Volcan De Mi Tierra Tequila Cristalino
Cristalino tequila is a newer adaptation to the handful of regulated tequila categories. Travel Distilled explains that the cristalino is an añejo and extra añejo blend filtered through charcoal to eliminate some of the brown color left from aging in wood barrels. The site says filtering charcoal is a more common technique to concentrate flavor in other spirits, such as whiskey, vodka, or bourbon. Volcan’s Cristalino tequila is aged in barrels that once housed whiskey or cognac, says Travel Distilled. The mix creates a distinct flavor of spice, vanilla, and chocolate. Drink Hacker finds notes of “understated” caramel and vanilla with hints of sweetness that don’t overpower the agave.
Volcan de Mi Tierra attributes the taste to the agave harvested from Las Regiones Valles y Altos, combining a blend of highland and lowland agave plants. The brand appears to select only what it deems the best of the land for its spirits, taking inspiration from the rich soil in the state of Jalisco believed to have benefited from the Tequila Volcano.
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.
Q: What Is A Good Tequila For Beginners
Who says you have to start with a blanco? If youre a beginner who plans to sip your tequila neat or on the rocks, treat yourself to the Siembra Azul Añejo, a fantastic spirit that starts with organically farmed agave roasted in clay ovens. Interestingly, the nectar is slow-fermented to the tunes of Mozart and Vivaldi in an effort to reduce environmental stress. If classical music is the secret to this añejo, then it surely works. Enjoy warm spice aromas that unroll into a palate of butterscotch and caramelized fruit.
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Best Cristalino: 1800 Cristalino
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Sweet, Smooth, Peppery
A recent innovation, cristalino is made by stripping the color from aged tequila. Its essentially a way to circumvent the steep pricing of agave due to crop shortages by using what distillers already have in stock. The 1800 Cristalino is a good bottle to uncork when drinking with non-tequila fans. Blended from 16-month-old añejo aged in American and French oak, its rested for an additional six months in former port barrels before double filtering. As youd expect, its sweet on the nose and the palate, with a luscious mouthfeel, but it finishes with some of the pepperiness that bespeaks the agave. Sip this neat or on ice.
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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What Brand Has The Best Tequila
Different types of tequila do suit different purposes and different tastes, so the best tequila brand really does depend on whether youre drinking it in a cocktail or neat, and what type of flavour youre looking for. Of course, the best tequila for you will also depend on the price point youre looking at. Weve recommended plenty of our favourite brands below which range from El Rayo and Clase Azul to Patrón and Don Julio. Trust us, a truly great tequila is waiting for you.
Best Tequilas For Sipping: Eight To Try
Tequila is so evocative of the country it is made in. Think hot sunny days dusty, colourful Mexican streets fresh and flavourful produce the bright brass sound of mariachi the simple cantinas serving cervezas and our hero spirit.
Tequila is not a spirit that you want to slam back, it is a drink that you slow your life down for. You sip and savour it, just as the patrons do in those cantinas.
This hasnt always been the case, however. For a little while, tequila lost its way, especially in the latter half of the 20th century. In short, some producers abandoned the time-honoured traditional, artisanal production methods in favour of more efficient ones. Machines were created to remove as much of the sugar from the agave plant as possible, in order to get the most amount of liquid from fermentation and distillation.
Some companies started using a mix of agave and other sugars for the base material of their tequilas. These products were called mixtos. They were allowed into legislation in 1964 with a minimum requirement of 70% agave making up the recipe, however this was reduced to 51% in 1970.
Complexity and flavour were lost, with some companies making little more than alcoholic paint strippers. As a result tequila gained a reputation as a party drink. It became something to throw back and shudder over, because who enjoys drinking something that tastes so rough and ready?
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El Rayo Plata Tequila
Smooth, modern tequila, made for a T& T . This bottle is the passion project of a couple of young Brits who fell in love with tequila and quit their day jobs for the cause. Smooth and herbaceous, tonic helps bring out the more complex and oily citrus notes of this impressive, peppery spirit. Read our full El Rayo Plata tequila review.
