Tequila: The Definitive Guide

There are drinks that become trendy, and then there are those that are always in style. Tequila falls into the latter category. While it's true that lately it's become easier to find good tequilas both in stores and in restaurants, tequila has always been a staple, in its various varieties, in home bars, and on the shelves of the best bars and restaurants. Its sibling Mezcal is experiencing a significant boom, but we'll talk about that at another time. Here, we're going to focus on offering you the best tequilas in terms of quality and price that you can find when you buy tequila online.

But before we dive into that, it's worth doing a brief analysis of the origin of this drink and the different types you can find, because the differences in taste between them can be quite noticeable.

What does “100% agave” Tequila mean?

First, it's important to differentiate between two types of tequila: 100% agave and mixto. For the production of the former, only the juice extracted from the heart of the agave plant (known as the piña) is used, while the latter has other sugars added, which can come, for example, from cane or corn syrup. In any case, for a drink to be considered tequila, at least 51% of its composition must come from this plant.

Regarding the taste differences between 100% agave Tequila and mixto, it's a matter of personal preference. The pure Tequila tends to have a more intense flavor, while the mixto is usually easier to drink, mainly because the flavor is often sweeter.

Types of Tequila: blanco, reposado, and añejo

Regardless of the percentage of agave it contains, any tequila generally falls into one of these three varieties: blanco, reposado, or añejo.

Blanco Tequila: Bottled immediately after distillation. It has a clear and transparent appearance. It tends to be the sweetest and is traditionally used in the recipe for the Margarita cocktail.

Reposado Tequila: After distillation, it spends between two months and a year in barrels, acquiring certain aromas from the wood. It is the most consumed in the world.

Añejo Tequila: It has the smoothest flavor, but also the most complex. It spends at least a year in barrels before being bottled, acquiring a great variety of nuances contributed by the wood and the characteristic amber color. Among the añejos, the so-called Reserva tequilas stand out, which are those that have been aged for at least 8 years.

Now that you know the theory, let's get to the good stuff for when you order Tequila online: the practice. Here are our favorite tequilas for you to make room for in your home bar or to enjoy in some of the trendiest restaurants of California. Your palate and that of your friends will thank you.

Recommended Tequilas

Tequila Patrón Reposado This highly rated reposado is a premium tequila that's easy to drink, thanks in part to its pleasant notes of honey.

Casa Noble Tequila Casa Noble is one of several tequila brands with organic certification. The brand underwent a recent redesign, changing its bottles from the old squat square shape to a more elegant decanter style. It offers Tequila in all styles. 

Milagro Tequila Milagro is a relatively recent addition to the world of tequila, created by two friends in 1997. Milagro bottles are instantly recognizable: tall, elegant, modern, and completely different from any other tequila presentation. The liquid inside is smooth and slightly floral with sweet and spicy notes.

Espolòn Silver Tequila Espolòn is an affordable option that drinks well beyond its price, with notes of agave and spices. Located in the Highlands of Jalisco, it's a great choice if you're looking for a reliable tequila that doesn't cost a lot.

Tequila Ocho Añejo Each batch of this single-estate tequila is produced from a specific field or ranch, and the year of production and the name of that field are included on the bottle label. Expressions range from silver to extra añejo. Highly recommended!

Jose Cuervo Tequila Especial If you want to go beyond the Margarita, this reposado is perfect for mixology. With an intense flavor, it has legions of fans among those on a tight budget or who don't want to spend their entire paycheck on tequila.

Tequila Añejo 1800 Aged for three years in French oak barrels, this 100% agave añejo, produced in Jalisco, the birthplace of tequila, features aromas of cinnamon and spices in a fantastic quality-price ratio.

Tequila Blanco Don Julio Smooth and sweet, this Don Julio blanco is the base for the rest of the tequilas from this legendary brand. It's ideal for cocktails. They offer a full range, too.

Tequila Olmeca Reposado Five months aging in American oak bourbon barrels gives this tequila a peculiar character, with certain notes of black pepper.

Tequila Herradura Reposado Aged for 11 months in American oak barrels. Smooth, sweet, with hints of vanilla and cinnamon, it is one of the most matured reposados on the market.

Tequila Casamigos Delicious, it is one of our favorite blanco tequilas (and almost everyone else's who tries it). With quite pronounced citrus notes, it also has an interesting aroma of vanilla. They make a Mezcal as well.

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