Sammy Hagar is a man who loves his tequila. After opening Cabo Wabo in Cabo San Lucas in the 1990s, he began selling a handmade tequila he ordered at the club. An importer brought it to the states in the 2000s, and it quickly became a hit, and number two sold tequila in the United States.
Meanwhile, before Guy Fieri became a Food Network star, he sold a lot of Cabo Wabo at his restaurants in California. So much so that he won a competition where the prize was one of Sammy Hagar’s guitars – and the chance to meet him. He became “a great mentor, a great big brother” for Fieri.
In 2007, Hagar called Fieri to let him in on a good news / bad news situation: he had sold Cabo Wabo for $ 100 million.
“I said if you ever do it again, I will join,” Fieri told me earlier this year.
Hagar had a non-compete clause for several years before he could return to the agave game. He first launched a mezcal-tequila hybrid in 2017 with Adam Levine, who worked with third-generation distillery Juan Eduardo Nuñez, with whom he had first worked at Cabo Wabo. So in 2019, Red Rocker worked with Fieri to launch Santo Blanco, and this year a Reposado.
To promote the new Reposado, Hagar and Fieri have hosted a couple of cocktail classes and given interviews that feel like an extension of friends just hanging out and vibrating.
With Hagar’s tequila experience and Fieri’s skills in the kitchen, they have a few tips to make your cocktails better.
Make smaller margaritas, and drink them straight up.
“Water will kill a drink,” Hagar said. “That’s why I do not like to put ice cream in my margaritas. I’d rather have a small margarita without ice cream, because the ice cream is starting to melt. ”
“I only have six of them,” Fieri asked.
But if you serve them that way, be sure to shake them long enough to get them cooled down and add some dilution.
“Shaker should almost start to hurt your hand, it’s so cold,” Fieri said of how you know if you’ve shaken a cocktail long enough.
Make sure you only salt the outside of your glass, and salt just half of it.
Salt on an edge of a glass helps to awaken the palate. But when people groove the top of the glass, both inside and out, the salt begins to slide down into the drink.
“It falls in there and changes the taste of the drink before you even get it in the palate,” Fieri said.
Salting only half the glass allows you to get a little with a sip or go without.
Use agave instead of simple syrup.
“Sammy just told me we’re getting ready to make our own agave nectar,” Fieri said. “It’s one of the greatest things you can ever use because it has the sweetness of honey, made from agave [the same plant tequila is made from], but does not have the easily definable taste of honey. It’s super amazing and super natural. ”
Season it with a Caliente Margarita.
“Our Caliente Margarita is one of my favorite drinks I’ve ever had in my entire life,” Fieri said. “We confuse raw jalapeño with cilantro and a little agave nectar and Cointreau. You get the lovely fresh herbaceousness from jalapeno and cilantro. If you want to taste a dynamite margarita, this is the one you go with. ”
Try one of Sammy’s favorite riffs on a classic margarita.
Damiana is a shrub that produces small yellow flowers – and grows in Hagar’s garden in his house in Baja. It is believed to be an aphrodisiac and a Damiana liqueur is sold in a bottle shaped like a pregnant woman. To make a Damiana Margarita, sub-out half of triple sec or Cointreau in the drink and use Damiana instead of a subtle herbal tone and a little sweetness.