Rande Gerber’s New Liquors

Moses Berkson

The bar impressario creates his own rum and tequila.

Q: After 20 years of serving alcohol, why make your own?

A: My bartenders kept telling me there isn’t a great white rum. It’s known for mixing, but there wasn’t one you could drink on the rocks, with a lime. So I called up Destileria Serrallés.

Q: This is the Puerto Rican distillery?

A: Yeah. They are the godfathers of rum—been doing it since the 1800s and it’s still family-run. Our rum, Caliche—I call it Cali—is a blend of three-, four- and five-year rums: It took us about three years to find the perfect blend.

Q: Your bars have such buzz.

A: It’s all about the ambiance. I create an atmosphere. The music, lighting—I’m a bit of a control freak. I keep the area small, so you don’t have to go far to talk to a friend or to grab a fresh drink—the same way I entertain at home.

Q: But, at home, how do you get rid of those who just won’t go?

A: We don’t! If Cindy or I get tired, we say good night. Our friends may stay, sit around the fire pit.

Q: Why bring Café Habana to Malibu?

A: I did it a bit selfishly. We wanted a place to entertain outside of our home—a local hangout. Habana is that: You get surfers; you get families. There’s a real beachy vibe, and the grilled corn is like crack.

Q: Does anyone in Malibu not surf?

A: Nobody I know. I’m actually watching my son surf from my window right now.

Q: We hear a tequila with George Clooney is next.

A: Sorry: strict orders not to talk about that! But when I can, I promise you’ll be my first call.

Rande Gerber Memorabilia

1980: A 1985 graduate of the University of Arizona, Gerber gets his start as a Ford model.

1992: Ushers in South Beach cool with a club in the Carlyle; success in L.A., with the Sunset Marquis and SkyBar at the Mondrian, quickly follows.

1998: Weds Cindy Crawford in a discreet beachfront ceremony in the Bahamas. The bride wore Galliano; both went barefoot.

2012: Now running his nightlife empire from Malibu, where he opened the West Coast location of Café Habana, Gerber introduces his rum: Caliche.

Recipe: Cali Ginger

2 oz. Caliche rum
3/4 oz. agave syrup
3/4 oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Gosling’s ginger beer

Mix rum, syrup and lemon juice in a shaker with ice. Pour over ice in a highball glass, and top with ginger beer.

Tip: Gerber says this drink is best served extra cold, so give the shaker about 20 shakes.