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Celebrate National Tequila Day with Metro Detroit's own Anteel Tequila

The two-year-old spirit company, formerly Teeq Tequila, is in more than 400 stores and bars across Michigan

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Tequila company owner Nayana Ferguson wants to change any negative perceptions drinkers may have about the agave spirit. 

Turning 2 years old next month, her Anteel Tequila line is blooming considering it is a new business trying to branch out of its home state of Michigan during a pandemic. She says Anteel — which has blanco, respsado and coconut lime varieties — has already exceed estimated sales numbers for a boutique spirit brand. 

Anteel Tequila co-owner Nayana Ferguson

Ferguson, who is believed to be the first and only Black woman in the world running a tequila company, says she wants to help educate people on the liquor and showcase the finer points of the spirit, especially ahead of National Tequila Day, which is Friday 

"I can help start this trend of getting women to enjoy tequila a little bit more and just getting everyone to understanding about premium spirits," says Ferguson, who lives in Canton with her husband and the brand's co-founder Don Ferguson. "Everyone has that tequila story about spring break when they got drunk and it was the tequila's fault ... and usually it wasn't. Or they were drinking some bad tequila. I just want to get out there and have people educate themselves on what they're putting in their body."

Ferguson says tequila is a healthier spirit than others because it's made from the agave plant, instead of grains. She is extra concerned about what she puts in her body as the mother of two girls is not only a pancreatic cancer survivor, but she's also beat breast cancer. 

"Some would say I'm not supposed to drink," she said, adding that the way she sees it, she survived the cancer, taking three years alone to recover from pancreatic cancer treatment, so she's earned it. "I'm going to have a drink here and there." 

"But I want to make sure that what I'm drinking is better for me," she said. "Tequila is more of a cleaner spirit because it is made with a plant. It's very very low in carbs and low in sugar when you're drinking it neat. As we're all getting older, drink better if you're going to drink."

She said her 70 proof Coconut Lime Blanco Anteel Tequila is the only flavor like it on the market, and like any of their products, is of high enough quality to sip straight, with no mixers adding extra sugar or calories. 

A Colibri Margarita from Anteel Tequila

"We patterned it after one of the most popular drinks in the world, the margarita," she said. "Even people who say they don't like coconut, they like this."

Anteel Tequila, available in 400 stores and bars in Michigan, also has an aged tequila and a blanco, both 80 proof. Their reposado is different from others because it's aged for eight months in Tennessee whiskey barrels. Ferguson said most reposado tequila rests in American white oak barrels for four-six months. 

The Furgusons recently rebranded Anteel from Teeq Tequila because Don has a marketing company with a similar name and the message was getting muddled. The name Anteel fit better with their brand, Nayana said. 

The name Anteel is inspired by the Antillean species of hummingbird, which is also used on the logo. Ferguson said the bird has special significance for her family for a few reasons, including a spotting of the bird during a trip to the Dominican Republic where the Furgusons got engaged and discussed their future spirit company.

"It goes better with our story, our logo and everything about our tequila and what we're trying to accomplish with it," she said. 

One of those accomplishments, besides moving 1,000 cases of booze in less that two years of business, is being supportive of others. 

"With our tequila we not only want to educate people about tequila but we want to give back to our community about businesses, about creating your own business and not being afraid to do so," she says. "A lot of us get these ideas and get all this information but don't execute it. I want to say to these people, hey you can. Don't let that fear hold you back."

Besides buying locally, the award-winning tequila can be purchased online from several states at anteeltequila.com.

mbaetens@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @melodybaetens

Here are some cocktail recipes from Anteel Tequila and others to help the home bartender celebrate National Tequila Day Friday. 

Colibri Margarita 

1 3/4 ounce Anteel Coconut Lime Blanco

1/4 ounce mezcal

2 ounces pineapple juice

1/2 ounce lime juice 

1/2 ounce scotch bonnet pepper- and pineapple-infused simple syrup

Shake all ingredients together and strain over fresh ice in a cocktail glass rimmed with chipotle lime sea salt. Garnish with a grilled pineapple slice marinated in Anteel Coconut Lime Blanco, and add a pineapple leaf for decoration. 

The Daytwah cocktail is made with Anteel Reposado Tequila, dry vermouth and maraschino liqueur.

Daytwah 

1 1/2 ounce Anteel Reposado Tequila

1/2 ounce dry vermouth

1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur

1/4 ounce bitters

splash of lemon

Shake all ingredients with ice in a shaker until chilled. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with lemon twist. 

Recipes from Anteel Tequila 

The Stugotz cocktail from Detroit's Mootz Pizzeria is made with tequila and blood orange liqueur.

Stugotz from Mootz Pizzeria + Bar 

2 ounces tequila

1/2 ounce Solerno blood orange liqueur

1/2 ounce jalapeño syrup

1/2 ounce lime juice

Splash of ginger beer

Orange peel

Add tequila, Salerno, jalapeño syrup and lime juice in a mixing tin with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Add ginger beer and express orange peel over glass and hang as garnish. 

Recipe from Mootz Pizzeria 

A picosita cocktail with some heat from Cazadores Tequila

Picosita

4 chunks of cantaloupe 

1 habanero chili, sliced

1 1/2 ounce Cazadores Reposado

3/4 ounce agave nectar or simple syrup

1 ounce lime juice

Muddle the cantaloupe and two habanero slices in a cocktail shaker, add all the liquid ingredients and ice, shake and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a slice of habanero. 

Recipe from Cazadores Tequila