Here’s A Little Story About The Time I Fell In Love With Tequila While Surfing In SoCal
A few weeks ago an email showed up in my inbox talking about Greg Long, one of the most decorated and accomplished big wave surfers in the history of the sport, and how he was now a brand ambassador for Peligroso Tequila. If any of you out there are reading this and I’ve ignored your emails in the past then take note of this: the quickest way to get me to read your email is to make it about fishing, surfing, and/or booze. So when I began skimming the email and saw that a pro athlete was endorsing a liquor brand obviously my interest was piqued.
What came next was in invitation to skip out of NYC for a few days and head on over to the Southern California where I’d be spending a few days fishing and surfing with Greg Long (Greg’s the only big wave surfer ever to win the Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational, the Maverick’s Surf Contest, and the Red Bull Big Wave Africa event, aka the Triple Crown of Big Wave Surfing) and Bruce Beach, co-founder of Peligroso Tequila (and avid surfer). These are some dudes you don’t really have to talk me into going to meet, these are the kind of people who have paved their ways through life by following their passions, and have seen success at every single step along the way. These are the kind of men who I seek out in the world for inspiration in my own life. Yet here I was, with a standing invitation to head on over to Orange Country to surf at the legendary Doheny State Beach, go offshore fishing for Yellowtail, and toss back the finest tequila on the market (all while skipping out on blogging for a few days). So I was in, obviously.
Now I get an asinine amount of brand pitches on a daily basis. Seriously, you’d go insane if you saw the amount of ‘Hey Cass, just wanted to tell you about a new…’ emails in my inbox. So I have a pretty damn thick shell when it comes to someone telling me why their brand/product is awesome, which is actually why I was so floored by the Peligroso Tequilas. Before I ever even tasted one of the Peligroso Tequila spirits I was already a believer, just from spending time with the company’s founders for a few days and listening to the stories of their lives, and how that translated into the launching of a tequila company.
The co-founder of Peligroso Tequila (Bruce Beach), the brand ambassador (Greg Long), these are men who have spent their entire lives surfing waves all up and down the Pacific coastline. In the winter they’d shoot on down to Baja in search of the next great wave, sleeping in VW buses and building fires on the beach when other kids were stuck in school. These are men who understand just what the f*ck it means to go on an adventure, and that’s something that resonates with me on every level. So when we sat down for our first Peligroso Tequila tasting it was pretty glorious to hear them tell firsthand the stories of going on down to the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico and seeking out the pure blue weber agave to distilll their magnificent tequila. With every sip of the Silver, the Reposado, the Añejo, and the Cinnamon you could get a sense of the years of work and passion that went into crafting such an exquisite tequila. I was hooked, I am hooked.
Back to the trip…. So I make it out to Dana Point, California, which sits along one of the most picturesque stretches of coast the United States has to offer, and I show up just in time to realize that I really don’t know sh*t about tequila. Up until the past few days my ‘tequila life’ mostly consisted of ripping shots on Cinco de Mayo and/or when I was traveling down in Mexico, and then my friends and I have something we like to call the ‘penalty shot’. One of us usually gets hit with the ‘penally shot’ either when it’s our birthday, we’re celebrating, or we’ve just let our guard down at the bar. There’s really no grounds for when the penalty shot is appropriate, but the penalty shot consists of the following: asking the bartender for the warmest, cheapest, sh*ttiest tequila they have in a shot glass. And once you’ve secured that shot you then try to get your bro to rip that shot unsuspectingly. It’s best to wait until something epic comes on the jukebox as a distractoin, or you can try distracting your bro by handing him the shot and taking one yourself at the same time. But enough about the penalty shot, all I’m really trying to express there is that until the past few days I never really had time to sit down with anyone who gave a sh*t about tequila and learned about why I should give a sh*t about tequila myself.
And this is precisely what they brought me and a few other editors out to SoCal to experience, a tiny slice of their life. We went offshore fishing for yellowtail, managed to hook a baker’s dozen (only landed one), one I even fought for a solid 30 minutes before it ripped the hook off the line (my forearms were TOAST). This is the one Yellowtail we managed to land (and later cooked up for dinner):
— Cass Anderson (@casspa) August 3, 2015
We spent multiple days surfing Doheny Beach State Park, and with the tutelage of Greg and his team of world-renowned surfers I watched people who had never even seen the Pacific Ocean before get up on a surfboard and ride their first waves with less than 20 minutes of instruction. It was amazing!
Here I am riding what is quite possible the world’s smallest wave, but not thinking about that at all because I was elated just to be out in the water:
The energy was so palatable it was infectious, watching people catch their first waves, their first fish, see dolphins for the first time, it’s somewhere within that whirlwind of activities that I began to see just how quickly we’d all fallen into to rhythm of the SoCal lifestyle. It wasn’t a question of ‘Ugh, what’s next on the agenda?’ it was more ‘What’s our next adventure? And can we leave now?’
