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Dipsology - Beyond The Basics: The Expanding World of Celebrity Potables

 

You can have stars in your glass with these celebrity spirits worth a sip.

A story came out this week that struck a couple of chords with me; any time you manage to mix cancel into a shaker with the topic of cocktails my hackles are likely to be raised. Anytime you import woke culture into the very unwoke lifestyle of leisure and vices you are going to get the shields raised and the swords drawn.

Actor Michael B. Jordan (he of “Creed” and “Black Panther” fame) made a recent announcement he was releasing his own line of rum. It led to trouble. The new spirit was to be dubbed J’Overt, the creole word for “Daybreak”. However, this was said to be problematic. Singer Nicki Minaj, and others, came forward to say this was offensive, and appropriating culture. The reason? In Trinidad there is a centuries-old festival that goes by the same name. Jordan was compelled to change the name as a result.

As an individual not prone to offense, I fail to see the specific problem in using a solitary word simply because it is used elsewhere. It is not as if the rum was offensive; the popular Kraken hails from the island, and Plantation makes a number of quality options (its pineapple-infused Stiggins label is sublime). And if you are going to be offended by the name of a rum why is Afrohead Rum considered to be acceptable?

But in reality, this is probably an inevitable conflict when you bring the entertainment realm into the world of spirits, and you have to wonder if more of this tumult may be in the future. Over the years it has become very fashionable for celebrities to release their own labels of various spirits – or at least lend their name to a label. It is a growing list, and I will not even delve into the world of wines, where even more notable are releasing their own versions.

Okay…except for one. To illustrate how extensive that venture into viticulture fame can get, Snoop Dogg even has a label. His mug on a bottle is distancing enough, but to also have his own bottle stopper would only further have you waving off a pour.

More than the Hollywood sign overlooking vineyards, celebrities have been behind the bottling of a number of higher potency spirits, so let us delve into the realm of entertainment liquor. While there are numerous names at play the quality of drink can be just as varied as their acting skills.

Ryan Reynolds has been very busy outside of his acting duties. The past few years have seen him promoting Aviation Gin, a spirit he is directly tied in with, and he has gotten attention with a series of creative and funny commercial spots. These, by the way, have been produced by his very own advertising agency. For Father’s Day, he came out with a new cocktail, named The Vasectomy.

You are bound to get a decent amount of quality when the force behind it does so with passion. Rock Star Sammy Hagar has a fondness for the vacation spot Cabo San Lucas, and tequila. While frontman of the group Van Halen he wrote the song “Cabo Wabo” in the late 1980s, and this title went on to become his namesake in other ventures. He opened a series of restaurants/nightclubs, first in Mexico, with the same name and after a few years began to serve their own branded tequila in house. By the turn of century he began distributing the varieties in the U.S. and it quickly became one of the top-selling premium tequilas.

In a similar fashion, another musician has taken his love of remote getaways and managed to bottle it with success. Kenny Chesney had adopted a love of the Caribbean into some of his later musical efforts and then took it to the next level. He owns and directs the operations behind Blue Chair Bay Rum. Along with premium signature spirits — the spiced coconut rum is recommended over Malibu — there is a line of flavored rum creams which are great for expanding cocktail options.

Channing Tatum has come out with Born And Bred, a result of his personal quest. He embarked to find the best vodka, but then decided he would be the force behind creating one. He settled in with the small Grand Teton distillery, in Driggs Idaho. Made with the famed U.S. potato and glacier-fed water his is a 20-times distilled spirit, which should ensure smoothness, but will likely have little in the way of flavor or character.

The irony is that not long ago Tatum took on the role of Agent Tequila in the spy film sequel “Kingsmen: The Golden Circle”. The plot was heavily steeped in liquor and for the release there was produced an exclusive bottling of Glen Dronach scotch. Also, representing the American agents in the film, Old Forrester put out The Statesman, a 95 proof bourbon.