Ready To Become A Tequila Expert
This tequila guide will cover what makes a tequila a tequila and go over some basic definitions so you can dazzle yourself and others with tequila knowledge. Ill provide some recommendations for tequilas that are widely available so you can begin to stock your home bar and ensure the best tequila experience for your next party or quiet night at home.
Leela Cyd Ross
Clase Azul Reposado $100
We wont kid you, Clase Azuls bottle steals the show individually sculpted and painted by hand, how could it not? Whats on the inside, though, is also a great experience. Aged for eight months, their reposado tequila is silky and smooth, with oak, vanilla, and toffee flavors that blend well with the cooked agave.
Siembra Valles High Proof Blanco
David Suro is a Philadelphia-based tequila connoisseur who, after immigrating to the U.S. in 1985, returned to his native Guadalajara to begin producing his Siembra Valles line of tequilas. Coming from the volcanic Valles region, Suro works with the Rosales family of Distileria Cascahuín . Fermented in both a stone mampostería and in stainless steel tanks, bagasse is used in concert with yeast to introduce more flavor, a process rarely used by commercial producers. This is complex and tropical, with notes of roasted pineapple, vanilla and a slightly mentholated aspect, similar to eucalyptus. Rich, but biting on the finish, this was our favorite tequila in the tasting.
- Price: $39
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Best Gift: Casa Dragones Aejo Barrel Blend
Courtesy of Casa Dragones
Region: Jalisco | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Pepper, Nuts, Oak
Our job as bar pros is to be skeptical, but when I took the first sip, I was like, Oh, this is divine, says Chasse. A lot of bottles that people think about for gifting are on the sweeter side, but this one is not super sweet. Instead, the aging program, in both new French and new American oak, lends it complexity and balance.
Chasse finds plenty of peppery spice, nuttiness and a hint of cacao but with a lush mouthfeel that makes Casa Dragones’ tequila feel luxurious. Its sleek, charcoal-colored bottle and turquoise box present the kind of packaging that makes it giftable without wrapping paper.
What Is The Purest Tequila
With fewer calories than beer and wine, tequila is considered by some to have positive health effects. In particular, tequila is ideal for celiac sufferers or those looking to go gluten-free.
Blanco tequila is the purest type of tequila. Made with 100% agave, it is more pure than aged tequilas like reposados, or mixed tequilas that include other types of sugars, like mixtos.
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The Growing Trend Of Sipping Tequila Has Only Boosted The Popularity Of The Agave Spirit Here A Crash Course In Affordable Tequila For Sipping And The Five Bottles Under $50 That Topped Our Recent Blind Tasting
Weve come a long way from the days when tequila was seen as little more than a cheap hangover helper. Over the last decade, Americans have turned to sipping the spirit instead, and the category has become among the fastest-growing in the world: According to the Distilled Spirits Council, high-end tequila sales are up 292 percent since 2002.
All of this stateside clamoring has lead to plenty of subterfuge when it comes to sourcingand, even worse, worker exploitation and environmental issues. Thats why it become so crucial to research who actually makes the tequila we buy, and to know where it is being produced who and where each producer is acquiring their agave from how they are roasting and milling it and whether all of this is being done ethically and in a sustainable manner. This remains a challenge, but thankfully many of the better brands these days, like Selección ArteNOM and Siembra Valles , are now disclosing much of this information on their labels, placing transparency above eye-catching bottle design and a press release-ready story.
In searching for value-driven sipping tequilas, we focused on price and drinkability among blanco, reposado and añejo offerings. The blanco bottlings fared best with the panel, which struggled with both reposado and añejo too many of them masked the inherent peppery, grassy and mineral notes that make tequila so compelling.
Best Tequila For Sipping
For some, self-care comes in the form of massages and facemasksfor some, it comes in sinking back one of the best tequilas in the world, the Clase Azul Reposado Tequila. Made from blue agave thats been slow-cooked and fermented before distillation, this super-smooth tequila has an aroma of candied orange peel, toffee caramel and American oak. Shop it here.
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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:
What Are The Different Types Of Tequila
Silver or Blanco Tequila is the spirit in its purest form, without influence from the vessels it can go on to be aged in. Silver is unaged and the one most likely to be used in cocktails .
An aged, or rested Tequila but for no longer than a year. It takes on a light golden colour from the ageing process but doesnt have that warming amber-gold of Anejo.
Like whisky, Tequila is often aged in barrels and as a result, is imbued with flavours from the vessel. Aejo needs to have been aged in the barrel for a year minimum, before bottling to claim this title. Its got those richer flavours that make it a great sipping tequila.
What about gold? I hear you ask. Beware of the snake oil gold tequila is usually a cheap, young spirit with added flavours and colouring. Why choose that when you could have one of these?