— Cass Anderson (@casspa) August 5, 2015
Circling back to my aforementioned previous experiences with tequila, in talking with Bruce and Greg it seemed I wasn’t alone in having tasted some truly heinous tequilas over the years. Like me they had to wade through some of the warmest, gnarliest tequilas ever served from a plastic bottle before realizing that what needed to be done was change the industry. Southern California, the US, the global market…it was all missing the perfect tequila.
So Bruce taking countless trips to the highlands of Mexico, looking for the perfect distillery to bring his dream to fruition. It took around a decade of getting the handcrafted bottle designs just right, tasting endless tequilas to develop his own palate so that he could bring what he deemed to be the best tequila in the world to the market. So, after a decade of planning and a lifetime of adventures Bruce dropped Peligroso Tequila on the world.
When I say he dropped ‘Peligroso Tequila’ on the world I should clarify that there’s actually 4 distinct spirits within the Peligroso Tequila line.
BROS! We did a tasting (whilst eating dinner on the beach in one of the most magnificent settings I’ve ever seen), and it was one of those moments where you feel like someone opened the curtains, and flipped your life upside down. In an instant I was a tequila believer. The silver is the most approachable offering of the line (in terms of $, MSRP for the 750ml of Silver is $29.99), and I’m not going to bullsh*t you, it was also my favorite. I could sip on the Peligroso Silver all day every day and be a very happy man.
After the Silver we tasted the Peligroso Reposado, which had some crazy florals deep within and when mixed with a little fresh fresh lime/lime juice it turned into the most memorable Surfer’s Martini I’ve ever had. After those two spirits we move onto the Añejo, which was such a complex and delectable spirit I wanted to pour it into a crystal snifter and drink it like a 25-year-old scotch. Last but not least we tasted the cinnamon, which I was extremely skeptical of before tasting but which turned out to be phenomenal. REAL TALK: come Fall/Winter, if you’re making any sort of a holiday cocktail then you need to ditch whatever you were planning on serving and use the Peligroso Cinnamon.
I spent most of the three days I spent in San Clemente/Dana Point hitting Greg with a barrage of questions about his surfing, his travels, his life…because it’ s not often you get to come face-to-face with a living legend. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Greg Long, he’s a San Clemente native who grew up surfing Trestles but realized at an early age the journey never ends, and you can’t ever stop pushing yourself. And listen, I fully understand that me saying this ‘oh he’s so motivating’ and ‘this guy’s such an inspiration’ sounds like some of the most disingenuous bullsh*t ever written, but this is a man who has surfed 100-foot giant waves on the Cortez Bank way out in the middle of the ocean, only accessible by a massive ship crewed by some of the most skilled watermen in the world.
This is a man who won the 2014 ‘Billabong XXL Ride of the Year’ his ride at Puerto Escondido, Mexico (the Mexican pipeline) last year. Just TWO YEARS after he drowned and almost died while surfing 100 miles off SoCocal at the Cortes Bank and had to be rescued and have his life saved by the U.S. Coast Guard. He is the MOST DECORATED SURFER in the history of the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards, and as I mentioned earlier on he’s the only big wave surfer to have on the prestigious Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational (‘The Eddie’), the Red Bull Big Wave Africa (held annually at ‘Dungeons’ in Cape Town, South Africa ), and the Maverick’s Surf Contest. So yah, apologies to Greg for embarrassing him here by lauding him with praise, and for me pelting him with questions all week about surfing, traveling, and life, but when you get face time with Tom Brady you don’t ask him about baseball, right?
I suppose on some level I was so down for a weekend of surfing and fishing that I was likely to believe anything and everything these gentlemen taught me about Peligroso Tequila, but I’ve since popped open a bottle of Peligroso Silver and I wasn’t just punchdrunk on the experience. Hot dang is it the finest line of Tequilas I’ve ever came across (and I’ve drank all the top shelf tequilas, so don’t bother pelting me with ‘but this one’s s.o…’ comments down below).
And these aren’t just hollow words, bros. I’m legitimately a believer in tequila now. Since getting back from California I’ve already dusted off space on my liquor shelf (I live in a shoebox apartment, there’s no room for a full bar) to stock with some Peligroso tequilas for sipping. Some of you may know me here on BroBible as the guy who does the gear posts every day, and one aspect of that is that I’m only bringing you products that I’m 100% willing to endorse myself. Peligroso Tequila is just on a whole different level from the stuff I’m bringing you on a daily basis, and as it is such I felt the need to devote quite a few extra words today in the telling of just how awesome Peligroso is. If Hemingway was alive he’d be drinking Peligroso alongside Greg and Bruce, and I’d be trying to sell my right arm just to live as a fly on the wall.
You can find Peligroso Tequila on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and you can check out their website here. You can also follow Greg Long on Instagram here, and track his worldwide adventures as he scours the globe always in search of the next great wave. And last but not least, I’d just like to send a shout out to Joe and Jenna from Taylor Strategy letting me take part in such a magnificent weekend!