Star Powered Booze: The Celebrities In Your Liquor Cabinet

Ryan Reynolds – Aviation Gin

Reynolds is one of a very few, and the only celeb on this list, to invest in the herbaceous juniper infused elixir, gin. The actor, writer and producer, best known at the moment for his role as title character in “Deadpool”, has added another to his resume, he is now the owner of “Aviation Gin”

In an announcement on Twitter, Reynolds tweeted in his traditional tongue in cheek way, “In the long and in no way disastrous marriage of showbiz and alcohol, so happy to announce I’m the proud owner of a gin company.” In an official statement he said “Aviation is the best tasting gin in the world. Once I tried Aviation for the first time. I’ve spent my time finding some way to infiltrate the company,” He will play an active role in the day-to-day business and oversee creative direction of the company. “I did this for one simple reason: It’s the best damn gin on the planet.”

Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt – Miraval Rosé

The former superstar couple own and operate a vineyard that they purchased in 2012 for a reported $60 million. In a partnership with a French winemaking family, Jolie and Pitt now find themselves in the wine-making business with Miraval Rosé. The first 6,000 bottles of Miraval Rosé they produced sold out in just five hours when they first hit the market in 2012, and the wine isn’t just some star powered celebrity hobby, It’s actually really delicious and even took a spot on Wine Spectator’s list of the top 100 wines of 2013.

Despite the celebrity couple’s divorce, which was announced in September 2016, work at the estate has continued without interruption. There are currently three new Miraval wines in the works: a Provence red made from Syrah, a Mourvèdre and a Cabernet Franc. That’s in addition to the award-winning rosé and two whites now in production. According to Marc Perrin, who co-owns the estate “We have long-term projects and we’ve just released the latest vintage of Miraval rosé with ‘bottled by Pitt, Jolie and Perrin’ on the label” He continued “It is an investment for the family and the children. They [Jolie and Pitt] are involved in all aspects of running the estate”.

George Clooney – Casamigos Tequila

Clooney’s award-winning tequila, was created in 2013 in a collaboration with his friends, Nightclub operator Rande Gerber, and real estate developer Mike Meldman to create “the best-tasting, smoothest” tequila. Produced in Jalisco, Mexico, the liquor immediately received rave reviews, and when it was sold in 2017 to the spirits giant Diageo the deal was valued at up to $1 billion. $700 million in cash upfront and up to $300 million more if it hits sales targets over the next decade.

Justin Timberlake – Sauza 901 Tequila

Named after his Memphis, Tenn. hometown area code, Sauza 901 is Justin Timberlake’s own brand which first launched in 2009. He co-founded the company and merged it with Beam-Suntory and used the name of their tequila brand “Sauza”. Timberlake is involved primarily in a creative and marketing capacity. He has appeared in some of their advertisements and frequently tweets about the tequila to his nearly 40 millions followers.

Dan Aykroyd – Crystal Head Vodka

Dan Aykroyd, the former Blues Brother and Ghostbuster makes Vodka best known for being sold in a fun glass skull bottle. Aykroyd, in partnership with New York-based artist John Alexander, created a successful vodka that is seven-times distilled and clean in flavor.

Marilyn Manson – Mansinthe Absinthe

Made in Switzerland, Manson’s Absinthe is quite tasty. It won the gold medal at the 2008 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Marilyn Manson loves it and was heavily involved in the product’s development from flavor and blending, to creating the artwork on the label.

Ludacris – Conjure Cognac

Atlanta-based rapper/actor Christopher Bridges, known to most as Ludacris, has a very successful career closely connected to the party scene, so it is no surprise that he has backs a booze label. Cognac is a high end spirit and this one is crafted under the direction of Ludacris himself.

David Beckham – Haig Club Whisky

In 2014 Diagio announced the global launch of a new single grain Scotch whisky called “Haig Club”. The whisky is made at Cameron Bridge Distillery, one of the oldest grain distilleries in Scotland and was developed in partnership with soccer star David Beckham and entrepreneur Simon Fuller. The whisky is packaged in a blue glass bottle, inspired by the tradition of blenders using blue tasting glasses so the spirit can be reviewed on aroma and taste alone. Oh, and the guy next to him in the image is a shoe maker named Jimmy Choo, he’s a partner in the company too.

