Meet The Maker: Stella Anguiano & Rita Ora, Próspero Tequila

What happens when one of the world's biggest pop stars joins forces with one of Mexico’s premier Master Distillers?

Prospero Tequila is smooth, elegant and f*cking delicious. What more would you expect from a female-led tequila? We chatted to Rita Ora & Stella Anguiano to get the low-down on the story behind this killer tequila.

Let’s start at the beginning: who are ya and what are you the makers of? 

Stella: I’ll start because I don’t think Rita needs an introduction. I have been making tequila in Jalisco for more than three decades, working at the Orendain family distillery for 20 years before creating Próspero Tequila, with Rita as my chief creative partner. 

Rita: When I met Stella in Mexico I was so inspired. She is one of only a handful of female master distillers of tequila and she’s such a trailblazer. Starting my own tequila was never in the plan, but seeing her authentic passion and how she has challenged the accepted gender norms in the industry I just thought "I have to work with her", and so Próspero was born.  

Tell us about Próspero Tequila - what is the vibe and what kind of flavours will we pick up when we give it a sip?  

Rita: The Blanco is amazing in cocktails. It’s really fresh and bright, with jalapeño and citrus, nothing like what most people think of when they say they don’t like tequila. It’s definitely my go-to when mixing a cocktail for friends. When I first met Stella, she and the team were so patient with me, teaching me how to drink tequila properly and I think for those trying the expressions for the first time the Blanco is a great place to start. Not to mention it’s won gold at the World Tequila Awards and received a great rating at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge. 

Stella: The Reposado is rounder, with rich notes of vanilla, white flowers and spice. It is aged in oak for a minimum of six months which gives it the peppery, floral tones, layered with creamy vanilla, butterscotch and soft spice. The Añejo is aged for at least 12 months, which really brings out the toasted caramel, cacao and roasted fruit, as well as a lingering spice.  

Stella, you were one of the world’s first master distillers of tequila. What is it you look for when you are creating tequila, and how long does it usually take you to reach a final product you are happy with? 

Stella: There is such a long and important history behind every bottle of tequila that is made, and it is so important for me to honor that. It is also a family business for me, and growing up in it, as a woman in such a male-dominated industry, has created its own challenges. But it has also meant that I have always wanted to work even harder to perfect my craft and prove that I could do just as well as the men I was working with. It hasn’t been easy but, slowly and surely, we have been able to change mindsets and work to include more women in the business.  

For me, every step of the process is important to create an exceptional product, and I want to put out in the world something that really pushes boundaries and introduces more people to this wonderful drink. Próspero is completely assembled by hand, even the glass bottles are an original, hand-blown work of art. It takes longer but it is worth it.  

With Próspero, it depends on the expression we are crafting. They each have their own ageing processes and that will determine how long it takes the final product to be ready. When we were starting out, we took our time to figure out how to make the most out of each expression. We’re always focused on the taste, so we don’t like to rush the process.  

And Rita – what made you want to go from showbiz to the drinks biz, and what is it about tequila specifically that made you want to join forces with Stella and create your own brand? 

Rita: I met Stella and everything just fell into place. Tequila has always been my drink but I never really thought I would get involved until I heard her story. She is an artist, so there was a natural affinity there, and her passion was so inspiring.  

As soon as we decided to do it, it was so important for me not to just be the face of the brand. I wanted to be hands-on and really dig into the creative elements of the brand. I also felt a sense of responsibility to Stella, who has fought so hard to create her place in an industry that is overwhelmingly male. This brand is really an homage to Stella and her achievements. 

In terms of the liquid, learning the ins and outs of how it’s created is fascinating. I just wanted to absorb as much knowledge as I could from her and this entire process. She gave me the opportunity to be involved every step of the way and it was so incredible to watch her work. I love entertaining and now I can guide my friends through a tasting of my own tequila, and it is all thanks to Stella’s skill and passion.  

Stella, what was it about Rita that made you decide you wanted to work with her on this tequila? 

Stella: We talk about "male-dominated industries" a lot, but we see women in every area of the business and see what incredible things they bring to it. When I met Rita, she really understood how important it was to shine her spotlight on the contributions women are already making and give them so many more opportunities. She is so passionate, she throws herself into everything she does 100% and it just made sense.  

