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.
What Is The Best Tequila
Our editors have reviewed dozens of tequila brands over the last year, to come up with some of our favorite bottles, based on taste profile, uniqueness and value. And while there are a number of tequila brands that have launched in recent months , this list runs the gamut from tried-and-true brands, to limited-edition releases that youll be smart to pick up if you see them available online.
Whether you want to sip on something smooth or just want to upgrade your margarita, here are 15 tequilas you can buy online and get delivered to your door in time for your next happy hour, dinner or party.
The Best Blanco Reposado And Aejo Tequilas To Be Savored On Their Own
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LIQUOR / Chloe Jeong
Best Highlands:Tequila Chamucos Reposado at Drizly
Floral on the nose, it has the bittersweet fruitiness and briny undertones to keep you coming back for more.
A is fantastic, but its not the only way to drink tequila. In fact, if you take a deeper dive, you’ll discover tequilas you can enjoy on their own, says Crystal Chasse, beverage director of Talk Story Rooftop in Brooklyn, New York. What she’s describing is what’s called a sipping tequila.
” distinctive nuances that take you on a journey from the front to the back palate, with a finish that makes you come back for another sip, she explains.
According to Morgan Hurley, marketing and beverage director of Mex 1 Coastal Cantina in Charleston, South Carolina, a sipping tequila should be 100% agave and very well-crafted, particularly if its unaged.
Reposados, on the other hand, are barrel-aged for two months to a year, and they should be mellow, he says. “But still have that cooked agave flavor mingling with the honey, toasted oak and vanilla.
Here, the best sipping tequilas our experts recommend to drink right now.
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Best White: Arette Blanco Tequila
I like tequilas that have a strong family history and choose to do the right thing for the land and the people, says Dean Hurst, beverage director for Datz Restaurant Group. Each bottle is made with care in the town of Tequila, right outside Guadalajara. The brand is still run by the Orendain brothers, who are descendants of some of the oldest tequila producers in the country. That said, the tequila still holds the same quality it did generations ago, with flavors of jackfruit, lime zest, and green pepper.
Give your margarita some punch with Arette Blanco, a steal for a cheaper tequila, says Hurst. He also recommends the distillerys reposado because it’s a great sipper and adds complexity to the paloma cocktail.
Hope Ray, a bartender at The Holler in Bentonville, Arkansas, reaches for Agavales Blanco because it often runs under $20, so you cant go wrong with this in your home bar. The budget bottle clocks in at a spicy 110 proof, so it’ll add a little heat in each sip. Because it’s on the lower end of the price scale, it’s not as elegant in cocktails as some other options are.
That said, it makes a great margarita and an easy shooter, says Ray. If you want a crowd-pleasing bottle, this is the one. Consider putting it in the freezer before enjoying. By chilling it down, the cold temperatures will balance out the higher-proof burn of making shots with this tequila.
Tequila And The Worm: Dont Fall For The Gimmick
Adding worms or scorpions to a tequila bottle is nothing more than a marketing gimmick. Dont fall for it.
In fact, the tequila regulatory council does not allow gusanos or scorpions to be included in tequila bottles.
Here are some other tips for enjoying your tequila experience:
- Avoid anything aged over 4 years. Many tequila experts believe that aging the spirit for longer than 4 years will degrade the agave flavors.
- Dont shoot tequila, sip it. Breathe in the aromas. Let the flavors open up. Best results come from a tasting glass or snifter.
- Pair it with food. We recommend tacos with slow cooked beef, chipotle chilies, tomatoes, white onion, and chorizo.
- Look out for ice-cold chilled on the bottle. Chilling any alcohol reduces smells and flavors associated with a lower-quality product. High-quality tequilas are typically best enjoyed at room temperature.
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How Is Tequila Produced
Making tequila is a long and detailed process that requires a mix of craftsmanship, patience and a little bit of luck. Patrón employs a seven-step process that could take up to three years before the tequila is ready.
To start, agave plants are harvested by hand in the Jalisco Highlands, using farms that pass the Mexican Tequila Regulatory Councils yes, its a thing strict standards. The agave can only be harvested at a precise time to give off the optimal amount of sweetness without being too tart, bitter or bland. If the agave is cut from the ground too early or too late, it will compromise the quality of the tequila being produced. The ideal ripeness of agave is somewhere between six to eight years thats when the plant has optimal sugar content.
After the agave is selected and harvested, it is taken to the distillery where it is slowly cooked. The hearts of the agave plant are put in brick ovens and steamed to bring out the natural sugars of the plant . After baking for 79 hours, Patrón uses a time-honored tahona process that then takes the roasted agave and places it into a giant pit, where a large stone wheel is used to break down the agave to extract the juice.
