Tequila Is Just For Shots: False
Tequila shots, with salt and a lime wedge, are part of our collective drinking unconscious. So much so, it feels like theres no other way to enjoy tequila.But expert bartenders say that you should allow the flavors of your tequila to open up, like a fine wine or scotch. Its much more common in Mexico to sip your tequila slowly the shot with lime and salt is primarily an American practice.
How Much Tequila Do You Put In A Margarita
For a single margarita, a 1.5-ounce shot of tequila is standard. It is typically equal to the total volume of the other two ingredients . For instance, the classic margarita formula is three parts tequila, two parts triple sec, and one part lime juice. This is adjusted to taste, pouring more triple sec for a sweeter margarita or extra lime to increase the tartness.
When sizing the margarita up to a pitcher, simply increase the ingredients and keep them in proportion. For example, in the typical half-gallon pitcher, you would combine 3.75 cups tequila, 2.5 cups orange liqueur, and 1.25 cup lime juice. This makes 7.5 cups, leaving room in the pitcher for you to adjust the three ingredients to taste, add a sweetener without increasing the alcohol, or chill it with ice. The margarita is a strong drink, so dilution and small servings are important.
Q: What Should I Eat With Tequila
You can always keep it traditional with your favorite taco recipe, but also consider how aged and unaged tequilas pair with different types of foods. Blanco tequila acts like white wine here, pairing nicely with fresh, citrusy dishes and seafood double up by dashing some into a ceviche. Meanwhile, añejo tequilas, often dark and smoky, are perfect with red meat and heartier, saucier dishes like enchiladas.
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Casamigos Reposado Tequila: Best Sweet Tequila
Price: £50 |
The brainchild of George Clooney and Rande Gerber, friends who could never find a tequila quite good enough to serve in their Mexican homes, this is a spirit that has unsurprisingly attracted a lot of publicity. So is it really worth the hype? Absolutely, especially if you like your tequila on the sweeter side, with vanilla and caramel coming through on both the nose and pallet, balanced with spice and tobacco.
Aged for seven months in previously used whisky barrels, we can confirm there is absolutely no burn, although we were less convinced by their blanco tequila, which we found disappointingly unsophisticated for the price. Drink neat, on the rocks or mix in a cocktail.
Key specs Alcohol content: 40% Bottle size: 70cl Type: Reposado
A Quick Background On Tequila
For everything that it’s been associated with in recent years, the agave spirit remains as revered among professional bartenders as bourbon and scotch despite its frequent association with rabble-rousers like salt and lime or Tequila Sunrise.
Though the famous Mexican liquor has been around for centuries, it wasnt always the party’s drink of choice.
Around 250 AD, the Aztecs discovered pulque, a drink produced from the fermented juices of a plant called maguey, a relative of agave. The earliest tequila, unlike pulque, was likely produced by Spanish colonists when they entered South America. Don Pedro Sánchez de Tagle founded the first distillery in what is now Tequila, Jalisco, in the early 1600s.
Mexican tequila was eventually recognized as intellectual property by the Mexican government in 1974. It was then stated that the liquor may only be produced in the states of Jalisco, Nayarit, Guanajuato, Michoacán, and Tamaulipas.
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Tequila : What Exactly Is Considered Tequila
There are certain regulations defining tequila, which are meant to protect this distinctly Mexican spirit. It can only be made from blue Weber agave, and while most tequila is made in the state of Jalisco, it can also be produced in Michoacan, Tamaulipas, Nayarit, and Guanajuato. A mixto contains at least 51 percent agave, the rest being sugar and additives, but the tequilas in this list are all 100 percent agave spirits. It is legal to add a very small amount of color or flavor to tequila . You can definitely taste the additives in some brands, but not so much in others. If you are curious to find out more about this, heres a good list to get you started down the additive rabbit hole.
As far as production, some distilleries use more traditional methods to produce tequila-like brick ovens to roast the agave pinas and a tahona stone to crush it, while others use something called a diffuser. This modern and efficient piece of equipment basically strips the sugars from the agave by blasting it with hot water and sometimes also using acid or chemicals. The result is what tequila aficionados derisively call agavodka, claiming that the flavor has chemical notes, or at worst is just neutral. Diffuser-made tequilas are more likely to have additives, but that is not always the case.
Budget Bottles For Shots And Sips
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Making tequila is not a quick process. Agave plants take seven to 12 years to reach maturity, and once harvested, they need to be roasted, distilled, and left to rest for months to years depending on the style. While many high-quality tequilas come with a steep price tag, you can certainly find bottles to fit your budgetand not all are strictly for shooting. Several brands produce excellent inexpensive tequilas suitable for sipping and making cocktails, such as margaritas, sangritas, and bloody marias. We researched top brands to find premier bottles for sipping straight, mixing drinks, and, yes, taking shots.
Here are the best cheap tequilas.
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Frequently Asked Questions Best Tequilas
Mezcal is the general term given to any agave spirits and they can be produced from up to 50 species of the plant. Tequila is a type of mezcal that is produced from just one species of agave that is the Weber blue agave.
