No Scotch? No whiskey? “God, no! That’s rough stuff.”
Do you ever drink while you play? “On stage, a lot of times, because I want the energy, I’ll drink a Dr Pepper with white rum. It’s my drink on the drum riser. Take a big swig and get a little boost and a bump all at the same time. I call it a Pepper Upper. And there’s also no acid in it and acid is not good for singing.”
All serious tequila drinkers have their own Margarita recipe. What is yours? “I like the juice of a whole lime. I try to double that with a sweetener, which will be half Cointreau and half damiana tequila liqueur. Damiana is that herb, which grows wild in Baha. It’s a freaking aphrodisiac. The bottle is a pregnant woman and it’s true. The stuff is for real. You mix that together. If you don’t have Cointreau, then I like to use some fresh orange juice, but just a splash. Orange really goes good with tequila. If you want it a little sweeter you put in a little squeeze of agave syrup.”
Any other advice for making a Margarita? “I like serving it straight up. I don’t like leaving it on the rocks because it starts getting diluted. And once any drink is diluted past the way it was made, it doesn’t taste as good to me. The only problem is that it gets warm and then it doesn’t taste as good either. So you got to have a small amount and you have to drink it fast. So you make small batches. You don’t make a big one.”
Do you like your Margarita with salt on the rim? “I’m a salt guy. Not a lot. Not all the way around. But you got to put a little salt on your tongue before you drink tequila. I think it’s very necessary if you really want to taste the sweetness and it brings the true agave right out.”
Are you particular about the type of salt you use? “I’m so particular that I make my own salt in Cabo from the ocean right in front of my house. I serve it at the Cabo Wabo Cantina with our Margaritas and I bring it home with me. I have my own plane, so I fly privately. But they bring the customs guys on the plane and if you don’t think when they see a couple gallons of freaking white flakey stuff they don’t get a little nervous and start asking questions. So I just write ‘salt’ on my bucket. I go ‘Here, this is salt. You want to taste it?’ They’re used to me now. It’s all good. But the first couple of times it was a little fishy. Bringing the dogs up.”
I can only imagine. “Some beach bum–looking dude riding around in a beautiful private plane. Something’s up here!”
What do you usually keep in your liquor cabinets at your various homes? “In Mexico, I probably got more tequila. And then, of course, my Sammy’s Beach Bum Rum I have everywhere. In Hawaii, in Maui, I have my biggest collection of rum. I not only have my rum, but I get rum from everywhere.”
Over the years you’ve had some long nights and seen some great parties. Do you have a favorite hangover cure? “Sleep in. Lots of water and stay in bed as long as you can. If you wake up at six in the morning and you went to bed at two and you over drank, you’re going to feel like shit the whole day.”
Next month, Sammy Hagar will host his 25th-annual Birthday Bash at his Cabo Wabo Cantina, in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and will also join NBC’s The Voice as a mentor on Adam Levine’s team during the Battle Rounds airing the weeks of October 10th and October 17th.
Interview has been condensed and edited.