In a recent DIA post about Bethanny Frankel’s celebrity brush with cocktail fame (Skinnygirl Margarita Mix), we wondered, over a glass of (Francis Ford) Coppola cab, “Who else is in the celebrity booze game?”
A recent Chicago Tribune article had our answers:
Cabo Wabo Tequila: Sammy Hagar himself developed this well-regarded tequila, made with 100 percent blue agave and available in blanco, reposado and anejo styles (the anejo won Gold status at the 2009 World Spirits competition). The Red Rocker sold 80 percent of the tequila company to Gruppo Campari for a reported $80 million, but he continues to be its highly visible brand ambassador.
Conjure: Rapper Chris “Ludacris” Bridges partnered up with master blender Philippe B. Tiffon to release his signature cognac in fall of 2009. It’s the real-deal — aged in Limousin oak barrels and all — and is a relatively smart business move, given that Bridges and cognac mostly share the same audience: youngish African-Americans who pride themselves on good taste.
Crystal Head Vodka: See Dan Aykroyd has this obsession with crystal skulls and he likes booze, so …
Danny DeVito’s Limoncello: When life hands you lemons (an embarrassing 2006 appearance on The View when DeVito appeared to be intoxicated), make lemonade — or this premium liqueur made from Sorrento lemons on the Amalfi Coast. DeVito had his name on this sleek black bottle within months of his televised pratfall.
Mansinthe: Any consumable attached to shock-rocker Marilyn Manson kinda scares us, but his branded absinthe (for which he also painted a label), has actually won awards, impressive sales — and even made him a household name in the tiny Swiss vilage of Kallnach where the spirit is distilled.
901 Tequila: “It’s always 901 somewhere.” So says multi-talented Justin Timberlake, whose tequila (which borrows its name from his hometown area code: Memphis) launched two years ago independent of a parent spirits company. The agave-based spirit, rooted in Jalisco, Mexico, is actually not half-bad, as far as celebrity spirits go. Apparently, JT knows his booze.
Three Olives Purple Vodka: Three Olives has never taken itself too seriously. (With vodkas flavored with chocolate, would you?) So when sass-mouthed rapper Lil’ Kim was brought on board last summer to be the face of new flavor Purple (which, according to its label, tastes grape-ish, though it tastes, in essence, just as it sounds: purple), she upped the brand’s reputation for party-friendly — though not necessarily recommended — spirits.
Tres Rios Silver Tequila: Kick back or kick butt with former Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil’s tequila. Do either at the Vegas restaurant named for it, Tres Rios Cantina, in a brand-extending move.
Trump Vodka: Billed, with typical Trumpian modesty, as the “World’s Finest Super Premium Vodka,” this pricey pour comes in a gold-painted bottle with architectural lines reminiscent of The Donald’s skyscrapers. The vodka itself doesn’t quite reach the same lofty heights, at least according to some critics. But it’s an undeniable conversation-starter.
Old Whiskey River: The autographed guitar pick tied to the neck of this 6-year-old, small-batch bourbon (produced by Heaven Hill Distilleries, one of the stops on Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail) is a subtle hint to the bourbon’s celebrity connection, Willie Nelson. According to the product’s website, Heaven Hill sent bourbon samples to Nelson while he was on tour, until he tasted one worthy of Nelson’s name. Or at least his pick.