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Best For Sipping: G4 Tequila Reposado
Courtesy of Drizly.com
Both long-time tequila fans and those who are new to the category will love this reposado from Destileria el Pandillo, where the fourth-generation Camarena family uses a special tahona, or millstone, made from recycled metal parts to break down the agave. Their innovative ways dont stop there they also distill their tequila using a blend of neutral rainwater and mineral-laden spring water for an approachable yet structured spirit.
Aged in both American and French oak, G4 Tequila’s reposado offers buttery, orange flavors but with a mineral-driven backbone and a cinnamon finish. Sip it neat and enjoy the craftsmanship.
Don Julio 1942 Aejo Tequila
Created to celebrate the founder Don Julios 60th anniversary, this legacy favourite is found in liquor cabinets of connoisseurs and exclusive bars worldwide. Aged for a minimum of two-and-a-half years, this tequila starts off with an aroma of rose, pear and brown sugar vanilla. The oaky vanilla taste tinged with clove and apricot is definitely one to savour. Shop it here.
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Rooster Rojo Blanco Tequila
Tequila from the town of Tequila itself. This bottle comes from the Fabrica de Tequilas Finos distillery, a producer of many fine spirits. Rooster Rojo blanco is the brainchild of esteemed master distiller, Arturo Fuentes Cortes. Its full of herbaceous and citrus flavours, sparked to life by fiery pepper. Read our full Rooster Rojo blanco tequila review.
Why We Think Its Great
The Godinger tequila glass, although it is smaller in size than other glasses, is still heavy, durable, and thick. It also doesn’t break easily, and it can hold enough liquid. What makes this glass a good buy is that it can hold any liquor aside from tequila. Because of its beautiful etched design, it is ideal to be used in gatherings and parties.
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Best In A Paloma: Santera Tequila Reposado
Courtesy of Reserve Bar
Aged seven months in American oak, this reposado from Santera Tequila is produced by Casa Maestri Distillery, a woman-owned operation in Tequila, Jalisco. Made from 100% Weber blue agave steam-roasted in a traditional brick oven, its relatively long rest in the barrel gives it a perfumey, citrusy character, which mingles with the salty-sweet agave.
Smooth and velvety, the tequila winds down with a dry and pleasant bitter note, with a touch of vanilla and dark-blonde caramel on the finish. Mixed into a fresh-fruit Paloma, it lends a delicious brûléed quality to the fresh grapefruit juice, while augmenting the zing of the citrus peel.
Jose Cuervo Especial Silver Tequila
Love it or hate it, Jose Cuervo is one of the most successful tequila brands worldwide, and this tequila is a staple go-toreadily available at any bottle shop for a quick mix-in for those taco-and-marg nights. The light peppery and citrus notes in this quintessential tequila blends well with the flavours of your classic margarita. Shop it here.
More of a craft beer person? Check out Australia’s best over here.
Editor’s note: Urban List editors independently select and write about stuff we love and think you’ll like too. Urban List has affiliate partnerships, so we get revenue from your purchase.
Image credit: supplied
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Why Trust The Spruce Eats
Céline Bossart has spent the past seven years reporting on the spirits business, and much of that has involved agave spirits and the categorys experts in one way or another. If shes not sipping on a Tommys Margarita, you can catch her tasting an aged tequila or mezcal either neat or on the rocks.
United States Department of Agriculture. Can GMOs be used in organic products? May 2013.
How Do You Drink Sipping Tequila
Weve all heard of Tequila shots its when you propel the liquid right into your mouth. But how does it differ from sipping tequila? As the name implies, when you sip tequila, you take time to finish the drink. You dont have to drink the whole glass empty in one gulp.
Instead, you can let it sit in your hand while youre enjoying your time talking to your family or friends. You slowly sip the drink and appreciate its beautiful flavor bit by bit.
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Casa Dragones Aejo Barrel Blend
Do you love scotch or bourbon, but youre nervous to make the jump to sipping tequila? Start with this full-bodied añejo from Casa Dragones. This particular tequila is matured in new French Oak and new American Oak barrels, which are then blended together at the end of the aging process to create a distinctive, rich tequila containing notes of pear and macadamia nuts. A translucent toffee color mimics the appearance of some of its brown liquor counterparts, but dont get it twisted: This is unmistakably tequila.
Siembre Valles Ancestral Blanco
This labor of love aims for nothing less than a faithful recreation of how tequila was made 200 years ago. Tequila zealots will invariably decry the industrialization of the spirit, so enter Siembre Valles Ancestral, for which even a donkey pulling a stone is too efficient. This no machine spirit is hand-harvested, cooked in an earthen pit like mezcal, crushed by a team of men with wooden mallets and distilled in an ancient alembic still made of pine, yielding a smoky, complex sipper that is simply unique on the market. Some tequilas want to be smooththis tequila wants to take you back in time.