Diddy – Ciroc Vodka & DeLeon Tequila

The connection between rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs and the massive company Diageo to develop Ciroc Vodka is among the most successful celebrity partnerships in the history of liquor.  Ciroc’s net sales have grown from just under 50,000 cases per year when the partnership was announced to almost 2-million cases today.

The parties involved announced a tequila venture “DeLeon” in 2014. Combs said “I’m not just a celebrity endorser, I’m a brand builder. I’m a luxury brand builder.”

“They’re looking for something that tastes like their lifestyle,” he said. “It’s that trendsetter, that hipster, someone who’s looking for luxury and looking for something better.”

Bob Dylan – Heaven’s Door Spirits

Bob Dylan recently announced a collection of 3 whiskeys that feature his own artwork on the bottle. The blends are finished in “Cigar” Barrels from Vosges, France. Dylan said that he and his partner Marc Bushala “wanted to create a collection of American whiskeys that, in their own way, tell a story.” The products first three blends include a Straight Tennessee Bourbon, a Double Barrel Whiskey, and a Straight Rye Whiskey, each of which have won San Francisco World Spirit’s Competition gold medals.

Drake – Virginia Black Whiskey

In a joint venture back in 2016, the Grammy-winning Canadian rapper and spirits producer Brent Hocking launched Virginia Black Whiskey. This is an American Blended Bourbon, and is said to be “much smoother and sweeter than your average bourbon.”

 

 

 

Channing Tatum – Born and Bred Vodka

The actor says he found himself in the liquor business after struggling to find any “good American vodka.” So he partnered up with Idaho’s Grand Teton Distillery to launch the spirit that has “a smooth taste to it, like a cool feeling in your mouth”

 

 

 

Matthew McConaughey  – Wild Turkey Bourbon

Though not really an owner, McConaughey is the creative and campaign director for Wild Turkey, and is responsible for writing, directing and sometimes starring in TV and digital ad campaigns. His involvement is actually very similar to “Diddy”s and hopefully with the “Longbranch” version that he’s put his name on gaining traction amidst positive reviews, he’ll see similar success.

George Straight – Código 1530

“Celebrating a successful show with a shot of tequila backstage has been a concert ritual for a long time now,” he said. “This year, I’m resolving to drink more water, and better tequila,” the country music legend said. This award winning tequila began importing and winning awards in 2016.

Sammy Hagar – Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum

Sammy Hagar is most well known from his time with the band Van Halen, but it’s possible that he’ll also be remembered for his effect of celebrity backed craft liquor.

After the success of his Cabo Wabo tequila, which he sold for a total of $91 million, Hagar found a new port in the spirit industry by creating a collection of rums that captured the essence of Hawaii. “It is truly ‘The Spirit of Aloha,’” he says.

Adam Levine (and Sammy Hagar, again) – Santo Mezquila

Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, and one of the hosts of televisions “The Voice” has put himself in the liquor business with Sammy Hagar behind a new kind of spirit “Mezquila”.

Tequila is produced using only 100% blue agave, whereas mezcal can be made from any agave plant. The result of the mixture is a “smooth, full agave, rich tequila flavor with a touch of smoky-sweetness that you can only find with Mezcal – perfect for sipping,” Levine said

Kenny Chesney – Blue Chair Bay Rum

Country star Kenny Chesney is the sole owner and chief creative officer of this Caribbean distilled brand. The flavors of rum they offer includes 9 varieties, like white, coconut, spiced, and key lime. All of which are said to be made in “authentic beachside distilleries” .

 

 

 

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Happy National Daiquiri Day!

On July 19th, people across the country (and around the world) gather around their glasses to salute one of the original tropical cocktails, The Daiquiri!

This refreshing and tropical summertime favorite (pronounced “Dye-keer-ee” not “Da-kwer-ee”) is believed to have been created by a man named Jennings Cox who was working at a mine in the village of Daiquiri, on an Cuban island in 1898. The story is that one hot summer day after a long shift of mining the drink was created from the simple ingredients that were close and hand. The original Daiquiri was just rum, lime juice, and sugar.