If youre going to buy tequila, heres what you need to know:
1. Its Not Tequila if its Not Produced in the Tequila Region
All tequila comes from the Tequila region of Mexico, and in order for a spirit to call itself tequila, it must be distilled from agave plants grown in that region.
Understanding The Differences In Types Of Tequila
Tequila is made from the distillation of the juice from the blue agave plant. Pure tequila, made solely from the agave plant, begins its life in fermentation vessels. Mixto tequila must first be mixed with sugar or molasses before fermentation begins. Then, depending on the subsequent process, the tequila will become one of the following five types.
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Mi Campo Reposado Tequila
Proudly marrying tradition with innovation, Mi Campo Reposado is a 100% blue agave tequila aged over a three-month period in California wine barrels. This novel process delivers a smoother and more complex profile that tastes far beyond its price point. Its a millennials dream spirit, perfect for sipping or mixing up a paloma without bruising the wallet. I love Mi Campo because its amazingly smooth and a great tequila coupled with amazing value, Luis Morales, general manager of Baby Jane in Miami, Florida, shared. It takes me back to my happiest life moments the second I take a sip. Additionally, the display-worthy bottle showcases striking artwork from Mexico City artist Raul Urias.Price: Starts at $27.99 for a 1L bottle
Best Overall: Roca Patrn Silver
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 45% | Tasting Notes: Smooth, Herbaceous, Black Pepper
Patron is a brand that I believe is misunderstood, says Darnell Holguin, beverage director of New York’s Las Lap. helped bring attention to the category as a whole by offering a premium spirit during a time when the U.S. was still trying to understand tequila. The Roca lineup is pricey, but noteworthy in that a giant stone wheel called a tahona is used to press the agave after cookinga traditional method that many believe extracts more flavor. Holguin describes the flavor as balanced with an herbaceous quality and a spicy, warm finish.
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Tequila Ocho Plata 2017 Single Estate Los Patos
As mentioned previously in this article, Carlos Camarena of El Tesoro is a legendary tequila maker, which is why Tomas Estes enlisted him as a partner on Tequila Ocho. Estes wanted the best, so he teamed with the best. Tequila Ocho Plata 2017 Single Estate Los Patos smells of peaches, bananas, lemongrass and straw. The list of flavors in the mix includes chamomile, rosemary, peppermint, avocado and green olives. It opens and develops in the glass like a fine wine.
What Are Popular Tequila Cocktails
When it comes to classic Tequila cocktails, there are just three you need to know. Master the recipes for the Margarita, the Paloma, and the Tequila Sunrise, and you’ll be welcome at any party. Plus, you can always substitute Tequila for other spirits in favorite cocktails like the or .
Here are some of the best Tequila cocktail recipes:
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Best Highlands: Tequila Chamucos Reposado
Courtesy of Total Wine
Region: Jalisco | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: White flowers, Stone fruit, Sea salt
Though other expressions have since been added, Tequila Chamucos was founded in 1994 as a reposado-only, so you can be sure that its producers are dedicated to the style.
Made with organic, high-mountain agave cooked in a brick oven and distilled in a stainless steel alembic still, it is triple-filtered and then aged in both American and French oak barrels. All of that renders one smooth sip. Floral on the nose, it has the bittersweet fruitiness and briny undertones to keep you coming back for more.
Tequila Is The Intellectual Property Of Mexico: True
In fact, its illegal for other countries besides Mexico to sell tequila. In 1974, the Mexican government declared the term tequila the intellectual property of Mexico. Mexican law requires tequila to be produced only in certain regions of the country. Tequila sold outside Mexico is technically a mezcal or a mixto.
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Villa Lobos Extra Aejo
Originally slated only for the UK market, this passion project of legendary distiller Carlos Camarena was recently made available in the US. His goal is to make as expressive a tequila as possible, and nowhere is that more evident than in the extra añejo. After four years aging in barrels, theres the expected battery of oak, vanilla, toffee and caramel, but what makes Villa Lobos special is those flavors travel hand in hand with roasted agave that somehow still tastes fresh, alongside pepper and a bit of earth.
Are All Tequilas Made Of 100 Percent Blue Weber Agave
Nearly all premium tequilas are made entirely from blue Weber agave , but there’s another category of tequila called “mixto” in which blue Weber agave need only compose 51 percent of the spirit. Producers utilize various types of sugar to make up the remaining percentage, including high fructose corn syrup and molassesalthough sometimes a lightly processed Mexican cane sugar known as piloncillo is what’s used. If your bottle doesn’t indicate on the label that it’s made from 100 percent agaveand if the price is on the lower end of the spectrumthere’s a good chance that you’re dealing with a mixto. While less expensive, these tequilas don’t reflect a historically anthentic approach to the composition of the spirit.
