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What Are Guy Fieri’s Favorite Drinks?

What Are Guy Fieri’s Favorite Drinks?

I’ve known Guy Fieri for all of five seconds and he’s letting me try on his ring. It’s enormous, like something they give you for winning the Super Bowl, but he received this one after filming the 400th episode of his hit TV show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. You hear of Guy Fieri’s generosity— he raised close to $25 million for hospitality workers during the pandemic (partially through a nacho cookoff with Bill Murray)—but to witness his instinctual kindness is something different.

Fieri is dead serious about authenticity and that extends to Santo, the tequila brand he and Sammy Hagar launched in 2019. “Please don’t play games with something I love,” Fieri says, referencing tequila brands that use additives or leverage celebrity marketing to sell. “I am not saying I’m offended when it’s called a celebrity brand of tequila, but please don’t put that first.”

When Hagar sold Cabo Wabo to Campari in 2008, Fieri asked the Van Halen singer if he ever got back into tequila, to please bring him in, and a decade later, that’s what happened. Now, the chef is in San Diego as a featured speaker at the DISCUS (Distilled Spirits Council of the United States) conference, separating himself from other celebrity owners by chatting with conference attendees, caring deeply about both spirit and the consumer. “For me, this is way more than a business, this is lifestyle, this is a product, this is a representation of my brand, of who I am.” he says.

But what does the Mayor of Flavortown like to drink, y’know, other than his own stuff? “I’m into the all-American,” he says, drawn to the tradition at Jack Daniel’s—he counts former master distiller Jeff Arnett as a friend. “When you know the person, it’s kind of like knowing the music.” He compares his interest in Arnett’s latest venture, Company Distilling, to Phil Collins leaving Genesis.

Guy Fieri and Sammy Hagar – Photography by Steve Jennings/WireImage for Ketchum Entertainment Marketing / Getty Images

Tito’s appeals to him as well, with its Texas-bred story and philanthropic roots. He recalls first seeing the brand’s copper cap in Austin, well before the vodka was distributed in his home state of California. “And now I love to go outside of the country and find that Tito’s is out there,” he says. His relationship to the clear spirit and appreciation for it has evolved. “The first time that I drank vodka, and most of the time I remember drinking, it was in a plastic 1.75.”

Fieri traces his drinking days back to UNLV, where he first encountered true mixology, tasting scratch-made piña coladas and mai tais in what he calls the epicenter of food and beverage. “It’s the same thing as being a chef,” he says. “It’s the quality of the ingredients, it’s the technique and it’s the presentation.”

He credits Michael Perea and the work they did together at Fieri’s Northern California restaurant Tex Wasabi’s as propelling his love of cocktails further. “This is 20 years ago, cocktail menus were just starting to emerge,” Fieri says, noting that a love of tiki cocktail culture led them to create bola-style serves. “Having this crazy southern-style barbecue and sushi restaurant, we really just set off to put a menu together that was going to be something nobody had ever seen.”

“We’re a big margarita family,” he says. A recent margarita he made at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival featured fire-roasted pineapple and jalapeño.

But that’s nothing compared to the Fiery Fieri, a drink he says blew his socks off that mixes Santo Mezquila with agave nectar, lime juice, bitters and some of Fieri’s own bourbon-brown-sugar barbecue sauce. “This is where I was like, ‘No, too much,’” he says, “I’m like, ‘You’re trying too hard.’” But the result, with a chipotle chili powder and sugar-rim was smoky, semisweet and acidic. “What these mixologists are pulling out today is mind-blowing.”

This article originally appeared in the June/July 2024 of Wine Enthusiast magazine. Click here to subscribe today!

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