters to those wanting to practice their at-home mixology, giving everyone the chance to elevate their cocktail game with a mixer that’s actually pretty classy, and dare I say it – better for you?

I was recently able to catch up with the lovely Owl’s Brew ladies, who answered a couple questions for The Couch Sessions – read on to find out more about tea cocktails, where to find Owl’s Brew, what the ladies like to drink, and what’s in store.

The Couch Sessions: Why tea cocktails? Were you always interested in tea, cocktails, or both, and how did the idea of Owl’s Brew evolve and come into fruition?

Jennie & Maria of Owl’s Brew: We were always in search of a light, fresh and innovative way of drinking. We were tired of our go-to vodka cran. One clunky cocktail with too much sugar and a serious lack of hydration was plenty for us, and we are round two kind of gals.  As avid tea drinkers (always in moderation of course), we developed a product that was light, flavorful and fresh – incorporating our favorite non-boozy supper – tea!

What is your process for coming up with flavors and recipes?

Ingredients are important to us. We spent 8 months sourcing a partner that would brew real tea leaves, and not use any flavors. Owl’s Brew is batched from real, whole spices, fruits & herbs. We don’t use flavoring in our tea – ever. We are brewing the product in Vermont in large kettles, where it is handcrafted in small batches and then sweetened, packed and bottled. Our three flavors can be mixed with vodka, tequila, rum, whiskey, gin, champagne and even beer.

I tried the Coco-Lada at last year’s Brooklyn Eats and loved it – it’s how Owl’s Brew caught my attention in the first place! Which brew is your favorite, and what are your favorite ways to use them?

We’ve been really into beer cocktails recently, and love the Pink & Black with a Pilsner or sour beer — and The Classic is delicious with a wheat beer (it’s almost like a tea shandy!).  Aside from beer cocktails — Maria’s choice is always the Pink & Black with Tequila — and Jennie’s go-to cocktail is The Classic with Bourbon.

Owl’s Brew has been popping up in so many places since I first found out about you, especially in other articles and social media – why do you think your product has been so successful?

Our product embodies one major trend – catering to the at-home mixologist.  Our customer has very limited choices when looking down the mixer aisle.  They are either able to buy a “standard” mix like a margarita mix, which may have ingredients they feel they are compromising on, and which is only intended to pair with one liquor (e.g., tequila) or they can purchase a very high-end product, like an amazing celery bitters, and then end up in their kitchen wondering how to replicate a cocktail they’ve recently enjoyed.

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Owl’s Brew offers a new way to think about cocktail mixers – our fresh-brewed teas are ideal for mixing with vodka – or bourbon – or even beer; their flavor profile is light and fresh; and Owl’s Brew is still an easy pour – 2 parts Brew to 1 part Booze, or equal parts when mixing with beer or wine.  We think that our quick pick-up at BevMo!, Whole Foods, and Fairway among others shows that customers are searching for this type of mixer.

We are thrilled to be revisionists in the mixer category, and we expect to see more premium mixers that pair well with various spirits, not just one.  Tea is also a major trend, and we expect that we will continue to see more beverages – including mixers – using both herbals and tea.

I’m currently working my way down a list of all the cocktail bars I want to try in NYC – where are your favorite places for a good cocktail? Along those lines – outside of tea cocktails (obviously) what other kinds of cocktails do you enjoy?

Our favorite cocktail bar in NYC is Mayahuel — they have a cocktail called the Herb Alpert that is absolutely fantastic! As I mentioned before, beer cocktails have been our drink of choice recently.  They have a delicious and light flavor profile — and we think they are going to be a big trend this summer. Cheers to that!

What can we expect from Owl’s Brew in the near future? Are there any dream collaborations or projects you’d love to work on?

We recently came out with 8oz trio packs – each bottle is good for 4 cocktails and the set is a great introduction to the product line. We are also looking to collaborate with fashion brands that align with our customers and we have some exciting ideas for summer happy hours in the works right now.

Thanks so much, Jennie and Maria – if you’re interested in checking out Owl’s Brew, visit their website to learn more!