Made By A House Of Friends For A World Of Friends
Longtime buds George Clooney and Rande Gerber turn their love for tequila-filled-nights into Casamigos
By Steven Joseph
“We owe great times to good friends…to the glasses that spark conversation…to the ideas that then pour out,” said nightlight entrepreneur Rande Gerber (husband of super model Cindy Crawford) about his tequila-filled nights with longtime friend actor George Clooney. “[Our idea for Casamigos] came from a night like that and, somehow, survived until the morning after. To make our own tequila, one we’d be proud to pass round, wasn’t meant to leave our house. But since we made this for friends, we thought it couldn’t hurt to make a few more batches.”
The Story of Casamigos
Casamigos, colloquial Spanish for ‘House of Friends,’ is an ultra-premium tequila. Gerber and Clooney fashioned three types of Casamigos Tequila – Blanco, Reposado and Anejo – each bottle as unique as the men who made it.
The two friends first conceived Casamigos as a drink for themselves. “George and I were spending a lot of time in Mexico. And as you do when you’re in Mexico, we were drinking a lot of tequila….but we never found one that was perfect for us,” said Gerber. Tired of waking up with hangovers or having to cover the taste of tequila with salt and lime, Gerber contacted a distillery and started talking about flavor profiles. “We just started making bottles for ourselves to drink and everybody liked it so we felt that this might be something we should sell.” Gerber and Clooney decided to name their tequila after their homes in Mexico and dubbed it, ‘Casamigos.’ “Two years and 700 samples later, the tequila was perfect,” Rande said.
Casamigos is produced in the highlands of the Jalisco region of Mexico from 100 percent Blue Weber agaves. “Our master distiller hand-picks each agave, ensuring only the best are used for Casamigos,” boasted Gerber.
After the pinas are roasted for three days, they undergo an 80-hour fermentation process, where most traditional tequilas only have an average of 48. This creates a unique flavor distinct to Casamigos. “We preferred to put our money into what is inside the bottle as opposed to the actual bottle because Casamigos is brought to you by those who drink it,” Rande explained.
The two amigos pride themselves on doing things their own way. “We don’t follow any rules or look at other brands, we do everything in-house,” said Gerber. The Casamigos Reposado even boasts an oaky flavor and smooth profile that it attains through its resting process in reconditioned old American white oak barrels that once housed fine whiskey. “The minute we got those samples, we knew it was perfect” said Clooney.
Rolling Up Our Sleeves
Despite being a Hollywood mega-star and an entertainment business mogul, Clooney and Gerber maintain an active role in Casamigos. “It’s a big part of our life and lifestyle. It just flows naturally into our everyday life and definitively adds to the good times and great memories,” Gerber said. He insists that nothing goes into a bottle until he and George have tasted it first. “Each batch is signed off by George and me and then the bottles are numbered.”
After all of their accomplishments in other fields, Casamigos still holds a very special place in George’s and Rande’s hearts. “The day we received bottle number 700, George and I drank the entire bottle with a smile. That was just the beginning of what turned into the greatest job of my life,” Rande remembered.
Clooney, perhaps best known for playing Dr. Doug Ross on TV’s ER and suave conman Danny Ocean in the Ocean’s Trilogy, wasn’t even always a tequila drinker. “We used to drink a lot of vodka. Then we sort of got to a point where we were spending a lot of time in Mexico and you really are just drinking tequila down there,” said Clooney.
Road Trip To Jalisco
Recently, Gerber and Clooney took their annual motorcycle trip and decided to visit the distillery in Jalisco. “We always love spending time with our team in Mexico drinking, laughing and telling stories,” said Gerber. He believes the future can only get better for the young spirit. “Experts agree Casamigos is the best tasting tequila in the world; the awards and accolades we’ve been receiving…say it all.”
As for the best way to enjoy their tequila, Gerber prefers his neat or on the rocks. “It mixes well with anything, but Casamigos is so refined and smooth, we prefer to sip it all night long.” Clooney insists there’s no right or wrong way to drink Casamigos, either. “On the rocks, by the shot, at times straight from the bottle. Tequila-filled nights with friends is how Casamigos was born.”