Sammy Hagar lives for the summer months: The surf, the sun, sand between his toes, rockin’ tunes and a cold margarita in his hand.
Though the Red Rocker’s Sammy Hagar & The Circle Summer 2020 Tour has been officially canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that doesn’t mean he’s giving up on enjoying his favorite time of year, so he’s pairing premium cocktails with delicious food at backyard barbecues.
While the 72-year-old singer-songwriter, who splits his time between Mill Valley, Maui, Cabo and Orange County, is known as the wild man fronting bands like Montrose, Van Halen, Chickenfoot and more recently, Sammy Hagar & The Circle — with original Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, drummer Jason Bonham and guitarist Vic Johnson — he’s also known for his entrepreneurial endeavors.
Hagar partnered with chef, television personality and restaurateur Guy Fieri and master distiller Juan Eduardo Nuñez to create Santo brand Tequila Blanco and Mezquila, which is distilled in Jalisco, Mexico. Hagar also owns his own Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, which is distilled in Puerto Rico. As you might expect, he has definite opinions on summer cocktails.
“I have two drinks I make at home: a mojito with rum and, man, I’m a margarita guy,” he said during a recent phone chat. “I’m not a guy that can do shots and shots of tequila. I like to have a margarita and sip on it for an hour or so.”
Sammy’s Easy, Go-To Margarita
1 ounce fresh lemon or lime juice (he prefers lime)
1 ounce Cointreau, Triple Sec, Grand Mariner or simple syrup
1.5 ounces Santo Tequila Blanco or Santo Mezquila
“Put that in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake it,” he said. ” That’s it.”
With the Mezauila, he likes to add little squeeze of an orange and a chili salt rim, but for the Tequila Blanco, he puts “just a kiss” of salt on one corner of his glass. To spice up the margarita, add some sliced jalapeno.
“Then you get the hot, salt, sweet and sour … it doesn’t get better than that for drinks,” he said.
2 ounces Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum
1 ounce simple syrup or a teaspoon of sugar
Plus fresh, muddled mint, a squeeze of lime and soda water or 7-Up, served over ice.
Hagar and Fieri also came up with this concoction.
Santo Watermelon Cucumber Fresca Cocktail
2 cubes watermelon
4 pieces of cucumber quartered and cut into 1/8″ slices
1 ounce lime juice
2 ounces Santo Tequila Blanco
1 ounce agave nectar
Grab a 12-ounce Collins glass or Mason jar and fill with ice. In a mixing glass, lightly muddle the watermelon, cucumbers and lime juice, then fill 2/3 with ice and add tequila and agave. Cap the glass with a shaker and give it a shake for 10 to 15 seconds. Strain and pour over ice. Garnish with watermelon and cucumber slices.
It’s important to pair the drinks with the proper food. For Hagar, that means eats off the barbecue — ribs, chicken wings, hamburgers, or his favorite bacon-wrapped shrimp. We’re all practicing social distancing, he said, and a grill is hot enough to kill off anything.
“The outdoor barbecue situation is the best situation,” he said. “Everyone can stand back and when they’re ready, walk up and get their food, take what you want and you’re good to go.”
When he’s not tending to his garden or safely checking out the local beaches, Hagar is doing the “Lockdown Sessions” on YouTube with his band, each from his own home. So far they’ve covered songs by Bob Marley, The Who, Buffalo Springfield, AC/DC and more. The fifth season of his “Rock & Roll Road Trip with Sammy Hagar” is also currently airing on AXS on Sunday nights.
Though he can’t physically be out on the road right now, Hagar said it’s nice to be able to share a little of that virtual escape through the show, bringing in artists such as county singer Tayna Tucker, Queen’s Brian May, the Eagles’ Joe Walsh, Def Leppard and more.
“About an hour after it airs every Sunday night now, I get texts from my musician friends saying they liked the show or they want to be on it,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s because we’re all stuck at home and the lockdown is forcing people to watch it or if the show is getting bigger and better, but I’ll take it.”
Sammy Hagar’s Bacon Wrapped Chipotle BBQ Shrimp
8 ounces bacon
20 shrimp, peeled & deveined
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons chipotle in adobo
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper.
Soak bamboo skewers in water. Partially cook bacon, cut in half and let cool on paper towels. Wrap the bacon around the shrimp and skewer through to keep bacon ends from unraveling, using 3 to 5 per skewer.
Combine barbecue sauce, oil, chipotle, lemon juice, mustard, chile flakes, black pepper and cayenne in blender and puree. Separate the sauce — half for basting and half for dipping.
Cook the shrimp on the grill over medium heat. When the shrimp begin to turn pink, begin basting with the sauce. Serve with the reserved sauce.
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Author: Kelli Skye Fadroski