Girl power seems to sit right at the core of this tequila, and we are here for it! Was it important to you both to make this a female-driven brand, and what do you hope this will do for women in an industry that is dominated by males? 

Stella: Absolutely! I’ve seen so much change over the course of my career, but we still have a long way to go.  

Rita:  For me, launching Próspero was about more than creating a quality tequila. It was about giving women like Stella, who are underrepresented in the industry, a platform. I think when it comes to alcohol, women are typically seen more in areas like wine and Prosecco, but we really wanted to show that women can also do amazing things with a spirit! 

Are there any other women in the biz you wanna shout about? Who’s doing something you’re loving right now?  

Rita: I collaborated with the amazing Camille Vidal, creator of La Maison Wellness, on an exclusive cocktail and masterclass and loved her balanced approach to crafting cocktails. I’ve also had the chance to work with Anna Sebastian, who has had the most incredible career at London’s top bars and is now absolutely killing it on her own. There are so many powerhouse female mixologists out there and I can’t wait to work with more of them. 

There have been a lot of drinks brands launched (or spring-boarded) off the back of famous names with very little input from the celebrity involved. Rita, to what extent have you played a part in the production of Próspero? 

Rita:  Like I said before, when it came to this collaboration, I wanted to be hands-on. Taking on the role of chief creative partner has been such a fulfilling experience because it’s given me the opportunity to put my creative energy into a completely different medium. From the labels to the shape and design of the bottles, I wanted Próspero to have a distinct look and feel, and so much of that inspiration came from working with Stella and her amazing team in Jalisco. We were so in sync about what we wanted to create and what we wanted it to mean, it was a truly collaborative effort.  

What have you both learned in the process of launching this brand? What has been the biggest challenge? 

Rita: We launched during the pandemic, which is obviously a challenge in its own right, but Próspero was always meant to be enjoyed with friends, in bars, out and about, and that has been so stilted. We’re so excited to take that next step now the world is (hopefully) opening up again and have people enjoy it that way we envisioned it.  

We’re thirsty. What cocktail would you create especially for BarChick using Próspero tequila? 

Rita: I’m a Margarita girl, but I also fell in love with the Paloma while I was in Mexico. You don’t see it too much in London but it is so perfect, it just makes you think of sitting in the sun on a beautiful beach. And I think we could all use a little more sunshine these days! 

Paloma Próspero  

50ml Próspero Blanco 
50ml fresh grapefruit juice 

Shake the tequila and fresh grapefruit juice with ice. Strain into a glass over fresh ice. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by RITA ORA (@ritaora)

If you could teleport yourselves to any bar in the world right now, where would ya go, what would you order, and who do you hope is there to share a drink with? 

Rita: Definitely my Dad’s pub in London. I have so many memories of his place and I always have the best time there with my family and friends. What better place is there than to be surrounded by all of the people I love. And of course, we'd be having Próspero cocktails!

Stella: That’s a tough question, it’s so hard to pick. As a distiller, I’ve visited so many wonderful bars, but nothing beats what we have here in Jalisco. It’s the best place to drink tequila! 

Now tell us your ideal Próspero drinking scenario - where are you, what’s the vibe, what’s the soundtrack, how is it being served and who is with you. 

Rita: For me, it’s all about being surrounded by my friends and having a great time. I love a good margarita on a hot sunny day, so last July, I put together this barbecue for me and all my friends, and we had such a blast! The sun was out, we had amazing food, great dance music, which is a must at any party, and the Próspero tequila was flowing.  

Stella: Family is very important to me, so I would want to be around my loved ones. We would be enjoying good food, and I would be sipping Próspero Añejo over ice. It’s the best way to enjoy the Añejo, in my opinion. 

What’s next for Próspero? What should we look out for? 

Stella: We’re hard at work on a really exciting new project, but we’re not quite ready to announce it yet. 

Rita: Watch this space! We’re also going to be collaborating with even more amazing women. Follow along at @prosperotequila.

Prospero Tequila is available to purchase online from Selfridges, RRP £49.99 & £59.99

By Georgie Pursey