Jason Pollard, managing partner of The Usual in Fort Worth, Texas points to the riper agaves used in making Tequila Ocho Plata as the reason it makes such a good tequila for margaritas. “I don’t like to add sweetener to my margaritas, so the riper, more mature agaves used for Tequila Ocho Plata, and the resulting sweeter, richer characteristic, really help to smooth out the sharp edges of the lime juice.” Pollard adds that the black pepper, mint, and citrus flavors subtly add to the complexity of the cocktail.
Don Julio Blanco Tequila
De Serio wants a tequila that ensures it never gets left behind in a drink, and for him, that is Don Julio. “The agave is so prominent it’s never a question if there is or isn’t tequila in your margarita,” he says.
Teremana Blanco Tequila
Now, you know what The Rock has been cooking—agave. This new-ish celebrity small batch tequila shines when adding a little bit of pineapple juice to a margarita to bring out the tropical flavors of the tequila.
El Luchador Organic Blanco Tequila
This tequila might bodyslam you, but it’ll feel good when it does. “Besides the potency and flavor concentration, I appreciate its mix of bright herbaceous, earthy, roasted vegetable, and peppery elements with a hint of salinity,” says Yarm. “That complements the lime and orange liqueur in a margarita rather well.”
Herradura Blanco Tequila
Herradura Blanco tequila is barrel-aged for 45 days—which goes beyond the industry standard for blanco tequilas—giving subtle oak and vanilla notes, which mesh well with Cointreau or agave syrup.
Looking for a tequila that can be infused to make spicy margaritas? Look no further. Rossienne opts for Cimarron because the vegetal notes of the tequila make jalapeño flavors sing when infused.
The Best Budget Tequilas
Before you stop reading, remember—not all budget tequilas belong at frat parties. Erase any thought that the only budget tequila is a bad tequila. The main thing to look for when choosing a budget tequila is that it is made from 100% Blue Weber agave. If the bottle does not say this, you’ll be getting a mixto and those are the tequilas that will remind you that you’re not in college anymore.
Another tequila created through the time-consuming tahona process, you might not think of the word budget because of all that is involved, but you should, especially when you consider Altos.
James DeFrance—bar manager of the Refectory Restaurant in Columbus, OH—says that Altos’ flexibility is what makes it the perfect budget tequila. “Altos produces tequilas that taste exactly as you’d imagine—they don’t overplay their hand or good big and fall short. You can sip, mix or shoot with them without fail,” he says.
Palm Beach-based mixologist and beverage consultant Jules Aron points to the fact that Altos utilizes the traditional tahona method to make its tequilas, which creates a quality product. Plata stands out because “this time-consuming method gives Altos both depth and complexity.”
Espolòn Blanco Tequila
While it may be unaged, there are still plenty of layers of flavor with this tequila. “It adds complexity to cocktails because of its minerality and notes of black and white pepper, citrus, and vanilla,” says Jeni Blyth, the beverage director at Luna Rosa’s Bitter Bar in Greenville, SC.
Lunazul Blanco Tequila
The slight taste of pepper and other vegetal notes balance nicely with sweet agave and tropical notes in this affordable and multipurpose tequila. If you’re looking for a shot tequila, Lunazul is where it’s at.
El Jimador Tequila
Jimadors are the farmers that harvest agave, so it makes sense that the tequila named after those hard-working people is a best bet when it comes to price for quality. Wolf says that it’s great not only for the price, but for its “fresh and crisp citrus profile” that enhances just about any tequila cocktail.
Sauza Silver Tequila
This tequila has a distinct orange blossom flavor that pairs well with its agave and black pepper notes. Drinking this tequila is like running through a meadow of fresh flowers, but better because it’s tequila and your allergies won’t get aggravated.
It makes sense that the brand that was a sponsor of the bartender boxing program “punches well above its price point, especially when you get into their reposado,” according to New York City-based bartender and spirits specialist Alexandros Vasillios Lazaridis.
The Best Splurge-Worthy Tequilas
It’s 2022. You’ve made it through what is likely the worst three years of your life. What better way to say “screw it, I deserve this” than with a bottle of tequila that deserves its own spotlight and track lighting system on your home bar so that all of your friends can stare at it.
Tears of Llorona Extra Añejo Tequila
The agave used in Tears of Llorona is hand-selected by Master Tequilero Germán Gonzalez before being processed and aged for five years in three different types of oak barrels—those that have previously held brandy, sherry, and Scotch whisky.