In March, Tequila Aficionado Magazine attended the 28th International Nightclub & Bar/Beverage Retailer Convention and Trade Show
hosted by Restaurant Marketing Magazine. It was an incredible show to say the least.
Among the many tequila companies represented, we had an opportunity to visit with Sammy Hagar from Cabo Wabo tequila.
Tequila Aficionado: How do you feel about the success of Cabo Wabo?
Sammy Hagar: I think it is phenomenal, everyone has dreams and stuff and that is just one of the ones that I had no idea it was going to be such an instant success and I know it was the best tequila I ever made in my life; I mean that I had ever tasted in my life but I had no idea that everyone would get it and I am happy about it.
TA: What are your plans for this year, any major promotions of Cabo Wabo?
SH: Always, the way I live my life is the Cabo Wabo lifestyle so everything I do, it promotes itself because I don’t have to go out and say I am selling this, I am Mr. Cabo Wabo! So I just be there and I don’t have to try to hard sell anything because I am not about that. I am not about holding up a carton and saying “drink this because I say it’s good.” This is what I drink, I drink CaboWabo and that’s why .. , it’s not an endorsement, I own the company if you know what I mean. So, between the club, my stage show, which is built around the CaboWabo, and the tequila – it’s like a snow ball thing, it all promotes itself.
TA: Explain to us what is the Cabo Wabo lifestyle?
SH: Well the Cabo Wabo lifestyle is pretty much, spicy food, margaritas and shots, having fun, a lot of beach time.
TA: You are in your beach wear right now!
SH: Well this is the way I dress. If I can’t dress like this, I go somewhere else where I can. I don’t like wool, you know It’s the Cabo Wabo lifestyle. I don’t like hats, I don’t like socks, I don’t even like shoes, I don’t even like clothes period but you know you gotta wear a t-shirt and some shorts. That’s it – that’s CaboWabo to me.
TA: What got you into the Tequila’s?
SH: I have been living in Mexico for 18 years off-and-on, part-time I’d say, and went to the town of Tequila about 16, 17 years ago and it blew my mind when I tasted real handmade Tequila. Before then I had been drinking like everyone else the stuff that you go, “I will never drink that as long as I live,” and you have gotten sick in college on rot-gut tequila, but once you taste really good tequila, as good as any fine cognac or armagnac or scotch or anything else so I got turned on to that and I became a new man.
TA: Do you have any mentors that you follow to get into Tequila? Any mentors you can talk about?
SH: Well I would say the first time I went to the town of Tequila and I tasted a little factor called Delahancia, it was about 14 years ago and I was building the Cabo Wabo and I was over there looking for boutique Tequilas that I could have in my club that you could not buy. And it was the best tequila I had ever tasted in my life and since then, they don’t exist anymore, I am sure they got bought out by some big boys or something, and it’s probably some big factory now that it is no longer handmade, but at the time I was on a search to find that kind of tequila and they made me CaboWabo for a long time. They didn’t make it Cabo Wabo, they made me tequila in jugs they would send me for my club and everyone that tasted it flipped out. So when I finally found Miravalle, the factory that makes CaboWabo, and that’s all they make now, but they had a couple other little brands at the time and now they just make CaboWabo. Miravalle said “what do you want it to taste like” and I kept tasting and the chemists there kept making me different tequilas and I would taste them and taste them until I tasted what I thought was close to that, thing it was almost like peanut butter, it was very “caramelly”. I then started liking simpler, less aged tequilas, quite honestly, and I am almost like a blanco guy now.
TA: A purist?
SH: Yes, in a way I am. Because you like the taste of the tequila and I don’t like four-year old aged tequilas, they taste like scotch and I am not a big scotch drinker, I am a tequila drinker. So, that is kind of where my head has gone and in the future, but originally I was going for that one-year aged killing-taste that Delahancia was. So he is my mentor but I don’t know where they are those people.
TA: So do you consider yourself a Tequila Aficionado?
SH: Oh absolutely! Last night I was in a restaurant in Palm Springs and I asked the bartender, (he didn’t know who I was or nothing, and I was with my nephews and my brother, we were out having boys-night-out) and said “hey, do you got any tequila,” and he said “sure man,” I said “you got CaboWabo” and he goes “yeah we do that’s really good tequila, I hear a lot about it. Have you had it?” and I am going “no, never had it.” So I was doing that with the guy and I sat there and I tasted it and I mean, I didn’t see the bottle, he poured it and I thought yeah this guy could be “bulls—–g” right. I smelled it,… instant recognition! I said this is CaboWabo, I could tell you anywhere in the world that this is CaboWabo, then we ordered a Patron and we ordered a Don Julio, we order Porfidio, we ordered all these and smelled them all next to each other and CaboWabo is the best tequila in the world. That is my honest opinion, you know it’s all about taste. It’s what your taste is, well for me that is the kind of tequila I like. You know with wine you might say I am a burgundy guy or I am a Bordeaux, or I like cheval blanc over Latour, it’s all a matter of taste, for me CaboWabo is the best Tequila in the world.