Tequila is the Champagne of Mexico.
Seriously, Mexican law actually states that no liquor can be labelled tequila unless it comes from the western state of Jalisco (or select districts of other Mexican states).
And, like sparkling wines, tequilas come in all varieties and price ranges.
In honour of National Tequila Day (July4), we teamed with the connoisseurs at FindTheBest to uncover the world’s top tequilas. The rankings below are based on reviews from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the International Wine and Spirit Competition, Wine Magazine Enthusiast, the Beverage Testing Institute, and Tequila.net.
So get your shot glass out and get ready for a toast.
15. Casamigos Reposado Tequila ($US50)
With Casamigos Reposado Tequila you can get some of the best around, and aged for 7 months. It is made from hand-chosen Blue Weber agaves, which are grown in the red clay soil and chiller climate of Mexico’s Jalisco Highlands.
14. Trago Reposado Tequila ($US60)
Sweetened with faint hints of vanilla and caramel, this Trago Reposado, or “rested” tequila is aged in new American Oak barrels for a smooth finish. You may have to roam further to regional stores to find a bottle of this tequila, but it will be worth it for preparing top-notch Margaritas.
13. Corzo Reposado Tequila ($US40)
A mature spirit — aged for 10 months — the Corzo Reposado Tequila is distilled three times to produce the smoothest and purest product possible. The yellow-gold spirit has a rich body with a distinct but sweet tropical custard pie finish.
12. Avion Silver Tequila ($US40)
This plata carries a sharp smell with a dash of mint and rosemary. A strong but delicate drink, it is crisp and clean. The un-aged spirit also boasts an impressive resume as a two-time Double Gold winner at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
11. Mañana Añejo Tequila ($US52)
Manana Añejo will warm you up on a cold day. I hits your tongue fruity and oak, but the lingering finish is dry, full bodied, and warm. This bottle was also a Double Gold winner at the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
10. Don Celso Reposado Tequila ($US40)
Unmistakable for its bright golden colour, Don Celso Reposado is the kind of mature agave you’ll want to reach for on a blustery day. Its hues of vanilla and spice make it an excellent choice for the holidays. Try it with a hot Mexican fruit punch (aka Ponche Navideño).
9. Pueblo Viejo Orgullo Añejo Tequila ($US38)
Twenty-four months in an American Oak casket lends this añejo its deep amber colour. It has a clear, bright taste with a fruity, nutty finish. And it comes from the highlands of Jalisco, one of the best places in the world for growing agave.
8. Partida Reposado Tequila ($US61)
A spirit aged a healthy six months, this resposado prides itself on being one of the smoothest and richest tequilas around. While not flamboyantly smoky, it has a tinge of sweetness and scent of vanilla, hazelnut, and almond.
7. Maracame Tequila Añejo ($US74)
One of the priciest tequilas on the market, this bottle isn’t easy on the wallet. An old soul, the “vintage” tequila is aged for 18 months to produce a delicious golden amber colour. The añejo smells like caramel and roasted nuts while bearing a toasted coconut, creamy vanilla taste.
6. Riazul Premium Silver Tequila ($US49)
If you like Riazul’s reposado, you’ll probably like its better-known blanco, the Premium Silver. Extracted by a shredder and twice distilled in stainless steel, the blanco has an earthy aroma. Its minty agave leaves your mouth warm with a mild chocolate aftertaste. Riazul calls it “the choice of tequila purists who seek the unmasked agave character.”
5. X.Q. Añejo Tequila ($US65)
Packaged in a provocative X-shaped bottle, the reddish, golden brown drink is one of the oldest tequilas on this list — it’s aged for a full 36 months. The drink also offers unique toffee, dill, and marinated jalapeño aromas.
4. AsomBroso Añejo Tequila ($US240)
If there is any category this tequila will take a gold for its the price. AsomBroso leaves its competitors in the dust at $US14.20 per shot ($US240 per bottle). Alas, if you’re looking to celebrate the greatest of life milestones, this 60-month aged añejo is undoubtedly the way to go. You’ll detect a hint of honey and vanilla on the nose.
3. Chinaco Reposado Tequila ($US51)
Unlike most reposados, the Chinaco Reposado Tequila is aged for 11 months in white oak barrels from France and England, some of which were utilised to prepare Scotch and bring a soft, woody trait to the drink. Chinaco welcomes the senses with citrus zest and a strong, spicy finish.
2. Casa Noble Single Barrel Extra Añejo Tequila ($US50)
Chocolate enthusiasts go wild for this tequila, which would be an excellent spirit for a boozy hot cocoa. A swirl of this triple-distilled tequila has notes of vanilla, hazelnut, and chocolate.
1. Alquimia Reserva de Don Adolfo Extra Añejo Tequila ($US125)
This “ultra-aged” exotic fruit-flavored añejo that marries cinnamon, herbs, and spices is aged for 36 months. Small oak barrels house and develop the drink, which is made from eight-year-old organic agave. Golden amber to the eye, this “cognac-like” tequila is best relished slowly.
Click on the links in the graphic below to learn more about each of these incredible tequilas.