If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.
These days, it seems like everyone and their famous mother is tossing their star-powered hats into the spirits ring — from vodkas like Sean “Diddy” Combs’ classic Ciroc in the 2000s, to the whiskey trend coming out of the country music scene from the likes of Brad Paisley and Florida Georgia Line, and the recent tequila boom. But with so many releases, it’s hard to tell what’s sleek marketing magic and what’s a genuine passion project — or if it even tastes any good.
That’s not to say that celebrities can’t have casual side gigs — but that some big-name bottles are less entrepreneurial ventures, and more “sexy” additions to their overall brand (think multimillion-dollar commercial campaigns and full-spread magazine ads). The good news is that recently, more famous people getting into the business really do care about the craftsmanship behind the drinks, and work to make sure that your next cocktail tastes as premium as its price tag. One thing you likely won’t find celebrities repping anytime soon? Beer.
While we’ve seen a couple collaborations between craft breweries and beer-loving celebrities like Metallica, Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine, and even Wil Wheaton, these are typically limited-time releases, or special brews sold directly to fans (i.e. you won’t see them delivered nationwide on Drizly). That doesn’t mean that celebrity-owned breweries don’t exist (former boy band Hanson owns the Hanson Brothers Beer Co. brewery in Oklahoma), they’re still pretty rare. Craft beer tends to be locally-sourced, with smaller margins than liquor, and a development process that’s more hands-on than most celebs have time for. Beer, overall, just doesn’t have the glitz and glamor of spirits, either — can you imagine a Ciroc-level IPA?
That’s why most celebs aim for the top shelf (although there’s a small but growing number of entries into the hard seltzer wars, like Blake Shelton’s Smithworks collab), but it doesn’t always mean you’re getting the best of the best. There are mid-tier spirits out there that just slap on a famous person’s endorsement, but the best celebrity alcohol brands are those who work directly with business, or put in the time and care to start their own. That’s why we’ve rounded up the celeb sips that are worth taking during your next happy hour, so you can pick up a bottle (or two!) that stands up to the most distinguished liquor lines on the market.
1. Aviation Gin (Ryan Reynolds)
Many cocktail connoisseurs credit Aviation for the ginaissance, a new wave of gin enjoyment amongst average Americans. Even if Ryan Reynolds didn’t create the company himself, after he took his first sip of Aviation American Gin in 2018, it was clear that it was worth investing in — and he’s since purchased the brand (and made all those witty commercials you’ve probably seen of him beefing with Hugh Jackman).
Founded in Portland, Aviation Gin is a great spirit if you’re not looking for something too dry, or even if you don’t normally turn to gin for your signature cocktail order. It’s smooth on the palette, with subtle top notes of peppery spice, a hint of floral juniper, and finishing off with a base layer of citrus. You’ll get a softer, more pure flavor, too thanks to the unique distilling process and commitment to crafting the gin in smaller, 100-case batches.
2. King St. Vodka (Kate Hudson)
In the often oversaturated market of celeb spirits, Kate Hudson decided to take that entrepreneurial step after hosting a cocktail party and realizing none of the vodkas in her repertoire were good enough for the drinks — or produced by women, for that matter. So she decided to found her own, King St. Vodka, made in Santa Barbara, California.
Not only is King St. Vodka gluten-free and non-GMO, it’s also with alkaline water and distilled seven times for maximum purity, and an incredibly smooth finish. The vodka is named after Hudson’s former home on King Street in Manhattan, and memories of hosting friends and family for parties and cocktail hours.
3. Heaven’s Door Straight Rye Whiskey (Bob Dylan)
Created in partnership with Bob Dylan, Heaven’s Door is a collection of well-regarded, award-winning whiskeys. While we have many favorites, this spirit in particular, the Straight Rye Whiskey, captured our attention from the way it breaks from typical aging conventions — the whiskey is aged for seven years, then finishes off in toasted oak cigar barrels (not used to house actual cigars, though).
These barrels are harvested and dried in the mountain region of Vosges, France, and the special finish results in a smoother, more sippable rye. It’s got a really nice spice to it, with finishes of fruity orange peel and coriander. The bottle is also a unique work of art, based on the wielded iron gate design of Dylan’s own metalworking studio, Black Buffalo Ironworks.
