HiLuxury: Rande Gerber and his Caliche Rum



Gerber and George Clooney bond over a glass of Casamigos Tequila, a joint venture with actor Mike Meldman, launched 2013 (photos courtesy Caliche Rum).

Raising The Bar
by Kristy Alpert photography by Caliche Rum

With one smooth motion, Rande Gerber proudly rises into position as his board lifts above an impressively growing wake. No stranger to the surf in Hawai’i, or in his beloved Malibu, Gerber has become somewhat of an expert at riding and taming the waves that come his way… on and off the water.

It’s easy to be envious of Gerber. This Long Island-raised stunner has led quite the charmed life. After graduating from the University of Arizona with a degree in marketing, this handsome bachelor went on to launch a successful career in modeling before wedding his bombshell bride, model Cindy Crawford, in 1998. Aside for obviously knowing how to marry well, Gerber was savvy enough to blend his charm and marketing background into a successful business that ended up changing the face of an entire industry.

Gerber is famous for establishing the South Beach and Manhattan nightlife scene in the early 90s and redefining the after-hours experience for hotel bars and the industry as a whole. His lounges and restaurants have been ranked among the most iconic and notorious nightlife destinations in the world, and he has more than 20 locations to his name, including The Whiskey, Living Room and Stone Rose Lounge.

But quite possibly the most enviable trait of this former model is his ability to remain true to his passions and stay incredibly down to earth despite his immense success. And his success is only continuing to amass.

Just a year and a half ago, Gerber made the transition from crafting ambiences to producing the perfect pour with his wildly successful premium white rum, Caliche. To create the rum, Gerber partnered with sixth-generation rum maker, Roberto Serralles, whose family has been distilling rum for more than 150 years off shores of Puerto Rico. The pair has formed a naturally formidable team, blending Serralles’ vast knowledge of rum making and Gerber’s keen insight into the spirit’s industry and consumer desire.

“The creation of Caliche Rum and collaboration between me and Roberto has been years in the making,” says Rande Gerber, nightlife entrepreneur, and founder of Caliche Rum and Casamigos Tequila. “From my experience as a successful restaurant and bar owner across numerous markets, I saw an untapped market in the super-premium white rum space due to limited options for rum drinkers. After meeting Roberto Serralles of Destileria Serralles and learning more about his family rum-making tradition, we knew we could make a high quality product.”

Caliche is a super-premium Puerto Rican white rum that Serralles and Gerber launched in March of 2012. This delicate spirit is made extra smooth by blending carefully crafted and hand selected aged rums, with a small amount of Solera-a process for aging by fractional blending, where the end product is a mixture of ages-then distilling it five times. Unlike the dark rums that dominate the premium market for this spirit, the color and impurities are purposely removed from the blend to ensure the smoothest finish while retaining the traditional rum flavor for a superior taste profile.

“With my background in nightlife and hospitality, I have worked closely with some of the best bartenders and mixologists across the globe, learning and understanding what consumers want,” Gerber adds. “A quality white rum that can be served just on the rocks was tough to find, and Caliche’s Solera aging process gives it an intricate flavor that isn’t found in ordinary oak-aged rum. Together, Roberto and I have developed a beautifully complex and smooth aged white rum that works wonderfully in cocktails and can also be sipped on the rocks.”

Divided into four parts, the logo even acts as a visual representation of this duo’s bent for blending. The label displays the four cardinal directions essential for navigation and discovery, and a half-dragon-half-snake mythological creature-symbolic of the rebirth, creativity, wisdom and magical powers employed in the making of fine aged rum-that wraps itself around the compass to create unity between the two elements.

“We wanted it to have a functional design, yet be strong and masculine enough to stand out on a shelf,” Gerber explains. “The Caliche logo symbolizes the spirit of discovery that led to the creation of this brand and the two forces that united in the process.”

And these days, unity is exactly what Gerber is all about. Busier than ever, Gerber makes it a point to sit down and sip some Caliche Rum with his wife (on the rocks with lime for her; neat for him) and soak in the flavors of his passionate pursuit.

“I try to visit Hawai’i every so often with my wife and kids, so we can spend some quality family time on a beautiful island,” he says. “It’s been a whirlwind, so I’m trying to keep my resolution for 2014 which is to ‘enjoy life, love what you do, challenge yourself, but make it fun.’ As my dad always said, ‘You have to live life while you’re alive.’”

Along with the rest of Gerber’s patrons, papa Gerber can rest assured that his son is enjoying a life well lived.

2 oz. Caliche Rum
1 oz. fresh lime juice
1/4 oz. fresh pineapple juice
3/4 oz. simple syrup
3-6 cilantro leaves

In a rocks glass, combine all ingredients and lightly muddle cilantro leaves. Top with crushed ice. Garnish with a cilantro sprig. Enjoy!