The majority of Tequila comes from the state of Jalisco in Mexico. Agave-based spirits outside of this state are generally other types of Mezcals.
Seasoned Tequila drinkers tend to prefer Don Julio for its smoother and more complex taste, whereas Patron is better for use in cocktails.
Some of the other brands which didnt make this list but deserve mention include Jose Cuervo and Casa Noble, but fairly reliable and well-respected in the Tequila business.
Vivir Tequila Aejo: Best
Price: £39 | Buy now from Master of Malt
The delectable sipping tequila is made from 100% 12-year-old Blue Weber agave and aged in bourbon casks for at least 18 months, sometimes longer. Its incredibly smooth and has a lovely sweetness thats complemented by its aged richness. This is a great tequila to enjoy on its own, but it also makes a deliciously rich margarita.
If youre looking for a complex tipple thats dry and full of flavour, this is it. However, if you prefer your tequila on the milder side, you might want to check out some of the other offerings on this list.
Key specs Alcohol content: 40% Bottle size: 70cl Type: Añejo
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The Best Tequilas For 2021 Are:
- Best overall G4 Blanco: £40.69, Coolchile.co.uk
- Best for whisky lovers Storywood speyside 14 añejo: £47.99, Storywoodtequila.com
- Best bargain El Jimador blanco: £26.35, Masterofmalt.com
- Best sipping blanco Mijenta Blanco: £49.95, Thewhiskyexchange.com
- Best for richer cocktails Cazcabel Reposado: £26.44, Masterofmalt.com
- Best for T& Ts El Rayo plata: £33.23, Masterofmalt.com
- Best for tequila sceptics 1800 Cristalino tequila: £46.85, Masterofmalt.com
- Best classic reposado Herradura reposado: £43.63, Masterofmalt.com
- Best traditional blanco Tapatio blanco: £25.12,
- Best for sweet tooths Padre Azul añejo: £107.95, Masterofmalt.com
- Best for summery drinking Código rosa: £49.95, Masterofmalt.com
- Best low-key celeb tequila AquaRiva reposado: £28.95, Thewhiskyexchange.com
- Best for Instagramming Vivir blanco: £34.95, Masterofmalt.com
El Tesoro Aejo Tequila
If you want to discover an authentic Mexican tequila with a bold yet traditional flavor, then order a bottle of El Tesoro. El Tesoro may be owned by Beam Suntory, the Japanese company responsible for Suntory Whisky, but this tequila is still made from traditional methods and local agave. In fact, the grandson of founder Don Felipe Camarena oversees production today. The Añejo variety is aged in American oak bourbon barrels for up to three years, which results in a nice blend of warm agave and oak flavors. If you try this tequila neat, youll notice notes of maple, vanilla and caramel, balanced with pepper and floral tones.
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What Is Extra Aejo Tequila
This type of tequila hasnt been on the market as long as the others it was only given an official classification in 2005, though distillers had been making their own batches of this extra special spirit long before the world knew about it.
Extra añejo is aged more than three years, and it is the most expensive tequila option. The flavor, which is spicy and warm like incense, continues to improve with age, but only small batches of tequila are reserved for this purpose. That means most distillers make very limited supplies each year. Sip and savor each drop of this precious liquor.
What To Look For
When it comes to blanco tequilas, I like those that are flexible in function, says Master Mixologist Gates Outsuji. Outsuji feels that great blanco tequila should be as marvelous in a cocktail as it is on its own, right out of the bottle. “I favor those that honor the flavor of the source material I look for warm notes of steamed agave, hints of vanilla and citrus, but not too much spice, he says. Additionally, Master Mixologist Anthony Baker considers paying attention to weight. Good blanco tequilas are determined by how rich they are, says Baker, noting that reposados and añejos are inherently rich because of the barrel-aging process, but blancos dont have that luxury. So their richness mainly hinges upon their distillation process, whereby richness can be achieved through pot-distillation, he explains.
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Sharp Smooth Fruity And Oaky Heres Our Selection Of The Best Tequila For Every Occasion
Whether youre looking for something smooth to sip or something flavourful for a cocktail or two, weve tried, tested and rated some of the best tequilas for every palate.
When most people think of tequila they might be reminded of boozy, shot-filled nights, but theres so much more to tequila than salty shots. If you havent already been introduced to the world of quality tequilas, youre in for a treat because there are some truly fantastic options out there.
Heres our guide to the some of the best tequilas you can buy, plus tips on what to look out for before you make your purchase. From Bohemian get-togethers to party nights, well help you get your tequila choice sussed.
Best Cheap: Sauza Silver Tequila
Budget tequilas are tricky, and it is very easy to get burned when you buy the wrong one. Sauza Silver is one that wont let you down or leave your mouth on fire. It may not be as smooth as top-shelf tequilas, but it is one of the best affordable options, and its in nearly every liquor store.
Sauza is distilled in the town of Tequila and right across the street from Jose Cuervo. While both brands are famous for their cheap gold tequilas, Sauzas 100 percent blue Weber agave silver tequila is a smoother option for tequila shots when you want to save money. It makes a nice margarita as well, particularly when blended with fruits like strawberry and pineapple.
