Tequila is a popular alcoholic beverage made from the blue agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, 65 km (40 mi) northwest of Guadalajara, and in the highlands (Los Altos) of the central Mexican state of Jalisco. Tequila is most often made at a 38% alcohol content (76 U.S. proof), but can be produced between 31% and 55% alcohol content (62 and 110 U.S. proof).
Tequila is a popular drink, particularly in Mexico and the United States, and is often served in cocktails such as margaritas or mixed with other beverages to create a variety of mixed drinks. It is also often served straight, either chilled or at room temperature, and is sometimes sipped slowly or taken in shots. Tequila is also used as an ingredient in cooking, particularly in Mexican cuisine.
Although responsible for the worst hangovers in the history of hangovers, tequila is nevertheless America’s favorite spirit.
Tequila can be enjoyed straight or with some lime and salt, or it can be used as a base for a margarita.
Considered as one of the best alcoholic drinks on the market due to its natural sugar which is found in the agave plant, it can be enjoyed in moderation even by people who are concerned about their levels of sugar or are conscious about their weight.
Tequila, like most spirits, is also distilled in wooden casks which give their unique taste depending on region. This drink is made from the blue agave plant which is considered a succulent, not a cactus.
- There are five categories of tequila:
- 10. Don Julio
- 9. Corralejo
- 8. Clase Azul
- 7. Herradura
- 6. Partida
- 5. Milagro
- 4. Espolon
- 3. El Tesoro
- 2. Casa Noble
- 1. Patron
Categories of Tequila:
- Silver/Blanco : the youngest category, it is the least aged. Full of agave flavor
- Gold: Usually a mix with colouring, but not aged long either. Look for 100% agave on the label.
- Reposado (or “rested”): “Rested”, or aged between 2 months to no more than a year. It has a slightly amber color and a smoother, more complex flavor than blanco or joven tequila.
- Anejo (“aged”): Aged between 1 to 3 years. Mellow and woody. It has a rich, amber color and a smooth, complex flavor.
- Extra Anejo: The newest category, aged more than 3 years.
- Joven (or “young”) tequila: This is a blend of blanco tequila and a small amount of aged tequila, which gives it a slightly more mellow flavor. It is also clear and is often used in cocktails.
There are also flavored tequilas, which are made by infusing blanco tequila with fruit or other flavors. These are often used in sweet cocktails.
Get Your Fix with Fun and Flavorful Tequila Drinks
There are many ways to incorporate tequila into cocktails and mixed drinks. Here are a few ideas:
- Margarita: A classic tequila cocktail made with tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur, typically served on the rocks or frozen.
- Paloma: A popular Mexican cocktail made with tequila, grapefruit juice, and club soda, served over ice.
- Tequila Sunrise: A sweet and colorful cocktail made with tequila, orange juice, and grenadine, served over ice.
- Tequila Mule: A twist on the classic Moscow Mule, made with tequila, lime juice, ginger beer, and served in a copper mug.
- Tequila Sour: A simple and refreshing cocktail made with tequila, lemon juice, simple syrup, and a egg white (optional), shaken and served on the rocks.
- Tequila Old Fashioned: A twist on the classic Old Fashioned, made with tequila, bitters, simple syrup, and a orange peel for garnish.
There are many different ways to make a tequila drink, but here is a recipe for a Classic Margarita
- 1 1/2 ounces tequila
- 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
- 3/4 ounce orange liqueur (such as Cointreau or Triple Sec)
- Lime wedges or slices, for garnish
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Add the tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur to the shaker.
- Shake the mixture well to combine.
- Strain the mixture into a chilled glass (such as a margarita glass).
- Garnish with a lime wedge or slice.
Optional: If you want to rim the glass with salt, rub a lime wedge around the rim of the glass and then dip the rim into a small plate of salt.
Depending on your preference you can decide for yourself which brands would make the cut, but we narrowed the list down to 10 of the most popular (in our opinion) brands.
Savor the Authentic Taste with the Best Tequila Brands
10. Don Julio
Owned by Diageo, this brand has been around for close to a century. Their famous 1942 expression is an anejo aged for at least two and a half years in oak barrels which give it a smooth taste.
Its beautiful golden brown color is from the caramelized baked agave and the vanilla flavor is slightly noticeable.
One of the oldest distilleries mentioned here, Corralejo’s innovative techniques date back to 1775.
Their reposado is aged for four months in three different types of casks (French, American and white oak), which give different characteristics to their spirit.
8. Clase Azul
Not only beautifully presented in white and blue vintage bottles, this spirit is flavourful and smooth. The decanters are hand made out of ceramics from the town of Santa Maria Canchesda and are works of art in themselves.
The tequila is just a bonus, but definitely worth the price, even though it’s pretty expensive. You can notice hints of pineapple, caramel, hot peppers and a salty note to top it off.
Handcrafted and created for sipping, this expression is aged for 11 months in wooden barrels which give it a gorgeous copper colour. You can notice a hint of the caramelized agave, vanilla and cinnamon on your palate.
Spices and toasty oak tickle your tastebuds in a beautiful finish.
This newcomer made its appearance on the scene in the early 2000s. They established themselves with their blanco, which is a remarkably vibrant spirit.
Mellow on your palate, you can taste a hint of dried fruit, cloves and cinnamon as well as a touch of citrus.
Another newer distillery, Milagro was created by two friends in 1997. They had a vision which worked for them and the brand quickly gained in popularity due to its mellow floral taste with notes of spices.
Their bottles also differentiate themselves from the others and are easily recognizable.
One of the most affordable tequilas on our list, Espolon is part of the Campari America family. Perfect for mixing cocktails, it can also be enjoyed on its own.
The distillery is located in the Jalisco Highlands and currently produces four expressions: Blanco- aged up to four months, Reposado- aged up to six months, Anejo-aged up to 12 months as well as Anejo X.
3. El Tesoro
The first tequila brand to use cognac casks for the maturation process, El Tesoro distinguishes itself by their distinct taste. Vegetal notes mixed with the sweet agave flavour are brought in evidence by bursts of vanilla and fruit undercurrents.
The blanco is a good margarita base , the reposado great for cocktails as well, but if you enjoy sipping on a more aged tequila give the anejos a try.
2. Casa Noble
Certified organic, Casa Noble has a crisp yet spicy flavour which is versatile and pleasant on the palate. The company’s unique single barrel offerings is what sets them apart from other distilleries.
Their oaky reposado and rich extra anejo are two expressions matured in french oak casks.
Not that long on the tequila scene, with only over a quarter century under its belt, Patron set itself apart with their brilliant marketing and bottle designs.
Their Roca range leads the market due to a more pronounced agave flavour which is achieved by keeping the traditional method of crushing the pinas. For their other expressions they do use a combination of the tahona and the mill .
Try out some of these and decide for yourself which are the best tequila brands out there. But remember, this spirit is best enjoyed in moderation!
Remember to always drink responsibly and never drink and drive.
Enjoy! Let me know if you have any questions.