How particular are you about the ice you use for your drinks? “Nothing says the party is over more than when you run out of ice. It’s definitely one of those things that I always have plenty of. Big cubes, small cubes—it’s all ice. I’m not that fancy.”
What are your rules for making drinks with good tequila? “I think it’s important that if you’re going to mix it, use all fresh fruits as opposed to anything that’s canned or bottled. I always squeeze fresh limes or lemons. I try to stay away from anything bottled. If you don’t have to, you shouldn’t—especially with a really good tequila or any spirit.”
Are shots ever appropriate? “They are. What happens lots of times is I’m out at a restaurant or bar somewhere and people know that George [Clooney] and I own Casamigos. And they want to buy us shots. We’re happy to drink it that way, but we prefer to sip it and enjoy it.”
Is there any spirit that you don’t drink anymore? “Anything that is really sweet. When we were younger, but still of legal drinking age, it would be things like Goldschläger or peppermint schnapps. Things like that are not something I ever enjoyed.”
Do you think higher-end spirits should be used in cocktails? “I don’t love mixed drinks. And I think if you have a great-tasting, great-quality liquor, whether it is a Scotch or a tequila, I feel that it should be enjoyed straight and not covered up with juice. Some people prefer that, but I’m a purist. I want to drink it the way it’s intended. Plus, if I’m drinking Casamigos or my wife [Cindy Crawford] is drinking it, we don’t mix it and then we’re not hungover in the morning. I feel that lots of times when you do mix it, especially if you’re drinking it with juices or something sugary, there’s definitely a good probability that you might be hungover in the morning. So I prefer to go the 100-percent pure agave route.”
No doubt you and Clooney have had some epic nights. Do you have a hangover cure? “We’ve definitely had some late nights. We usually feel good in the morning. But like any morning whether we’ve been drinking or not, I’ll go for a hike or I’ll work out and have a good breakfast. It’s always good to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.”
Do you always carry tequila with you when you travel? “We’re fortunate, because the brand has grown so much in the few years that it’s been out, it’s in most places. But we always do travel with it. It’s either in my wife’s purse or in the back of my car or in my pocket. Just in case. You never know.”
How do you like to fix your Margarita? “I just [add] fresh lime juice. I don’t like to have it sweet, so I won’t add agave nectar. Instead I’ll just do a little orange juice.”
Who is the better bartender, you or Clooney? “I probably know how to make more drinks than George. But George is a quick learner. If he needed to make anything, I’m sure he could figure it out pretty fast.”
He most likely doesn’t need to play bartender for too many people, right?: “He likes to. He’s a good host!”
In 2013, Rande Gerber started Casamigos Tequila with actor George Clooney and Mike Meldman. Prior to that, Gerber ran a number of nightclubs and bars around the country.
Interview has been condensed and edited.