In 1909, Admiral Lucius W. Johnson, tried Cox’s drink at the Venus bar in Havana, Cuba and subsequently introduced it to the Army and Navy Club in Washington, D.C.

It was here that a Congressman by the name of William A. Chanler found it and he is now given credit for it’s continued popularity after introducing this cocktail in clubs in New York.

According to another legend, Ernest Hemingway inspired the creation of the frozen daiquiri at El Floridita in 1940s Havana. The bartender’s name was Constantino Ribalaigua, and he is often considered the true creator of the frozen daiquiri. The drink now known as a Daiquiri floridita is made with both lime and grapefruit juice and uses maraschino liqueur in place if sugar. Hemingway often drank his daiquiris by the double, earning the nickname “Papa Doble” with a supposed record of 16 doubles in one sitting.

The Daiquiri is also known for being one of the favorite drinks of President John F. Kennedy who supposedly imported still enjoyed them made with Cuban rum despite the trade embargo.

The main ingredients of true daiquiri are rum, lime juice, and sugar but the “Daiquiri” no longer references a single drink, but instead it is the name for a family of rum and citrus based cocktails. They are popular in a variety of flavors ranging from strawberry, to blueberry, pineapple, and banana, made with a variety of rums, and are delicious up, on the rocks, or blended.

Some of our favorite recipes are:

The Hemingway Daiquiri:

Just a bit of bite and acidity make this cocktail the go to drink after dinner on the veranda in the ocean breeze.

see the recipe

 

Pineapple Daiquiri:

With more subtle sweetness this drink is a gentle tropical beauty of a cocktail to sip on a hot day.

see the recipe

 

The Midori Melon Daiquiri:

Sweet but smooth, this concoction is perfect for a pool party or late night of dancing.

see the recipe

 

 

 

Red, White, and Blue Daiquiri:

The flavors of watermelon, coconut, and strawberry are blended together to make a fun festive summertime drink.

see the recipe

Custom Cocktailing For The Hollywood Fringe Festival


Bryan’s Bar during Hollywood Fringe Opening Night 2018 / Photo by Matt Kamimura

Pierce and Luna is proud to create custom cocktails for The Hollywood Fringe Festival Sponsored Drinks Program. The sponsored drinks program allows fringe participants to feature a drink themed after their show at the infamous Bryan’s Bar. Participants submit a base liquor of their choice as well as their favorite mixers and we create a specialty drink that captures the flavor of their show and gives them a delicious way to promote their production! We have happily created over 60 cocktails for the LA theatre family since 2017 and look forward to many more.

Click here for more information on the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

Midori

Let’s talk Midori!

This bright green Japanese melon flavored liqueur, like most, is fairly low in alcohol content, just over 20% abv (42 proof) always pops up on cocktail menus twice a year, once for St. Patricks and again around Halloween but is one of our favorites for summertime because it makes a refreshingly fruity drink that sips well poolside or at a bbq.

The base for Midori is made from grain neutral spirits (with a bit of brandy). It’s signature flavor is derived from a several varieties of sweet Japanese melons and more similar to honeydew or cantaloupe than watermelon, and the color (sad to say) is mostly food coloring.

Midori (the Japanese word for green) was the brand name added to Suntory’s Hermes Melon liqueur when it began selling in the United States in 1978. That same year it was featured in the cocktail that won the US Bartender’s Guild championships “the Universe” by tiki cocktail legend Bobby Batugo.

Midori is a very sweet and heavy. Tastes great as an accent flavor and works well as a float for a sour or cream drink but can be a bit too much on it’s own. If you’re looking for a sweet summery sipper try it with rum (Bacardi silver is our favorite) and sprite/7up.

Image courtesy of Brenda Lewis Gomez, via SCVhistory.com

Amaro

If you’ve ever been out drinking with a bartender, they’ve probably convinced you to try drinking some Montenegro, Campari, Aperol, or the “Bartender’s Handshake” Fernet Branca. One of two reactions were likely, 1: you enjoyed it and appreciated the complex herbal flavors, or 2: you wanted to slap them for not warning you that you’d be drinking something that’s akin in flavor to cough syrup. Either way you’ve just experienced an Amaro!