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Best 100% Agave: Partida Reposado Tequila
Courtesy of Partido
Tequila Partida’s estate-grown crowd-pleaserone of Mixs favoritescomes from the Tequila Valley, where it is distilled from 7- to 10-year-old agave that has matured to full ripeness and complexity. Aged in reclaimed whiskey barrels for up to a year, it offers a floral nose with a caramelly and creamy flavor that resolves into a butter-and-honey smoothness and a spicy agave finish.
Though its lovely to sip with a single, large ice cube, its also dynamite in both summer highballs and strong, wintery drinks. If you like it, you might also try the distillerys new reposado expression, Roble Fino, aged in used sherry casks.
Smooth Drinking Tequilas For Cocktails Or Sipping Straight
Tequila gets a bad rap. Normally, the disdain for tequila stems from overdoing it on cheap tequila shots in college. That stigma needs to be forever overcome. Cheap versions of liquor stain personal opinions across the board, but none seem to prohibit people from even trying it like the blue agave-based spirit from Jalisco. The truth of the matter? Good tequila is amazing. Consumers are catching on too, as tequila sales grew 31% in 2020. Here are some quality tequilas to start your agave-fueled adventure.
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The Best Sipping Tequilas Let You Savor This Spirit In A Whole New Way
Tequila, at least in the US, didnt always get its due. It was treated as something to be quickly knocked back while wincing like a child biting a lemon, or drowned in the kind of neon-green margarita mix that comes out of a plastic jug. And while thats still plenty of fun, consumers are waking up to the fact that tequila can be sipped and savored, just like whiskey. Of course, tequila has always been that way, but this new awareness means that there are even more sipping tequilas than ever. There are even new kinds of tequilas that didnt exist before, such as cristalino, which is aged like an añejo but then distilled to be clear, like a blanco.
So, what exactly is a sipping tequila? Well, its simply any tequila you can enjoy sipping. Maybe thats with a large ice cube, a splash of water, a cut of lime or just completely by itself. While how suitable for sipping a spirit is typically depends on how old it is, that isnt necessarily the case with tequila. You can enjoy the bright and crisp taste of agave by pouring a glass of blanco, which is unaged, or sip a smooth reposado, which is aged for less than a year. Or, go for an añejo or extra añejo, which are aged for several years. And while there are plenty of premium options that are worth your hard-earned cash, a great sipping tequila doesnt have to be expensive.
These are some great sipping tequilas to enjoy right now.
Best Under $: Don Julio Blanco
Most great tequilas clock in around $40 to $50, so choosing just one can be challenging. However, in terms of availability and quality, Don Julio always overperforms. This blanco tequila is made from hand-picked blue agave and is double-distilled . Notes of citrus zest, vanilla and pepper dominate the spirits flavor-packed palate. Sip over ice with a squeeze of lime or mix into your next cocktail for an elevated drinking experience.
This ultra-satisfying tequila from Casa Dragones is fresh, fruit-driven and layered with flavor. Notes of juicy tropical fruits, green apple skin, grapefruit, black pepper and a touch of minty freshness dominate the spirits smooth and full-bodied palate. For those looking to step up their tequila game without breaking the bank, this simple upgrade is a no-brainer.
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Ocho Single Barrel Aejo Las Aguilas 2017 Barrel Number 11
Famed for producing single-ranch vintage tequilas, Ocho also releases the occasional single-barrel añejo with a very limited production run. This particular incarnation comes from The Eagles, and balances fresh flavours with an obvious wood element without tipping into the dessert spectrum. Lemon zest, Granny Smith apples, bitter grapefruit, vanilla fudge and salt pillar combine on a palate that is simultaneously creamy, drying and spicy. Alc 54%
Best For Sipping: Patrn Aejo
Known by most and beloved by many, this tequila is perfect for pleasing the masses. Patrón Añejo is oak aged for over 12 months, allowing the sweet woody flavors to integrate over time. Notes of baked agave, smoke, burnt caramel and dried fruits dominate this spirits unctuous palate. Sip solo after dinner for a delicious digestif.
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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.
Tequila Fortaleza Blanco $50 Best Overall
Weve mentioned Tequila Fortaleza before in our list of beautiful distilleries, and their product does their gorgeous landscape justice. Tasting this blanco is like sampling the Jalisco earth in a good way. The minerality, combined with a hint of oil and a floral pop on the palate, make this tequila simultaneously bright and layered. We recommend mixing with rose syrup, berries, or stone fruit juices .
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The 17 Best Sipping Tequilas
Meant to be savored, one sip at a time, Casa Dragones Joven is featured as the one of the best sipping tequilas.
Below you will find an excerpt of the article. To read the full article, .
Casa Dragones Joven is made completely from estate-grown blue agave in Tequila, Mexico, and the brand’s maestro tequilero finishes each bottle by balancing the majority of unaged platinum tequila with a hint of ultra-aged extra añejo . Its ridiculous smoothness will leave you wanting another sip tout de suite.