How do you capture sunlight in a glass? Tequila’s a great place to start. The spiky leaves of the blue agave have been soaking up Mexican rays for more than a decade, feeding the piña that, when roasted, mashed, fermented and distilled (to condense a centuries-old process down to a sentence), is tequila, ready for aging or not. In Las Vegas, the Light Group favors Casamigos as the company’s official tequila brand.
Owned by actor George Clooney, restaurateur Rande Gerber and partner Mike Meldman, Casamigos wants to be taken seriously, and downplays its founders’ celebrity. The website shows a scruffy Clooney applying the closure to a bottle while an equally casual Gerber looks on. I’m not saying that the guys didn’t get their hands dirty in the process of creating their brand—I once “helped” harvest an agave plant—but awesome as it sounds, I don’t imagine they’re in the fields harvesting piñas or in hairnets working the bottling line between gigs.
What matters is that they have secured great partners who are making equally great tequila. Appropriate to its name, Casamigos is friendly, lovely for sipping, and amiable in delicate cocktails that let it shine. At Daylight Beach Club, the Light Group’s corporate mixologist and San Jose, New Mexico, native Michael Monrreal uses the blanco as the base for The Clooney, a superbly refreshing cooler also made with ruby red grapefruit juice, agave nectar and fresh lime—available by the glass or by the pitcher.
As served at Daylight Beach Club at Mandalay Bay, $17 small, $35 large, $75 pitcher
In a mixing glass, combine 1½ ounces Casamigos blanco tequila, 1 ounce ruby red grapefruit juice, 1 ounce agave nectar and ¾ ounce fresh lime juice. Add ice, cover, shake and strain over fresh ice into a 12-ounce highball glass. Fill with San Pellegrino Pompelmo, give it a little stir and garnish with a grapefruit slice.