When I’m in the mood to imbibe, tequila is my go-to drink. I enjoy is neat with ice on the side and appreciate the flavor without anything added in. I’m always game for trying a new brand, and in recent years, I’ve been able to sample dozens of varieties thanks to the slew of tequilas that continue to debut.
UNI is a winner above all. Mark Tubridy, who manages the bar at Baccarat Hotel New York, among my favorite water holes, introduced me to the spirit and raved about how delicious it was. A single sip later, and I was won. Wow, what an exceptional tequila and one that’s organic too.
Crafted with estate grown organic agave, the brand has two expressions: a blanco ($75) and anejo ($149).
The former is what Mark poured me and has an exceptional taste featuring notes and a silky finish of vanilla, along with distinct citrus flavors. Floral touches find their way in towards the end. It’s crisp and refreshing and deserves to savored on its own, although I’m sure it would work beautifully in cocktails.
UNI’s Anejo is aged for two years in French and oak American barrels and is bolder in taste. Velvety and lush, it also features vanilla notes but juxtaposes this flavor with oak.
Given my affinity for the brand, I set out to discover the story behind its creation.
UNI was founded in 2020 by Metta Risdal, who is from Norway and started her career bartending in London and New York. Why did she decide to start a tequila? How did she get the idea? And— most importantly- where can you find Uni? Metta shared all the answers with me and then some in a recent interview.
Excerpts from our conversation follow.
What inspired you to start UNI ?
I was going to Mexico regularly and fell in love with the people, food and tequila. I loved Mexico so much that I bought a condo in Puerto Vallarta. I got so fascinated with tequila because being from Norway, we didn’t have it there.
I would go visit the distilleries regularly for several years and was dreaming about one day owning my own brand. And when I first moved to New York and worked as a bartender, there were only a couple of tequilas on the shelf, and people would only do shots.
I realized there was still a gap in the market for organic tequila that’s eco-conscious and made without pesticides and additives.
I feel so much better drinking organic tequila, and UNI is smooth and delicious.
Why is UNI so unique?
Uni Blanco is aged in barrels for 2 months while most blancos on the market are bottled immediately. It has a very complex nose and finish of vanilla and floral notes.
UNI Anejo is aged for 2 years in a mix of new and vintage barrels.
Since UNI is USDA Certified Organic, it’s very smooth. Brands that don’t prioritize organic ingredients produce tequila with a harsh chemical like taste. Uni is also very stylish with a high-end designed luxury bottle. It really stands out on the bar and is perfect for gifts.
Where can people find and enjoy UNI?
Uni can be bought on our website unitequila.com and shipped to 46 states.
It’s also available in restaurants in New York and Florida including Sant Ambroeus, Baccarat Hotel, Casa Lever and Serafina locations to name a few.
You regularly travel to Mexico for the job and spend time in Guadalajara- what are some of your favorite spots in the city?
I go often to Mexico because I’m totally hands on with the whole process (bottling is my favorite part!).
To eat in Guadalajara, I like Santocoyote. But I also travel to Puerto Vallarta and love Cafe des Artistes.
What is it like being a woman owner in the tequila space?
I think that being an entrepreneur in any industry is hard. I’m still 100% owner of Uni Tequila but currently in the middle of looking for strategic partners.
I have help in Mexico with men in the agave fields and women working in the distillery helping with bottling and just hired my first sales person. But up until now, I’ve been in charge of getting the tequila into all the restaurants by myself- and the old fashioned way going door-to-door.
It’s been really well received because the product speaks for itself, and it shows that there is always room for the best.