Casamigos Blanco Tequila is almost like sharing a drink with Clooney

McClatchy-Tribune News ServiceJuly 9, 2014 

Ever fancy a cocktail with George Clooney? Yes? Now you can. Well, sort of, in the next best way.

Casamigos, Clooney's small batch, ultra-premium tequila that he launched with his good friend Rande Gerber, a former model turned restaurateur and bar mogul, hit the shelves about a year and a half ago.

Casamigos might be one of the relatively newer kids on the block in the ever-evolving celebrities-in-spirits industry, but it has won a multitude of awards, including a Gold Medal from the Los Angeles International Spirits Competition, and "Excellent" ratings in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge.

The idea behind Clooney and Gerber's tequila was to make it so it could be sipped straight, or as Clooney says, so "it didn't have to be covered up with salt or lime."

Not that salt and lime with tequila are bad things, mind you. But the story continues. The very much abbreviated version behind the legend of Casamigos is that Clooney, Gerber and Gerber's wife, Cindy Crawford — yes, that Cindy Crawford — are neighbors in Mexico and like to drink tequila, apparently lots of it, and so they decided to try making it. Ta-da! That's it in a nutshell. The brand name Casamigos is merely a smashed-together abbreviation of casa amigos, which simply translates to "house of friends."

Gerber comes with a pedigree in the spirits industry, as he also has a heavy hand in producing Caliche Rum, an ambrosial rum that is truly one of my favorites. A high-end tequila, it seems, would be the logical next step.

The result? Not bad, amigo. Not bad at all. The 100 percent Blue Weber agave tequila, crafted in the highlands of Jalisco State, had me at "hola."

Casamigos Blanco is light, clean and crisp, with notes of warm vanilla and just the slightest hints of mint and lemon. Even without the star power of Clooney and Gerber, it's an excellent tequila not only for sipping straight up with a touch of lime, as the duo originally intended, but also for mixing cool cocktails to beat the summer heat.

Long a fan of a young to middle-aged reposado, I found Casamigos Reposado to be a keeper. The golden tequila is slightly woodsy from resting in American oak barrels for about seven months, yet it is smooth with the hints of tasty caramel and sweet aromas that pair well with the subtlest and softest molasses-like flavor of agave. But it is tequila, after all, which means there is just enough spice and pepper in to balance the sweetness. If you crave a Paloma, for instance, then the Su Casa, Casamigos Reposado's clever take on the classic cocktail, is perfect for you.

Gather your own house of friends and spark up your sizzlin' summer soirée with Casamigos. Variations of the margarita are practically infinite, but with these two versatile tequilas, paired with orange-based liqueurs — personally I'm crazy for Cointreau — trying them with a few of the signature recipes from Casamigos and blended with summer flavors of watermelon and fruit juices are sure to keep you cool by the pool.

recipes

Watermelon mint margarita

1 ½ ounces Casamigos Reposado Tequila

4 ounces muddled watermelon

6-7 mint leaves

½ ounce simple syrup

¾ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

In a tall glass, muddle mint and watermelon. Add remaining ingredients. Shake well and then fine strain over fresh ice. Garnish with mint sprig and lime.

Mi casa

1 ½ ounces Casamigos Blanco Tequila

1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

¼ ounce freshly squeeze orange juice

½ ounce agave nectar

Shake all ingredients with ice, and then strain into martini glass. Garnish with an orange wedge.

Su casa

1 ½ ounces Casamigos Reposado Tequila

¾ ounce freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

1⁄3 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

Few drops of agave syrup

Grapefruit soda

Shake tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and agave syrup with ice. Pour over ice in a tall glass. Splash with grapefruit soda.

Spicy cucumber jalapeno margarita

1 ½ ounces Casamigos Blanco Tequila

1⁄3 ounce Cointreau

1⁄3 ounce simple syrup

¾ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

3 wheels cucumber

1 slice jalapeno

Muddle cucumber, jalapeno, lime juice, and simple syrup, and then combine with tequila, Cointreau, and ice in a shaker. Shake vigorously for 10 count. Finely strain into a rocks glass with or without a salted rim. Garnish with a slice of cucumber and a slice of jalapeno.

Prickly pear

1 ½ ounces Casamigos Blanco Tequila

¾ ounce Cointreau

½ to ¾ ounce of prickly pear puree

¾ ounce lime juice

½ ounce agave nectar

Shake all ingredients together with ice and serve on the rocks. Garnish with a lime wedge.

On the Rocks columnist Mary Ann Anderson is a Georgia-based writer. She can be reached via email: MaryAnnAndersonoutlook.com

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