What do you like to drink? “I love juices. But they have to be fresh juice, with a tiny exception of canned pineapple juice. It has to be fresh grapefruit juice. It has to be fresh orange juice. My favorite thing in the entire world is passionfruit. I love passionfruit more than anything. And there’s nothing better than passionfruit puree but not many places carry it. And I came up with this drink, where I mix it with Grey Goose Vodka and that’s my go to drink.”
You’ve lived in California off and on for years. Are you also a wine drinker? “Wine I’ve been into for many years. When I first moved to Southern California we would drive up to Napa on a regular basis. I still love French wines and there are certain Italian wines I like, but California does have some great stuff. My favorite wine is something called Petite Sirah and it’s not like a typical Syrah it’s a whole different grape. When you walk in to a restaurant they either know what you’re talking about or they don’t. They’ll say, yes, we have Syrahs. And you go that’s not what this is.”
Why Petite Sirah? “It has a unique flavor. I have a friend who when he goes to a bar he says give me a big red, smelly wine. And that’s kind of what’s this is. It’s got a lot of flavor, it’s got a lot of rich, fruity deep tones to it. I like the depth of those flavors. It’s a heavy wine. No question about it.”
Are you into other types of wine, too? “Recently for whatever reason, after drinking red wines for a bazillion years, I started drinking sauvignon blancs primarily from New Zealand. I find that they have amazing wines. I’ll tell you another place that has amazing wines is South Africa. Just killer stuff. So, I like to go and experiment and try different South African wines and see what’s going on there. But that’s it. I’m not a big whiskey drinker. I know that’s the hot thing. Everybody goes and drinks it. I’ve tried it, but it’s just not my cup of tea.”
Wow! Is there any type of whiskey you like? “I’ll tell you another thing, I don’t drink Scotch. So, I go to Scotland and we do a small tour of this place called Bladnoch. Afterwards we were sampling and it is pretty good. So, I bought three bottles. My friend Mike Jerrick, who hosts the Fox morning show in Philly, I called him up and said I have some Scotch here, you want to drink some? I went over to his house and we annihilated the first bottle in like 30 minutes. It was hysterical.”
That’s amazing. “And another thing, I don’t drink rum. I’m not a rum drinker at all but I was just in Cuba a year ago, I shot a shark special for Discovery, and the rum you get in Cuba is nothing like the rum you get over here. Oh, my god! It was fantastic.”
Given your extensive career in television, would you ever produce a spirits or wine show? “I’ve been dying to do that. I’ve been pitching Food Network on a spirits show for ten years. When you start talking about the punt of the bottle and various terminology that’s connected, they think it scares the viewer. I don’t think so. I would love to be the first guy to have a spirits show on Food Network. It’s time. There’s no question it’s time.”
Interview has been condensed and edited.