Tequila and Van Halen are two things I’ve always liked but never really loved. Still, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to mix the two – earlier this afternoon, I went to Manhattan’s La Esquina for a tasting of Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo tequila, hosted by the man himself (and his right-hand tequila expert, Julio). The raison d’être: Earlier this year, Skyy bought a majority share of Cabo Wabo, which means you’ll soon be able to buy it just about everywhere. (Hagar is still a part-owner and plays an active role in the company.)
First things first: The Red Rocker knows his shit. When he wasn’t grilling Julio for more background on the agave, he was pointing out notes of butter and pastries in the brand’s high-end Cabo Uno. (“It smells like a French dessert,” he said. Indeed.) Also: The guy’s a pro, not a lush – he spat out his tequila like he was Paul Giamatti in Sideways. (Like that dude from Wings, I did not.) And Sammy clearly enjoys his gig – he couldn’t stop talking about the blanco, a sentiment I understood after sampling the brand’s pure, slightly limey version (pictured), distilled without aging. All of which begged the question: Would he rather write a great song or make a great tequila? “This is as satisfying as my music was,” he said. “And my tequila’s as big a hit as my last song.” As for my take: Cabo Wabo, it’s all right by me.