Here is an honest statement of fact: I love Channing Tatum. Love him. It’s not in a Tiger Beat, put-his-poster-on-the-wall kind of way. I’m just purely, irrationally fond of him. When he makes good choices, I’m kinda proud, like I was somehow involved? It makes no sense. But it also means that when I read that he had a famous-person-alcohol, I immediately, totally, irrationally wanted a bottle. Why? No reason. That’s the thing about celebrities. They are professionally charming, and they use that like freakin’ mind control or something to make you want things. And in this case, unless you’re allergic to potato-based alcohol beverages, that’s pretty harmless.
The celebrities of the world, they’re not content to merely drink the alcohol nowadays. They often attach their names to it, and are sometimes even more directly involved. We’ve collected a few of the more notable celebrity booze offerings here with some thoughts on their origins, how they taste, and how they might best be enjoyed. This is by no means an exhaustive list—such a task would take quite awhile and result in an extremely lengthy, and probably boring, read. Consider it instead a sort of children’s treasury, provided the children are over 21 and consuming responsibly.
So read, and drink, on—and keep in mind that perception affects our experiences, so if you irrationally love Channing Tatum, odds are his vodka will taste slightly better to you than it might otherwise. Such is the power of the professionally charming.
What it is: Quadruple-distilled from peaches and cream corn and blended with “the pristine water of Newfoundland, Canada,” this vodka is then filtered seven times, three of which are through “semi-precious crystals known as Herkimer diamonds.” What does that do? The short answer, according to the brand’s taste-testers, can be summarized as “no idea, but it definitely tastes better this way.” The most distinctive thing about it, however, is the bottle—a crystal skull designed by artist John Alexander, who created the spirit with Aykroyd.
But how does it taste?: Like vodka, basically. There’s a little alcohol burn when tasted on its own. One of those vodkas that, while tasteless (as vodkas are meant to be), has a sort of sweetness about it.
How to drink it: Basically disappears with a mixer. This isn’t a spirit you buy because it’s so distinctive. This is a spirit you buy because you love the bottle, or because you love The Blues Brothers. Best served with a good tonic, or maybe a nice fruit liqueur—I tried it with Koval’s Cranberry Gin liqueur, which was delicious—and paired with 1997’s Grosse Pointe Blank.
Price: Varies, typically around $40.
What it is: A blended Irish whiskey aged in bourbon barrels for at least three years. In this case, the blend is of grain and malt whiskeys, the latter from historic Irish distillery Bushmills. It takes its name from the Dublin 12 neighborhood in which Conor McGregor—the UFC prize fighter—grew up.
But how does it taste?: When Proper No. Twelve, which has been extremely popular, was released, there were a number of smug takedowns (this Insider piece is but one example). But here’s the thing—this is fine. Not exceptional, not something I’d ever want to sip with an ice cube, but fine. A lot of the reaction seems, to me, to be about people wanting to dunk on it because McGregor kind of trades on being an asshole. But rumors of this bottle being gag-inducing swill are greatly exaggerated. It’s much sweeter than I expected, though a lot of that comes through primarily on the nose. There are some vanilla notes and a slight smokiness, but no real complexity or warmth. It tastes a bit thin, and is… well, it’s whiskey.
How to drink it: Another one I’d strongly advise mixing. I was out of good ginger beer at home, so tried this with just a regular ginger ale, and it tasted just like the average whiskey and ginger you’d get from a bar. Best served with a really cold mixer and, I don’t know, some Pogues records? Side note: The Pogues also have an Irish whiskey. It’s good!
Price: Varies, typically around $30.
What it is: Per the Singani website, this is a 500-year-old spirit made in the Bolivian Andes that’s technically classified as a brandy because “some imperialist bureaucrats... didn’t really to their diligence by drinking a lot of this.” The “this” is a “clear, mixable spirit” that’s “distilled from the white Muscat of Alexandria grape.” Every time anyone has ever described it to me, they’ve called it an all-purpose spirit, or the Swiss Army Knife of spirits, stuff like that. In short, it’s a distinctive spirit that nevertheless works as a substitute for lots of other spirits when you’re lacking something for a recipe. It took Soderbergh seven years to find a way to import this beauty, which he was introduced to when shooting the film Che.
But how does it taste?: It’s cool, man. Singani 63 smells considerably sweeter than it is, and it has a softness to it that reminds me of a mead, sort of, but it’s much drier than you’d expect. Very floral and herbal, and the taste tends to linger. It’s always tasted a little different to me every time I’ve had it, and I wonder if some of that is based on whether or not it’s been left to breathe, and/or the temperature. Very cool, regardless. Plenty of people drink this straight, though that’s not something that appeals to me.
How to drink it: As mentioned above, this works as a substitute when you want to make a particular cocktail and are missing an ingredient. I doubt it could make a gin-free gin and tonic, but it would be good with tonic all the same. I’ve had it in a Negroni, that was great; I’ve had it in an Old Fashioned, also great; I’ve seen, though not tried, it in a margarita, and I bet that would be great, too. Just a super cool spirit.
Price: Varies, typically around $35.