Amaro actually isn’t a brand or even specific type of alcohol, it’s essentially a classification of a variety of spirits that has been around for hundreds of years.

Amaro literally translated from Italian means “bitter”, and Amari (the plural form of the word) can be used to describe any herbal liqueur. These range in flavor from lighter orange and citrus flavors to bold heavy anise or mint, and have alcohol content ranging from just above 20 proof to nearly 100.

Generally drank as a “digestif” after a meal these spirits are presumed to help the body digest and calm any indigestion. There are also legends of hangover prevention associated with them, though we have no personal research to prove the truth of these claims.

Traditionally consumed without mixers, and slowly trickling into the cocktail scene since around 1920. Amari have become more and more understood and available in recent years. This means they are quickly finding their way into a variety of adventurous and herbaceous cocktails.

Some of our favorite Amari and their Cocktails are:

Aperol (11% abv): Red in color, orangey, herbal and wood flavors blend well into this very mixable amari.

Aperol Spritz

Light, refreshing and easily sippable, close your eyes and the classic Italian aperitif cocktail might make you feel like you’re on a balcony with a view of the Mediterranean.

3 oz Prosecco

2 oz Aperol

1 oz Soda

Orange Garnish

 

Averna (29% abv): The flavor profile here is lighter with crisp notes of pine, juniper, and licorice

Black Manhattan

This cocktail is a newer spin on a classic. Taking the traditional Manhattan and switched out the sweet vermouth with Averna resulting in a richer, more earthy, more herbal finish.

2 oz rye whiskey

1 oz Averna

2 dashes angostura bitters

 

Campari (24% abv): Bright, vibrant and above all bitter, Campari has a good middle of the citrus-herb spectrum flavor.

Negroni

Classic cocktail exemplified, this drinks origins are direct from Italy itself, as a result of the popularity of the Americano in 1920, Count Camillo Negroni asked his local barman to add some gin, and thus the Negroni was born.                  

1 oz gin

1 oz Campari

1 oz sweet vermouth

 

Cynar (16.5% abv): Full of citrus, lavender, sage, and basil flavors, means that Cynar tastes a bit like walking through an Italian herb garden with a basket of fresh lemons, and that’s not a bad thing.

Presbyterians Revenge

Lemon and Grapefruit accentuate the citrus notes of Cynar while balancing the smoke and wood notes of the scotch.

2 oz Scotch

1 oz Cynar

.5 oz sweet and sour

Squeeze of Grapefruit

 

Fernet Branca (39% abv): Definitely on the herbal end of the spectrum, Fernet kicks hard with menthol, cinnamon and anise flavors strong enough to “put hair on your chest”

Hanky Panky

The Hanky Panky was originally created in 1903, by Ada Coleman at the Savoy hotel. A boozy balance of gin, Fernet Branca, and sweet vermouth, this classic cocktail packs a smooth and savory punch.

1.5 oz gin

1.5 oz sweet vermouth

2 dashes Fernet Branca

Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Montenegro (23% abv): A fairly lightly flavored Amaro, rich in citrus and vanilla notes.

Monte Pres

This boozy bitey beverage is one of our favorite after meal cocktails, the ginger flavors pair harmoniously with the fragrant aromatics in the Montenegro and create a delicious digestif.

1.5 oz Amaro Montenegro

2 oz Ginger Beer

2 oz Soda

 

Nonino (35% abv): Sweeter than most Amari, orange and mint are the most forward flavors.

Nonino Fashioned

An interesting twist on a classic, this cocktail came straight from the Grappa Nonino folks. Sweet, strong, bitter, and smooth perfectly matched in this drink.

See recipe here

 

 

Jägermeister (35% abv) (Yes, that Jager): Though not technically a true amaro, it’s herbal qualities of anise and its syrupy sweetness make it worth mentioning and it works well in a cocktail.

Surfer on Acid

You’d expect a Jagermeister based cocktail like this to be something you’d order from a beach bar on spring break, but the flavors are actually very mature in this almost Tiki cocktail.

1 oz Jägermeister

1 oz Coconut rum

2 oz Pineapple juice