Casa Dragones Aejo Barrel Blend
- Country of Origin: Mexico
- Age: Añejo
- Casking: French & American Oak
Casa Dragones prides itself in its artisanal approach where it only produces tequila in small 500-case batches. Its Añejo barrel blend is produced by blending tequila that has been aged separately in new 100% Quercus Sessile French oak and new American oak.
Both barrels have been lightly bousiné or toasted, which helps in offering greater complexity by reducing the woods influence. The result is a floral and fruity nose with rich macadamia and spicy nutmeg flavour that finishes on a crescendo of cacao and pepper.
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How Much Does Tequila Cost
As there are lots of different types of tequila, prices can be surprisingly sporadic. However, its not impossible to have an idea of what budget youll need when buying some.
Ignoring mixto and flavoured tequila, blanco and plata 100% blue agave tequila can be as low as just under $30. However, premium brands may retail it for as high as $60.
Given that ageing tequila requires both time and additional labour, it can be more expensive. That being said, some resposado expressions may go as low as $30 as well.
Nevertheless, its reasonable to expect that high-quality tequila that has been aged for multiple years can fetch for similar prices to Scotch whisky and cognac. Therefore, dont be surprised when you see some good bottles of extra añejo for over $150.
Tequila Pueblo Viejo Blanco
Not all sipping tequilas need to be expensive. Pueblo Viejo Blanco is one underrated tequila that spirits experts consistently recommend: As an unaged tequila, it’s a great value option. Before she joined Pueblo Viejo, Tequila Aficionado was noting creator Carmen Alicia Villarreal Treviño as the “Original Tequila Boss Lady.” Viejo Blanco is considered a workhorse spirit because this herbaceous and cost-effective tequila can be either sipped or used in a cocktail. Wine Enthusiast finds the tequila surprising for floral and fruit notes that “suggest a grappa or pisco rather than a classic Tequila.”
As of writing this article, Pueblo Viejo makes four styles, with its blanco as the flagship variety. The brand’s agave is grown in the highlands of Jalisco, harvested every 7 to 10 years at Casa San Matías. Pueblo Viejo Blanco features the flavor of caramel from the cooked agave and a blend of fruit notes, resulting in a long finish. You also might notice an aroma of cooked agave, green apple, and citrus, but we won’t blame you if the smooth flavor is what catches your attention. The maker’s branding is as refreshing as its tequila a departure from other brands thanks to its contemporary aesthetic that isn’t afraid to market to women.
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Jose Cuervo Clasico Blanco Tequila
Its no wonder that Jose Cuervo is one of the most widely known tequila brands on the market. Its a classic, and for good reason. Produced, of course, with blue agave, the blanco tequila is unaged and makes the perfect addition to any cocktail and the dream base of any margarita. Both sweet and strong, with a note of spice, its a crisp tequila that youll always come back to. £29.69. At
Best For Sipping: El Tesoro Aejo
Courtesy of leesliquorlv.com
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Citrus, Spice, Brown butter
Like any fine spirit served neat, a good sipping tequila should be smooth, velvety, and nonabrasivebut, simultaneously, should still taste like tequila, rather than trying to mimic the characteristics of whiskey, or vodka, or anything else.
The añejo from El Tesoro is a classically-styled tequila that checks all those boxes: it’s soft and silky, a result of two to three years of aging in American oak ex-bourbon barrels, but it’s not as flush with caramel or vanilla as certain añejos that receive a more heavy-handed aging treatment. Consequently, the flavor of the agave really comes throughno surprise for a brand that prides itself on traditional production methods, from crushing the agave with a volcanic stone tahona to fermenting in open wooden vats with ambient yeasts. The El Tesoro añejo is an ideal choice the next time you’re craving the vibrancy of raw agave character without wanting to bother with ice or with lime.
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 46% | Tasting Notes: Cinnamon, Olives, Grapefruit peel
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Where To Buy Tequila In The Usa
Thanks to its geographical and cultural proximity, tequila can be easily found in most liquor and convenience stores throughout the USA.
Indeed, the USA represents Mexicos first importer of tequila, having brought over 204 million litres of it in 2019! For context, Germany is Mexicos second-biggest importer, which only consumed just over 5 million litres in the same year.
