Equal parts spicy, sweet: Local creates Cosa Salvaje tequila

Carmel Valley resident Elle France is hoping to change the tequila drinking experience with her new Cosa Salvaje tequila. She has put her own “sexy and sweet” take on the Mexican liquor and it has been picking up momentum since its first pours in August of last year. 

“I’ve always loved tequila and the tradition that goes into making it,” said France of the method of making true tequila in Jalisco, Mexico from the native agave plant. “My tequila is a sipping tequila, like a cognac. You don’t shoot it, you sip it.”

Elle France
Elle France (Teri Joy Photography )

Cosa Salvaje, which translates to “wild thing,” is made from 100 percent blue agave in a distillery in Jalisco. The smooth-drinking tequila features sweet, warm, spicy, peppery, herbaceous flavors and France promises even non-tequila drinkers will love it. It is now being sold at Carmel Valley Liquor, Seaside Market, Rancho Santa Fe Market and Deli, Old Town Liquor, Holiday Wine Cellar in Escondido and is on the menu at Pacific Coast Grill.

France has lived in the Carmel Valley area for several years and both of her children went to Torrey Pines High School. She has a background in marketing and also worked as a matchmaker in Rancho Santa Fe — her matchmaking expertise has been featured in a reality show called “The Romance,” a dating show that features 14 women competing for the affection of 10 eligible bachelors in San Diego. The show will begin airing Feb. 12 and is also available to view online (find out more at

France started her tequila project a year and a half ago. In doing research, she found a consultant in Jalisco and took a leap of faith. It turned out to be the best leap she ever took, finding the perfect person to help her in the process (she declines to name him for the sake of keeping a little mystery).

At the Mexican distillery, she tasted several different tequilas and created her own tequila profile. She chose to make Cosa Salvaje tequila blanco, which means unaged.

“The margarita is the number one mixed drink in the world and blanco tequila is used for it,” France said.

The bottles are made out of recycled glass in Mexico, so each has its own unique imperfections and wrapped around the cork is a strap of top-of-the-line leather, stamped with the Cosa Salvaje logo. The shape is like a flask but a “super sultry and sexy, 007-style” that France loves.

The artwork on the bottles features three different ladies — one of them is a familiar blonde. And unlike many liquor bottles, the artwork continues on the back of the bottle, showing the backs of the ladies on the front. 

When the first batch of tequila arrived in August, France said it was crazy and “mind-boggling” to think she had her own tequila brand. She has been doing her best to just step back and enjoy the moments —like seeing her brand on a menu or when she went into Carmel Valley Liquor, where Cosa Salvaje has its very own shelf, and met a couple who had just purchased 30 bottles of her tequila.

She is grateful for the support she has received from the local community and for the building excitement around the Cosa Salvaje brand — the tequila will be featured at a pre-Oscar party in Los Angeles this month and is being poured in actor David Arquette’s bar Bootsy Bellows in Aspen, Colo. 

She hopes to get as many people as possible to take a sip and experience something a little different and a little wild.

For more information, check out the Cosa Salvaje Facebook page or