Review: Casamigos “Casamigas” Jalapeno Tequila

When things get a little hot outside, I tend to gravitate towards is a spicy margarita. I feel like the added jalapenos add a layer of complexity to the experience, elevating the cocktail and making it even better. (Especially in the summer months.) So imagine my surprise as I was walking the local liquor store shelves, fresh jalapenos in hand, looking to pick up a cheap bottle of tequila to jalapeno-infuse on my own when I stumbled across a bottle of Casamigos that already went to all that trouble for me.



Back in the early 2010s, actor George Clooney and his nightlife entrepreneur buddy Rande Gerber were building vacation homes next to each other in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. (As one does when they are incredibly wealthy.) The pair had been sampling local tequila trying to find the perfect one to stock their homes and, after working their way through the available offerings and finding none to their taste, they decided to simply make their own. (Again, as one does when they are incredibly wealthy.) Their goal was to create a tequila that tasted great and didn’t burn going down, minimized any hangover, and could be taken straight or over ice.

Clooney and Gerber partnered with property developer Mike Meldman to commission a local distillery to make their dream tequila, ordering a reported thousand bottles of tequila per year. After hearing the size of the order, the distillery asked the trio to get a business license to facilitate the transaction and so they formed the Casamigos tequila company (Casamigos being a combination of “casa” and “amigos” for a rough translation of “house of friends”) in 2013.

The company was never intended to produce a single bottle of tequila for commercial sale, only being a mechanism for the trio to stock their own personal liquor cabinets. However, it didn’t take long for word of this special tequila to get out and they started selling to the public in 2014 with Clooney and Gerber still taste testing and acting as quality control for every single batch of tequila. Sales went through the roof, doubling every year, and in 2017 the British spirits giant Diageo purchased the brand for a cool $700 million with an additional $300 million to come based on performance. Since then, the brand has become one of the fastest growing tequila brands in the world.

Here in the United States the tequila is imported by the Casamigos Spirits Company based in White Plains, New York.


While the normal version of Casamigos may be a collaboration between Clooney, Meldman, and Gerber, they added a fourth celebrity for this edition: Cindy Crawford (who is also Gerber’s wife). According to a Forbes article, a spicy margarita is also her favorite cocktail (not sure if our mutual love of spicy margs says more about the quality of her tastes or mine).

“A few years ago, Rande and I were watching the sun set on our dock and we talked about how fun it would be for me to do a spicy tequila. Voila – Casamigas was born,” says Cindy.

Consistent with the rest of their product line, this specific tequila is produced on contract for Casamigos by the Productos Finos de Agave distillery in Mexico.

As with all tequila, this spirit starts with 100% blue agave plants that have been grown for about 10 to 12 years in the cool highlands area of Mexico. The plants are harvested, their leaves are shaved off, and the heart of the plant is then cooked for three days in a traditional brick oven to release the sugars. From there, the steamed plants are left to ferment in large vats for 80 hours — about twice as long as normal. This allows some of the slower acting (but better tasting) yeast strains to have a larger impact on the flavor of the spirit, compared to the faster acting but less flavorful versions that typically finish their job in about two days.

Once the fermentation converts the sugar into alcohol, it is distilled at least twice to concentrate and purify the spirit. For the blanco version, the newly made tequila spends two months in American oak barrels before it is packaged and shipped out the door, which is a significant amount of time for a blanco tequila (for reference, 1800 Silver rests in oak barrels for only 15 days).

There really isn’t much detail about how the jalapenos make their way into the spirit, other than saying that this is “naturally flavored” with the stuff. In my experience, that usually means the flavor is added into the mix prior to bottling, not as part of the fermentation or distillation process.


For the bottle itself, this is the most boring and unimaginative design I think I’ve seen yet. It’s literally just a bottle. As in, someone took a beer bottle and over-inflated it a little bit. Which I suppose makes sense here, given the history of the brand — this was never intended to be a brand of tequila offered for sale, only for private consumption. So spending a ton of time on a fancy bottle didn’t make sense. With Diageo now behind the wheel, though, you’d think that they would have done something more fancy… so if this was a conscious decision to lean into the origins of the brand, then I might actually applaud the choice.

I love the cheeky additions that they’ve done to the label for this version of the tequila, as if Cindy Crawford has scribbled on it with a red pen. It’s a great way to visually differentiate this from the rest of their product line, and give the bottle a bit of a story to tell. The red jalapeno pepper and flames coming off the agave plant help let you know what you’re in for, and I even love the “correction” of the name to “CasamigAs”, altering the name to the feminine version of the Spanish word for “friends”.

One criticism I have is that, when I first picked up the bottle, I figured that they did a celebrity tie-in but I couldn’t find any clearly legible information about who they worked with. I had to find a Forbes article to get those details. To their credit, Cindy’s signature is on the bottle — and I probably should have figured it out from the prominent beauty mark scribbled next to the imprint of her lips on the bottle, but that’s why I’m terrible at trivia night when the celebrity category comes around.



