From the Magazine: Medicine Woman

Angela Dugan infuses her craft tequilas with holistic properties

We have put flavors in waters, iced teas, lemonades, beers, vodkas and—it was bound to happen—tequilas. While straight tequila has a bit of a kick, depending on the quality, the flavored tequilas have even more punch: jalapeño, habanero, chipotle, pineapple, cucumber chili, mango, coconut and … frankly, it’s starting to sound like the rum market.

But it’s not.

“We’ve really seen an increase in tequila consumption as the fastest-growing spirit in the market,” says Angela Dugan, of Boca Raton’s Kapow! Noodle Bar. “It just makes sense that brands start offering a variety of tequila options such as flavored and infused tequilas to grab up more of that market share. Bartenders are using a lot more tequila in cocktails, and more variety in the market means an opportunity for more variety on bar cocktail menus.”

And she should know. She and husband Vaughan are partners in Kapow!, where she’s been behind the bar in one fashion or another from the beginning.

Dugan, whose business card gives her title as Creator Of Things, calls herself a holistic nutritionist, herbalist, mom and Head Dame. She has the degrees to back up the education-linked titles (a master’s in holistic nutrition among them), and a 4-year-old to keep things hopping outside the restaurant.

“Tequila is made from the agave plant, which has been considered the Mexican Tree of Life. It has so many uses, and parts of the plant have been used as medicine for centuries,” says Dugan. “With my passions for the bar,healthy living and medicinal plants, my husband and I decided to open a business called Dugan and Dame, where I get to express my passions. We offer cocktail ingredients such as tonics and bitters that are made using organic and wildcrafted plants utilizing Old World styles of medicine making. I have recently started focusing my time on D&D and stepping more away from the bar, although still leading the cocktail program. I believe cocktails and the bar are great windows of opportunity to connect people to the plant world.”

She recently won a cocktail competition using flavored tequila in the Tanteo Mexican Standoff contest. “One of the reasons I love (Tanteo) is they are not simply a flavored spirit. They don’t use anything artificial in their tequila and actually infuse the flavors into the spirit by allowing the peppers to steep into the tequila. “

And they pair well with food. “A spicy tequila works well with heavier dishes, as the spice will actually help with digestion and cut through the heaviness of the food,” says Dugan.

Here are two of her cocktail recipes:

GOOD VIBRATIONS

(Angela Dugan’s winning cocktail in the Tanteo Mexican Standoff competition)

  • 1 ounce Tanteo Habanero
  • 3/4 ounce Tanteo Jalapeno
  • 3/4 ounce Tanteo Chipotle
  • 1/4 ounce Campari
  • 2 ounces Passionfruit Cordial
  • Egg white
  • Dash of Dugan & Dame Earl Grey
  • Bitters

THE SPICE IS RIGHT

  • 2 ounces Tanteo Jalapeno
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce agave
  • Thai basil
  • Smoked black pepper
  • 4 dashes Dugan & Dame Ghost
  • Pepper Bitters

This story is from the March 2021 of Boca magazine. For more content like this, subscribe to the magazine.