By Zak Stambor, Special to Tribune Newspapers
March 10, 2013
The publicist's pitch for the Casamigos tequila debut focused on the people behind the brand, the email's subject line, "George Clooney & Rande Gerber's Casamigos."
Yes, we're talking about that George Clooney. And Rande Gerber, in case you don't know (as I didn't), is a restaurant and bar impresario, the co-founder of Caliche rum, Cindy Crawford's husband and a close friend of Clooney's.
And that explains the YouTube video promoting the brand that appeared a little more than a month ago. The 1-minute, 11-second video blames too much Casamigos for a series of cases of mistaken identity in what appears to be a house shared by Clooney, his girlfriend, Stacy Keibler, Gerber and Crawford. The first scene features Gerber (holding his own glass of Casamigos) walking in on what appears to be a drunken Crawford passed out in bed next to a drunken Clooney. The second features Clooney walking in on Keibler passed out in bed next to Crawford. And, of course, the third features Crawford discovering Gerber passed out in bed next to Clooney.
With Clooney and Gerber's signatures adorning the tequila's label, it is undeniable that Casamigos aims to hook drinkers with its celebrity tie. But, Gerber says, the liquid inside its bottles is what will keep them coming back.
The story goes that the tequila grew out of Clooney and Gerber's search for the perfect tequila. While building adjacent homes in Mexico, the duo spent a lot of time there. And they downed a lot of tequila — "sipped on the rocks or straight, no lime or any of that," Gerber said — but they all left something to be desired.
"We wanted a great flavor profile," Gerber says. "We wanted it to be smooth with no burn."
Unable to find what they were looking for, they enlisted a master distiller in Jalisco to craft their own. After 800 or so sample bottles, they settled on a tequila that worked.
"It's important that you have to have something that you can drink on the rocks," Gerber says. "And that is complex enough that you don't get tired of drinking it after you have two or three glasses."
As for the tequila, it is smooth. That's thanks, Gerber says, to it production process.
The blue agave plants used to make the spirit are cooked for 72 hours, distilled using a proprietary yeast and then undergo an 80-hour fermentation process. After being filtered, the blanco tequila is aged two months in stainless steel containers. The reposado tequila is aged for seven months in used American white oak whiskey casks.
Beyond the smoothness, and marked lack of a bite, the blanco has notes of cream soda, cinnamon and mint. The reposado has similar notes, along with a hint of caramel.
The tequila is good, no question, celebrity tie or not.
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