When George Clooney and his business partners Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman sold their tequila brand Casamigos to liquor behemoth Diageo, the deal was valued at up to $1 billion, making it perhaps the most famous — and lucrative — example of what can happen when celebrities partner with distillers.
Liquor brands and celebrities have long had symbiotic relationships, though, and that seems particularly true when it comes to Mexican spirits. Teremana Tequila — a brand owned by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson — is scheduled to launch in March. Pop star Nick Jonas and designer John Varvatos collaborated with Stoli Group to make Villa One tequila. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul from “Breaking Bad” released Dos Hombres Mezcal last fall. And now restaurateur and television host Guy Fieri and rock star Sammy Hagar have teamed up to create Santo Tequila Blanco.
The collaboration between these two entrepreneurial friends makes sense on multiple levels. Both men have rowdy, bombastic personas, both are restaurateurs with multiple concepts, and they’re both enthusiastic consumers of agave spirits. Their Santo Tequila Blanco is an unaged (white) tequila made with 100 percent Blue Weber agave from the Jalisco highlands. It’s earthy and citrusy with white pepper, spice, and floral notes.
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Santo Tequila Blanco is made in collaboration with Juan Eduardo Nuñez, a third-generation master distiller who first began working with Hagar in 1996 on his Cabo Wabo Tequila. That particular tequila — named for Hagar’s chain of Mexican nightclub-restaurants, the first of which was located in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico — was being distributed in the U.S. in 1999, making Hagar one of the earlier celebrities to invest in a booze brand. Nuñez, whose family has been making tequila at the El Viejito Distillery in Guadalajara, Jalisco, since 1937, also produced Santo Puro Mezquila, a blend of mezcal and tequila originally launched by Hagar and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine (Levine is no longer involved with the brand).
VinePair recently caught up with Hagar and Fieri to get their responses to our Lucky Sevens questionnaire. Here, they talk up their new tequila, their favorite cocktails, and what they’d like their final drink in life to be.
1. What’s your desert-island drink?
Sammy Hagar: Hands down a Margarita.
Guy Fieri: There’s nothing better than my Santo Caliente Margarita. Classic and refreshing, but with a little bit of jalapeño heat.
2. What’s the first drink you bought when you turned 21?
Hagar: It was probably a beer, a lager.
Fieri: All of them.
3. FMK three cocktails: Negroni, Margarita, Manhattan?
Hagar: F: Negroni. M: Margarita. K: Manhattan.
Fieri: I’m a faithful guy, so I’m gonna take both my Margarita and Manhattan, but you can kill that Negroni for sure.
4. You’re on death row (sorry). What’s your final drink?
Hagar: Straight shot of Santo Tequila Blanco.
Fieri: Wow, do you know something that I don’t? Whatever it is, make it strong and keep ’em comin’.
5. You can only drink at one bar for the rest of your life. What is it?
Hagar: The Cabo Wabo Cantina.
Fieri: I’ve got a little lake cabin off the grid in Northern California and we’ve been going there since I was a kid. There’s an awesome local bar called Journey’s End right up from the marina, and there aren’t too many places I’d rather be.
6. What’s the best and worst bottle on your shelf?
Hagar: The best bottle is some Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum that I had in a barrel for seven years in Maui — pure cane sugar. I call it RIP (Rested In Paradise). The worst bottle is probably some leftover Mixto tequila that someone tried to get me to call Cabo Wabo when I was looking for the world’s finest tequila.
Fieri: Obviously, I’m partial to Santo, so let’s start there. I’m really proud of the Santo Tequila Blanco and the old-school, real-deal agave flavor. But I really get excited about the Mezquila, too, because it’s so unique. Nobody has ever blended the 100 percent Blue Weber agave with the Espadin agave like that, and the combo is out of bounds. And the worst bottle? That’s the empty one.
7. What cocktail will you never order again?
Hagar: I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I am just not a Scotch drinker.
Fieri: A Piña Colada. (I’ll make somebody else order it for me!)