SAACA Salsa & Tequila Challenge Spotlight: Renee Kreager of Renee’s Organic Oven

Renee’s Organic Oven co-owner Renee Kreager is still slightly bitter about not winning last year’s Salsa & Tequila Challenge with her 2013 entry, the Miel de Vida, which is still on her restaurant’s menu alongside the restaurant’s popular organic and vegan pizzas.

“It was pretty sophisticated, maybe a little too different,” Kreager said of the drink. But, fresh back from a successful trip to Las Vegas, she feels the odds are in her favor in 2014.

Kreager, who has owned Renee’s Organic Oven since 2005 with her husband Steve, intends on taking top honors in this year’s SAACA competition with her latest tequila-based concoction, which she is calling The a.m. Rx. (Pronounce the “Rx” as “script”). Win or lose, though, expect The a.m. Rx to appear on Renee’s menu following the judging.

If you want a hint of how serious Kreager is taking this competition, take a look at the description of the Miel de Vida (Spanish for “The Honey of Life”), which she felt should have won last year’s Salsa & Tequila Challenge: “Renee’s Honeybush Tea-infused Tequila, vanilla sugar, organic tart cherry, lemon, shaken and served on the rocks in a chiltepin sugar-and-honey rimmed glass.”

Cruz Reposado - Renee Kreager's 2014 Tequila of Choice Without giving away too much of her secret recipe, Kreager did reveal that her tequila of choice this year would be Cruz Del Sol Reposado.

“This is my drink. I love tequila,” she declared.

Kreager will be using an in-house jam, blended with local roasting help from Yellow Brick Coffee. As The a.m. Rx moniker implies, Kreager says this cocktail will be more of a healing, medicinal take on a tequila drink. Then again, as Kreager joked of the spirit’s inherent healing quality, “At least that’s how I use it all the time!”

For more information on Saturday’s SAACA event, visit the 2014 SAACA Salsa & Tequila Challenge Tucson Foodie page. To peruse the rest of Renee’s creations behind the bar and in the kitchen, check out Renee’s Organic Oven.

TucsonScene James is downtown with his ear to the ground. Covering music - and now food – from the bygone Grill to the future five-star Mariott, you can keep up with him on Facebook and Twitter.