Celebrities endorse a lot of things, and most of the time, those things are not very good. It’s hard to take an endorsement from someone who is being paid big bucks seriously, but sometimes celebrities actually get deeply involved with the products that they shill. Nowhere is this more true than celebrity spirits — many of your favorite celebrities are so passionate about booze that they’re actually distilling their own liquor.
There have been plenty of celebrities who have slapped their names on a bottle of mediocre wine or diet vodka, but these five bottles of celeb-backed booze are passion projects for the actors and musicians involved in their production. Even if you’re skeptical about sipping a soul singer’s spirits, these are all definitely worth a try.
Crystal Head Vodka
Image via Crystal Head/Facebook
Perhaps Dan Aykroyd was inspired by his time as a hard-boozing Blues Brother, but whatever the reason, his Crystal Head vodka is, at the very least, interesting. You’ve probably seen the spirit’s distinctive skull-shaped bottle on the shelves at your liquor store, and it doesn’t come cheap. A bottle of Crystal Head will run you about $60, but Aykroyd promises a premium vodka that is free of impurities. The actor teamed up with artist John Alexander, who designed the skull-shaped bottle, to develop the vodka in 2007. It has since made strong showings at spirits competitions, including gold medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Image via Casamigos
When he’s not slaying the ladies or winning Oscars, George Clooney likes to sip on fine tequila. So much so that he created his own brand with a couple of his high-powered boozing pals, nightlife magnate Rande Gerber and land developer (and occasional actor) Mike Meldman. This boozy power trio worked with a master distiller in Jalisco, Mexico to develop several unique processes in pursuit of developing a more drinkable tequila. Casamigos is available in three varieties — anejo, blanco, and reposado — and has been praised by a number of spirits enthusiasts for its smoothness and rich flavor.
Image via Sauza 901
Also inspired by the agave in Jalisco, Mexico, Justin Timberlake has his own brand of tequila, Sauza 901. The tequila brand was originally Timberlake’s own, but he sold it to the Mexican agave powerhouse in 2014. According to Forbes, Timberlake worked with the Tequileria Newton distillery in Jalisco to develop the spirit, named both for the area code of his Tennesee hometown and 9:01 pm, or “when the party gets started.” Sauza 901 is triple-distilled, creating a smoother tequila than you’re used to, making it perfect for those nights whe only shots will do.
Old Whiskey River
Image via WillieNelson.com
Willie Nelson doesn’t own or distill Old Whiskey River, the small-batch bourbon named after his 1978 song of a similar name, but the owners of the brand say that he played a large part in what this whiskey tastes like. Aged for six years in charred oak barrels, Old Whiskey River is made from corn, barley, and rye purchased from independent family farms. The Red Headed Stranger himself helped the distillery hone their recipe through a lot of taste testing, a job we’re sure he excelled at.
Image via Conjure Cognac/Facebook
A self-proclaimed cognac expert — and we don’t doubt him — Ludacris worked in every step of the mixing and development process of creating Conjure Cognac, the liqueur he launched in 2009. Conjure blends both old and young cognacs from France’s major cognac regions, including Grand Champagne and Borderie. Even if you’re not a fan of Luda’s rhymes, most critics agree that entry-level cognac drinkers will appreciate this smooth, easy-to-drink blend.