What it is: “The world’s highest-rated gin, with 97 points from Wine Enthusiast.” This Oregon gin puts juniper in the backseat, instead drawing its botanical notes from cardamom, coriander, lavender, anise seed, sarsaparilla, and two types of orange peel. It’s made with a “proprietary maceration process that produces a pure medley of botanical flavor.” Handsome Canadian Ryan Reynolds bought “a stake” in the company, and Reynolds is now described in the company’s official material as its owner.
But how does it taste?: Good! It tastes good. If you prefer a gin that’s not terribly juniper-forward but also not overwhelmingly herbaceous, this is a good bet. That said, the juniper doesn’t totally disappear either, which makes this a great bar-cart gin—it should work beautifully in all manner of cocktails. Still, of all the famous-person-liquors I tried, this is only one of two I’d sip on its own.
How to drink it: I tried this sucker with Fever Tree tonic water (delicious) and in, appropriately enough, an Aviation. Both were delicious, especially when served with that Nickelback-centric Once Upon A Deadpool trailer.
You could also drink it as part of this ridiculous gift set, which will set you back $850, and includes luxury headphones and a fancy cocktail set, all tucked in an intimidating aluminum case that looks like it contains the nuclear football or something.
Price: Varies, typically around $33.
What it is: A craft vodka made from Idaho potatoes and glacial water from the Grand Tetons, which is 20 times distilled and charcoal-filtered in small batches. You can try this beauty—sadly not named 21 Drink Street—in a bottle, or when seeing Magic Mike Live, where, naturally, it is served to the swooning masses. This is made by Grand Teton Distillery, and was discovered by Tatum and Jack Maloney when they went in search of the world’s best vodka, which they believed was made in the United States.
But how does it taste?: Another good one. Distilling something 20 times is ridiculous, but the results are pretty solid, so who am I to argue? It’s pretty smooth, and leaves a kind of sweet feeling on the tongue, if that makes sense. And I drank quite a bit of it last night and woke up feeling great, so thanks, Channing! I am emotionally invested in your success in ways I can’t explain or justify! Hope you’re doing well! Magic Mike XXL is an underrated gem and we’ll be calling it a classic in a decade!
How to drink it: I tasted most of these spirits with friends, and the consensus was that if you’re going to drink a famous person’s vodka straight, it should be this one, but we all preferred it with that Fever Tree tonic. Delicious. Lively. Dangerously easy-drinking, but again, I feel great today. Best served with tonic, ice, and a showing of Magic Mike XXL, an underrated gem we’ll be calling a classic in a decade. Feel free to follow up with the two Jump Streets and some more vodka.
Price: Varies, typically around $30.
What it is: The tequila that made Mr. Clooney the world’s highest-paid actor over a period of time during which he made zero movies. Casamigos aims to make tequilas and mezcals you can sip straight, and which “don’t have to be covered up with salt or lime.” It’s made from Blue Weber Agave grown in Jalisco, Mexico; those agave piñas get slow-roasted for 72 hours before undergoing an 80-hour fermenetation process with proprietary yeast. The blanco, which is what I picked up, then rests for two months.
But how does it taste?: This is a pretty solid bottle. It’s smooth and soft, with just a teeny tiny sting on the end that warms rather than burns. It’s sweet, but not overwhelmingly so, and crisp, almost refreshing. You’ll probably get some citrus; Casamigos also says there are vanilla notes, but I didn’t get those at all. This is the other spirit on this list I’d sip by itself with an ice cube, but it would also make a terrific margarita that wouldn’t need a whole ton to dress it up.
How to drink it: See above. Ice cube, or maybe a very strong marg. Pairs well with Good Night And Good Luck, and as a bonus, once you’ve had a few, you’ll absolutely be able to sit through the Ocean’s sequels.
Price: I paid $40 at the shop around the corner from me; the reposado and añejo go for more.
Celebrity Rosé-Off—Brad & Angelina vs. Jon Bon Jovi
Hampton Water, by Jon Bon Jovi: A wine from the French Mediterranean region, made from Grenache, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre grapes. Recently made news by earning a spot on Wine Spectator’s annual top 100 list—and it was the highest-ranked rosé (at #83). Dry with a mineral taste. Pale pink, pretty bottle, silly name.
Miraval Rosé, by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie: Yes, they still own Miraval together. Per W Magazine: One asset they will not be dividing up is their wine estate, Miraval, which houses the chateau where the couple exchanged vows on August 23, 2014… The parents of six are going to continue to use Miraval “as an investment for their children.” A rosé from Côtes De Provence, made from Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, and Rolle grapes. Fresh fruit and floral notes, insanely well-balanced, a beautiful light pink color in another gorgeous bottle.
The winner: Apologies to Jersey’s beloved son, but the verdict was unanimous. Every Takeout, A.V. Club, and Onion staffer who tried these wines preferred Brad and Angelina’s “divorcé wine” (thanks for that, Erik Adams of The A.V. Club). That said, Hampton Water isn’t a dreadful bottle, by any means. I can see how it would be very refreshing on a hot, hot day in the rich, rich Hamptons. But for drinking at home—or, you know, at the place you exchanged vows with your ex in 2014—Miraval takes the cake.
Price: Hampton Water is usually listed at around $20, while Miraval is typically closer to $23. The latter is a steal.