However, most easily-available tequila is rarely exceptional in quality or in value. In most cases, its bottom-shelf booze and rarely 100% blue agave. In fact, its easy to accidentally buy sub-part mixto tequila, which consists of a minimum 51% blue agave and other sugars.
Nevertheless, the internet is an excellent resource, especially when it comes to liquor. There are a number of online retailers that specialise in high-quality alcohol while still offering good value for money.
We were particularly impressed by Reserve Bar, which features a vast selection of tequila from different brands. Furthermore, Reserve Bar has partnered with a few producers in order to provide exclusives and fair pricing.
Meanwhile, Drizly works in partnership with local liquor stores. Therefore, it tends to have a very healthy and diverse range of products. The benefit of its service is that you can discover whats locally available to you and have it delivered within an hour.
Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver Tequila
The ideal cocktail base from the worlds oldest and biggest tequila brand. Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver is a premium offering from this mammoth distillery it’s a slick, 100 per cent agave spirit that has well-balanced smoothness and sweetness. It’s perfect for a . Read our full Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver tequila review.
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Del Maguey Vida Mezcal
Del Maguey is the brainchild of Californian artist turned mezcal maestro Ron Cooper, who has been importing this agave spirit since 1995. It has since become the darling spirit of the hipster world. This example shows how different it can taste from tequila, with smoky elements and an earthy undertone.
Best Reposado: Siete Leguas Reposado
Courtesy of Drizly.com
Region: Jalisco | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Baking spices, Vanilla, Slate, Shale
Like many bartenders, Chasse considers this reposado from Siete Leguas her favorite tequila in general, regardless of the expression. The distillery where it’s made uses a mix of grinding methods: efficient roller mill and traditional tahona, a millstone carved from volcanic rock. The result: “A nice balance between sustainability and the wonderful qualities of earthiness from the more fibrous milling of the tahona, she says.
With its mix of minerality, wood-driven vanilla notes and baking-spice panache, this versatile reposado is perfect to sip on anytime along with many different types of foods, says Chasse. “It just makes my heart happy.
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El Espeln Blanco Tequila
The El Espelòn Blanco tequila is made using the finest blue agave up in the Highlands region of Mexico. After an aging process of almost ten years, the agave is patiently selected and hand-picked to make this super-premium tequila.
The taste is fruity, with agave notes, owers, lemon zest, white pepper, and tropical fruits. The aftertaste offers a soft oily mouthfeel with agave, vanilla, and pineapple flavors.
This distinctive Blanco tequila is set apart from other tequilas by its pure flavors and simple, fruit-forward taste. This delicious tequila will give you a great shot of energy and make you the life of any party. For those who want high-quality taste and value for money, go for Espelon.
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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Don Julio Reposado Double Cask
- Country of Origin: Mexico
- Region: Atotonilco El Alto, Jalisco
- Age: Reposado
- Casking: American & Ex-Scotch Whisky Oak
- ABV: 40%
Since Don Julio launched its limited-edition double cask range, it has produced some fascinating combinations. On this occasion, it consists of finishing tequila that was aged in American white oak barrels with ex-Scotch whisky casks that were first used by Buchanan.
As a result, it offers deep flavours of chocolate malt with hints of peat while revealing tropical fruit and spices. Overall, an original and tantalising tequila to try!
What Are The Best Tequila Brands
If youre ready to pick up a couple of new bottles of the best tequila brands , here are our favorite bottles to buy. Most of these spirits are available on sites like Drizly and Reserve Bar, two super convenient alcohol delivery sites. Weve also made suggestions to pair them with specific foods for some of these options, just as you would a fine wine.
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What Is The Smoothest Tequila
Bucket List Tequila: The 10 Best Tequilas To Try At Least Once
Tequila has come a long way since the warm, sombrero-clad shots of El Toro we all foolishly took in college. The once-mandatory lime wedge would now be an insult to many of the amazing spirits on the market. Brands have set themselves apart with limited editions, interesting blends, and creative ageing. While there are plenty of top notch offerings, these are the most unique and best tequilas to try before you die.
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