The very first thing I noticed was that this liquid is crystal clear. When I make my own jalapeno infused tequila, it usually comes out looking something closer to cucumber water — tinted slightly green and cloudy. But in this case, there’s not a hint that anything else is in here other than tequila. Based on the fact that this is likely already filtered from the brief stint in an oak barrel, I get the feeling that whatever jalapeno flavor is added to the spirit prior to that filtration step.

While the spirit may be filtered, that jalapeno is loud and in charge. As soon as I take a whiff, those bright, green notes of herbal fresh jalapeno peppers are the very first thing I can identify. It doesn’t smell overpowering; instead, it’s just a fresh vegetable aroma added to the already fairly vegetal tequila. There are some other aromas in here as well, including vanilla, black pepper, and a hint of lemon citrus.

When taking that first sip, you’re primed for the burn. You expect there to be some spice. But in reality, I can’t differentiate the initial burn here between the alcohol and the jalapeno peppers. It definitely has a bite, but not more than I was expecting.

In terms of the flavors, the original components from the standard issue Casamigos are in control here. I’m clearly seeing the vanilla, the black pepper, and the lemon citrus. It’s only near the finish that the jalapenos really start to kick in, adding first a green pepper flavor and then a building spicy kick on the end. Repeated sips only serve to reinforce and emphasize that spicy burn.

In honesty, I don’t think this is a good sipping spirit at this point. The flavors are fine, but the added burn seems like more of a novelty added for cocktails than something that really flows with the vibes of a neat shot of tequila. Once that spice rolls in, all of the other enjoyable flavors pack it in and leave, and all you get on the finish is the taste and sensation like you just bit into a fresh green jalapeno.

I mean, personally I like that. But I’d also just bite an actual jalapeno at that point.

On Ice

I actually think the ice made this worse… at least for sipping.

As usual, when some ice goes in the glass, the distillation and barrel maturation flavors are diluted and not quite as strong (basically the black pepper, vanilla, and other typical tequila flavors). Even the herbaceous green notes from the jalapeno are diminished and not quite as bright. But what remains strong and clear is the spicy burn from those jalapenos, which continues to leave a lasting impression long after the rest of the sip has disappeared.

Key phrase: diminished. There’s still vanilla, black pepper, and citrus lemon present, but much less powerful. On the finish, they practically disappear. But to their credit, there’s enough of a showing to keep you from wondering why you spent the money on a tequila instead of just getting a handle of vodka and infusing the jalapenos that way for much cheaper.

Cocktail (Spicy Margarita)

This is the real test of this spirit: the cocktail it was specifically designed to be used to make. We didn’t make any changes to our recipe here other than subbing in this version of tequila — it’s still a 2:1:1 mix of tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice.

Up front, there’s some minor differences — specifically, a bit more of that green herbaceous flavor shining through than usual. With regular Casamigos, I expect more vanilla flavors, but here that seems to remain at a low simmer rather than rising to the level where it’s a major component of the flavor profile. The green pepper flavor is a nice and fresh accompaniment to the lime juice and the orange liqueur, making for a cheerful and bright cocktail that’s perfect for a bright sunny day.

Here’s the problem though: I’m not really getting the spicy burn from the jalapenos.

I fully admit that I may have fried my taste buds somewhere along the line and I just can’t detect what’s going on. But my wife is the opposite (a complete wuss about spice), and I don’t think that even she could pick up on it. The only evidence of that spicy component is a hint of a pin prick of spicy burn long after the flavors have dissipated, but even that quickly vanishes.


Overall Rating

Sometimes an infusion in a spirit can ruin the original product, either overpowering it or making the flavors taste awful. This, in my opinion, is a case where the infusion is a welcome supplement, adding some new characteristics to the flavor profile without harming what was already there. (Like adding a helping of Cindy Crawford to an existing George Clooney soup.)

On the one hand, that’s a good thing. There’s plenty of flavor in the spirit, and that translates well to cocktails. In margaritas, this has the right kind of bright green herbaceousness that I look for and appreciate, which keeps it from tasting like a boring sidecar cocktail. But it also seems to have limited the extent to which they kicked up the actual spice in the spirit.

That said, my hot take: this isn’t as hot as I’d like. I think the Still Austin Mother Pepper whiskey did a better job at making an infused spicy spirit. I feel like if the mark of success you are looking for is to make a fantastic spicy marg, then this product is still shy of hitting the mark. There’s some spice here, I’ll give ’em that, but there’s room for improvement.

I appreciate that they took a stab at making something new and interesting — and for the majority of people and the majority of uses, this will be the perfect choice for your spicy cocktails. It’s certainly worth the price of admission. But for me, I think I’ll stick to infusing my own version at a slightly higher point on the Scoville scale.

Casamigos Casamigas Jalapeno Tequila
Produced By: Casamigos
Owned By: Diageo
Production Location: Jalisco, Mexico
Classification: Tequila
Aging: No Age Statement (NAS)
Proof: 40% ABV
Price: $47.99 / 750 ml
Product Website: Product Website
Overall Rating:
All reviews are evaluated within the context of their specific spirit classification as specified above. Click here to check out similar spirits we have reviewed.

Overall Rating: 4/5
A star-studded addition to the Casamigos lineup that retains much of the delicious flavors that we know and love, but with a spicy twist.


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