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Villa One Silver Tequila
Villa One Silver Tequila is a well-known brand with a mild flavor and a combination of charcoal and almond tastes that create immense pleasure.
Liquor lovers always crave quality tequila from reliable sources, and Villa One never disappoints. It is regarded as one of the best tequila for margarita for its unmatched mixed fruit flavor.
Villa One continues to gain a lot of positive responses from all over the world. So if you are into a mixed fruity tequila, this ones for you.
Best Tequila For Shots
While they may not have always called them shots, consuming cheap alcohol quickly is not foreign to the human race. And thats exactly the purpose of shots to get straight alcohol into your system fast. No sweeteners, no fruit, no blending, just the spirit. Thats why the best tequila for shots is often cheap.
While many might take shots to boost their mood and/or get over a bad day or forget about poor circumstances for a while, its not always depressing. Many do it in a party setting as a way to quickly achieve their desired level of intoxication. Whatever your reason, its important to know your limit.
The idea of taking shots has a somewhat precarious reputation as its often the precursor to bad decisions and over-the-top behavior, especially in public. When done responsibly though, it can be a lot of fun and there are some delicious shots out there. Regardless, tequila is a go-to.
You can take a shot of any drink, but some just make more sense than others. For example, an expensive bottle of hand-crafted, organic whiskey is meant to be enjoyed much like a bottle of Anejo tequila made from 100 percent agave that was matured for ten years before harvest.
A cheap bottle of mixto tequila, on the other hand? You can down that stuff as fast as you want completely guilt-free. Mixto tequila is only 51 percent agave and is topped up with sugar cane juice. These will taste more strongly of alcohol and often produce a burning sensation on the way down.
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Sauza Tres Generaciones Plata Silver Tequila: Best Blanco Tequila
Price: £54 |
This unaged, clear tequila is triple distilled for an exceptionally smooth sipping experience, with slight hints of citrus, floral notes and white pepper. Theres no throat burning with this premium tequila from Sauza, named for the three generations of their family who have been making their tequila since 1873.
In fact, theyre one of the most awarded families of tequilas, with six gongs at the International Wine & Spirits Competition, one of the most prestigious in the industry. Its clean, fresh tasting and well balanced.
Key specs Alcohol content: 38% Bottle size: 70cl Type: Blanco
What’s The Difference Between Tequila And Mezcal
You may have heard the rumor that the spirit known as mezcal is simply a smoky version of tequila. In fact, the truth is closer to the reverse of that: the term “mezcal” refers broadly to any distillate of the agave plant produced in Mexico, so the spirit called tequila is simply one specific type of mezcal. While government regulations allow for the production of mezcal in nine different Mexican states, tequila may only be produced in five states: Jalisco, Michoacán, Nayarit, Guanajuato, and certain parts of Tamaulipas. Addionally, while mezcal may be produced from dozens of different agave varietiesresulting in numerous distinct styles and flavor profilestequila may only be produced from the blue Weber agave.
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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
Best Value: Pueblo Viejo Blanco
courtesy of Checkersliquors.com
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: White pepper, Agave, Mint
Tequila’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, and the top bottles now command cultish prices formerly reserved for the rarest of Scotches and small-batch bourbons. But there are still plenty of great values for those with the patience to seek them outand it’s hard to think of an inexpensive tequila that over-delivers on quality quite like Pueblo Viejo. A secret favorite in the mixologist comminity, Pueblo Viejo blanco is crafted using 100 percent blue Weber agave, which is cooked in stone and brick ovens and crushed by a traditional rolling mill called a tahona. The classically-made tequila boasts a nose of white pepper and a rustic, unapologetic palate replete with bright agave and fresh mint.
Once you claw your way through the limited-production bottlings and the celebrity vanity projects, you’ll discover that solid tequila can still be found at budget pricesand the Pueblo Viejo blanco is Exhibit A.
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Tequila Casa Dragones Blanco
Tequila Casa Dragones Blanco was voted The Best Blanco Tequila” by Epicurious Magazine. Its clean and smooth consistency has won the hearts of every tequila lover out there.
The water used for Casa Dragones Blanco is exceptionally pure and natural spring water enriched with the perfect balance of minerals.
This tequila has unique semi-sweet notes of agave warmed by pepper and cloves. What makes Tequila Casa Dragones Blanco one of the best tequila for margarita is its crisp and light finish with hints of almonds and a bright aftertaste that will leave you speechless.