4. Casamigos Blanco Tequila (George Clooney)
Casamigos is as beloved amongst the A-listers as it is with tequila snobs, thanks to George Clooney not sacrificing flavor for style. All three varieties, from the blanco and reposado, to the anejo are stellar, and it’s one of our favorite, most clean-tasting tequilas, made from 100% agave in the Jalisco highlands. Clooney, and co-founder Rande Gerber, say they wanted to make, “the best-tasting, smoothest tequila that didn’t have to be covered up with salt or lime.”
They’ve changed up their distilling methods from an onsite diffuser (which is unpopular with tequila purists), to slow-roasting each batch for a minimum of two months in stainless steel barrels. This gives Casamigos that perfect mix of sweet agave, and hints of sweet citrus and vanilla. While Clooney’s sold the company back, you can still enjoy his favorite refreshing “Casamigos and soda” cocktail at home. The blanco is our favorite for mixing, but the smokey reposado and dark anejo make great sipping tequilas for dinnertime.
5. SelvaRey Rum (Bruno Mars)
You might recall that with the “Silk Sonic” album release, Mars created nine different SelvaRey Rum cocktails to pair with each song on the album’s track list. The Panamanian single-estate distilled rum was created in 2014, but Mars quickly became a co-owner after its first launch, and brought his own meticulous eye for detail and creativity to the brand.
The white rum is actually a blend of three and five-year-old rums, and after being charcoal filters, the rum is aged in bourbon barrels. The three year rum brings a vibrant, fresh-cut sugarcane taste, rounded out by rich toffee notes of the five-year-old rum that make it a great base for elevating any Mojito or Piña Colada. It also received the highest rating for any white rum in the history of prestigious trade publication, The Tasting Panel, with a score of 94 Points.
6. Maison No. 9 Rosé (Post Malone)
Post Malone is a man of many talents, but who knew that wine-making was one of them? Titled “A Post Malone Project”, Maison No. 9 was named after his favorite tarot card, the nine of swords, and features a rosé poised to become our next crisp, refreshing summertime beverage of choice.
Maison No.9 comes straight from sun-drenched Provence in the French Riviera (where you’ll find some of the best rosé being made). It’s got a smooth body, yet explodes with notes of fresh, sweet peaches. While Maison No. 9 also sells merch (including a tiny plush rosé bottle for your pet), we recommend springing for this incredibly tasty rosé on its own and sipping poolside.
7. Brother’s Bond Bourbon (Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley)
The veteran Vampire Diaries stars, who played the Salvatore brothers on the long-running CW show, weren’t even filming together when they co-founded their whiskey passion project, Brother’s Bond Bourbon. It’s a true labor of love for the duo, who worked with MGP in Indiana to craft the blend and choose the barrels for the four-year aging process.
That dedication is clear in the four-grain bourbon (made from corn, wheat, barley, and rye), bottled at 80 proof with an incredibly smooth finish that’s appealing for both whiskey lovers to pour neat, or whiskey newcomers to enjoy in a cocktail (like the Brother’s Fashioned or simple Brother’s Julep, crafted by Somerhalder and Wesley themselves). It’s one of the more recent celebrity bourbon showings, but we’re already impressed.
8. Black Irish (Mariah Carey)
Mariah Carey dipped her toes into the alcohol space with the launch of “Black Irish,” a line of flavored Irish liqueurs designed to be a perfect part of your after-dinner — or after party — drink. The liqueurs actually pay tribute to Carey’s mixed heritage, “Black Irish” label a reference to being born to a Black-Venezuelan father and an Irish mother.
Black Irish currently comes in three flavors Original, White Chocolate and Salted Caramel. Per the brand’s website, the original blend features aromas of freshly-roasted coffee, chocolate, and rich spices, while the flavored white chocolate and salted caramel blends are sweeter and creamier. All three are ideal for sipping after a meal, spiking a dessert or mixing into a cocktail or coffee. Each bottle features Carey’s signature flourishes: a butterfly on the label and on the shoulder of the bottle, her initials on the bottle neck, and the singer’s autograph (in gold, of course) set against a wrap-around band.