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The 18 Best Tequila Brands For Sipping And Mixing
We've got a pick for every budget, too.
When it comes to tequila, there's way more than meets the eye. Did you know that tequila is technically a type of mezcal? Or that it's an incredibly versatile spirit? While classic margaritas are objectively delicious, there's a whole world of tequila-based cocktails out there—from colorful tequila sunrises to effervescent palomas—plus, the top-shelf stuff is fantastic served either neat or on the rocks. It ain't bad with some salt and a slice of lime, either.
But depending on your drinking plans, you'll want to scoop a different bottle at the liquor store. Don't be intimidated by the sheer number of options out there! We’ve rounded up some of the best and most popular tequila brands—including a few of our editor’s favorites.
But, first thing's first. Here's everything you need to know about tequila before buying.
What is the smoothest tequila?
Good question! Tequila begins its life as an agave plant. The jimador—the expert farmer who grows and harvests agave plants—plucks the core of the agave, the piña, from each and roasts it in an industrial ovens. Then it's shredded, fermented, and distilled in copper pots. Depending on the brand, flavor may then be added to the finished product. It also may go into giant oak barrels to be aged for up to 10 three years—leading to a much smoother, less bitter taste.
Word to the wise: Agave plants only have one piña, and plants take around seven years to mature. Because of that, tequila-making can be a very difficult and time-consuming business.
What are the different types of tequila?
The difference is all in the aging process. Blanco (sometimes called "silver") is un-aged tequila, and is usually bottled soon after it's distilled. As the name suggests, blanco tequila is the clearest in color and goes well in mixed drinks or as a complement to traditional Mexican recipes. Most blanco tequilas have a recognizably citrusy flavor, which can add a zing to any cocktail or dish.
Reposado tequilas are rested for two months to a year before being bottled, and typically rest in oak barrels. As a result, they have a golden hue.
Añejo (which means "aged" in Spanish) is aged for at least one year, but less than three years. It has a gold or light brown color compared to blanco or reposado tequilas. This longer aging process gives it a more complex flavor, which that can be better appreciated when sipped alone rather than mixed into a cocktail. It tends to have the sweetest taste out of all the others, and a distinctly oak-y flavor.
Tequila-centric recipes aren't just for the cocktail bar. The spirit is also handy in the kitchen. Unaged tequila blanco tends to convey a light, cool, citrus-forward flavor, so it best belongs in dishes that are equally light and citrus-y, like this easy shrimp ceviche or these tequila-lime chicken tacos. This Jose Cuervo Especial Silver is a great contender, as is its Gold counterpart.
Tequila reposado, with its classic notes of vanilla, coconut, and honey, works best in neutral dishes that need an extra kick. It's a fit for spicy, fruit- or veggie-themed dishes, like a fiery salsa borracha or in a simple citrus vinaigrette to drape over this watermelon Caprese salad. You can also try it in these tequila- and mustard-glazed chicken skewers.
Lastly, tequila añejo or extra añejo (that's extra-aged!) have bold, oaky aromas from their long stays in oak barrels. Their strong, sweet vanilla undertones play well in heavy sauces and marinades that themselves are a little sweet. Toss it into dishes like honey BBQ wings or penne alla Vodka (yes, you can make this with tequila!). You could even use Don Julio Añejo in this bold tequila-spiked caramel corn.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall Tequila: Herradura Silver Tequila
- Best Budget Tequila: Sauza Silver Tequila
- Best Value Tequila: Cabo Wabo Blanco
- Best Gift: Clase Azul Reposado Tequila
- Best Splurge: Don Julio 1942
- Best Tequila for Beginners: Casamigos Blanco
- Best Tequila for Cocktails: Milagro Select Barrel Reserve Reposado
- Best Tequila for Marg Night: El Jimador Silver
- Best Tequila for Special Occasions: Patrón Añejo
- Best Tequila for Sipping Neat: Don Julio 70 Cristalino Tequila
- Best Flavored Tequila: Dano's Dangerous Tequila Blanco
- Best Spicy Tequila: Hornitos Plata Tequila
- Best Blanco Tequila: El Tequileño Platinum
- Best Tequila for Cooking: Jose Cuervo Especial Gold
- Best Tequila for Marinades and Sauces: Avión Añejo
- Best Tequila for Citrusy Dishes: Espolòn Blanco Silver Tequila
- Best Reposado Tequila: Teremana Reposado Tequila
- Best New Tequila: Villa One Silver Tequila
How we picked these products
We scoured the internet, read reviews, and spoke to experts (yes, our Delish editors) to come up with an exhaustive list of the best tequilas for every budget and occasion. We also considered price (alcohol can be expensive!), distillation process, aging time, added flavors, and the smoothness of a sip.
Let's get into 19 of our all-time favorite tequilas, and see what our editors had to say about a few of them! (Psst: Want something besides tequila? These are the best vodkas and whiskeys you can buy.)