Bottle Size: 750 milliliters | Tasting Notes: Fresh agave, fiber, pepper | ABV: 40% | Region: Los Valles, Jalisco
Silver tequilas are unaged and the most affordable of any brands lineup. Tequila Herradura offers a brilliant example that should be almost anywhere you look. It is premium, but not priced out of reach for the average drinker, and it always produces a great tequila cocktail.
Bottle Size: 750 milliliters | Tasting Notes: Cooked agave, citrus, black pepper | ABV: 40% | Region: Tequila Valley, Jalisco
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Wrapping Up: Silver Vs Gold Tequila
So, whats the difference between silver and gold tequila? A lot of things! The aging of the tequila colors and the flavors are worlds apart. Clear tequila vs gold tequila is all about the flavor, price range, versatility, and smoothness. Because of that, gold tequila is considered best for sipping while clear or silver tequila is ideal for cocktails.
El Tequileo Blanco Tequila
For the past 60 years, El Tequileño Blanco has been the tequila of choice for residents of Tequila and Guadalajara. Only the most outstanding ingredients are used to manufacture this high-quality tequila, which is 70% agave and 30% Piloncillo .
El Tequileño combines estate-cultivated Blue Agave from Jalisco’s Los Altos region with mineral-rich water from El Volcan de Tequila. El Tequileño is one of just a few distilleries that has access to this rare source of water.
This Blanco is aged in American Oak for 14 days, which adds balance and depth. This incredibly versatile tequila works well with many of your beloved cocktails, including the Batanga, Margarita, Paloma, and many others.
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Jose Cuervo Tradicional Reposado
Traditional Reposado was aged for 3 moths in oak barrels before bottling. This is a far better tequila than its Blanco brother. The short aging period imprinted vanilla, cinnamon and oaky notes that make it more palatable.
Cuervo Reposado is good for mixing when looking for cocktails with more character than those mixed with Blanco.
Best For Beginners: Casamigos Blanco
Courtesy of Wine.com
Region: Jalisco | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Vanilla, Citrus, Agave
To help guests appreciate the nuances of a great sipping tequila, says Hurley, My job is to get people away from drinking tequila chilled with lime and salt. Casamigos helps. With its sweet, vanilla intensity, its a great entry tequila. Its like vanilla ice cream, Hurley says. Yet, it doesnt completely sacrifice that classic cooked agave flavor, and theres a touch of balancing citrus to it.
Medina enjoys its smoothness, a quality that helps make it friendly for beginners, who might want to drink it on the slightly cool side. If somebody has a wine fridge and wants to bring it down a few degrees from room temperature, Im not opposed to that, says Hurley.
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Los Azulejos Tequila Silver
Tequila Los Azulejos, whose name means “glazed” or “polished” in Spanish, is made from 100% agave and bottled to maintain the spirit’s freshness and brilliance during the second distillation process. Los Azulejos Tequila Silver is presented in a stunning bottle crafted from hand-blown artisan glass that highlights the color and vibrancy of this exquisite Tequila.
This silvery tequila has a strong agave taste with hints of pepper, fragrant herbs, and sour-sweet overtones that appear to favor minerality from the moment it enters the mouth. Natural agave and clear flavors dominate the palate. The lack of roast allows smoothness and softness to take over your senses.
Volcan De Mi Tierra Blanco
Volcan De Mi Tierra, which means land of the volcano, uses a blend of agave from the Lowlands and Highlands that are grown in the shadow of the long-dormant monolith. The brand launched a few years back as part of the LVMH portfolio and sits in the premium range of blancos that you can choose from. The combination of agave from different regions yields a palate with notes of fruit, citrus, and spice, making this a good choice to enjoy neat or to mix up a batch of cocktails with.
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How To Choose The Best Tequila For You
The name tequila is protected, so all brands and types come from Mexico. The spirit is mostly produced in the area surrounding the actual city of Tequila, and in the highlands of the central-western Mexican state of Jalisco. Here, the blue agave plant needs at least eight years to mature, after which harvesters extract the piña from the plants core, stripping it of its leaves before distilling it.
What types of tequila are there?
There are four main types:
Blanco a white-coloured spirit, bottled or stored straight after distillation or aged less than two months in stainless steel or oak barrels.
Reposado literally, a rested tequila, which has been aged in oak barrels for between two and 12 months.
Añejo is aged tequila. This stays in the barrels for longer generally between one and three years and the barrels themselves are smaller, which adds to the flavour.
Extra añejo tequilas that remain in the barrel for at least three years.
The different tastes are quite distinctive. With blanco, the agave flavours tend to be more intense, while reposado or añejo are usually smoother, mellower and more complex and just like other spirits aged in casks, they can take on the flavours of the wood.
How do I know it’s tequila?
Look for 100% agave tequila printed on the bottle label. This designation is only allowed to appear on bottles containing tequila that have no added sugars. When sugar get added to the fermentation tank, the tequila style is called a mixto.