Cinco de Mayo is coming up, so you’re probably going to drink some tequila. A lot of people think they don’t like tequila — it seems a lot of us have had more bad experiences with it than any other spirit. But most of that is due to over-consumption and, even more importantly, drinking lousy tequila.
Tequila is an amazing spirit: delicious, versatile, and affordable. Its vibrant, earthy flavor and balance of spicy and sweet is a real revelation. You just need to make sure you buy a good brand. (Most important tip: the label must say “100% agave” on it.)
This is not a list of the best, nor the cheapest, nor anything like that. This is simply the tequilas I’ve found myself drinking the most of in recent months — and I like all of them.
Tequila Cabezo Blanco (1L, $37)
The newest tequila on this list, and one that is becoming a favorite of mine, even though I’ve only enjoyed it on a few occasions. Designed by the world-class bartenders of The 86 Co., this is a tequila formulated for cocktails that is delicious to drink on its own. Spicy and fruity while still retaining a pleasant lightness, the additional proof (43% abv) helps it shine bright even when mixed.
Tequila Don Julio Blanco (750ml, $45)
This is the tequila I reach for when I want to drink something elegant and smooth, but still bursting with flavor. It’s not cheap, but I think it’s a great example of how a big company can do things right.
Espolon Silver Tequila (750ml, $22)
This is the “everyday” tequila I use most often. Makes great Margaritas or Palomas, and is always a crowd-pleaser. It has the basic flavors you expect from a blanco tequila, all combined in a silky whole. It doesn’t have the big, vibrant flavor of something like Tapatio, so it’s an excellent entry-level tequila.
Tequila Tapatio Blanco (1L, $30)
This might be my favorite tequila of all. It’s briny and sweet, and vegetal and spicy, all in amazing balance with each other. This is my go-to tequila for people who want to try something more sophisticated. The only thing wrong with it is that it’s hard to find.
Familia Camarena Silver Tequila (750ml, $20)
Probably my favorite “budget” tequila, you can often find this on sale for under $18. It tastes good and mixes well, and while it lacks the balance of some of the others on this list, it’s solid and reliable and easy to find.