Originally Posted On January 24, 2023 and Last Updated On
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The Top Tequila Brands We Recommend Drinking in 2023!
When it comes to quality tequila, there are as many great tequila brands as there are varieties of wines or whiskies. And each bottle has it’s own unique flavor profile and ingredients. It can be a bit overwhelming trying to learn everything, especially since it seems there is a new Tequila brand popping up almost daily.
Then there are levels of batches like Blanco or Plata, Anejo or Reposado. Then there are the much better aged tequilas that use burnt oak barrels for a much more complex flavor profile. I’ve tried to use only the Blanco and Plata options for this article as when you get into the other types of tequilas, things get “messier” and a lot more expensive.
And by comparing the most “basic” tequilas from each distillery, I feel you’re getting a better “view’ of their products as if the distiller doesn’t make a solid starting bottle, I highly doubt the aging or distillation process is going to make things so dramatically different that I should like their more expensive products.
So I’ve compiled a top notch list of the best tequilas the world has to offer so you can get to drinking something that can be sipped and enjoyed rather than the swill some bars try to pass as a good tasting tequila. Some of these distilleries have been around for 200 years, some are less than 10. But they all know how to make some great tequilas.
Best Tequila Brands
This list of the Best Tequila Brands comes from experience. I've been lucky enough to try all of these brands and many more. If you love great tequila, then check out the rest of my site for top tequila recipes and more.
Fortaleza Blanco is sold in hand blown bottles and although the company was "created" in 2005, the family's tequila tradition goes back over 150 years. It's actually a quite interesting story and you should give it a quick read here. This 100% agave tequila is double distilled in copper vats and leaves flavors of citrus, cooked agave, vanilla, basil, olive, and lime behind. And butter, yes, creamy butter. A unique collection of flavors that makes this one of the best blanco tequilas around.
LALO Tequila is one of the only distilleries to make only a single tequila. Their Blanco is all the Don Julio’s grandson produces at this moment. This is a solid sipping drink that has notes of citrus and is smooth with a nice bite at the end. Made to be simple and true to the tequila tradition with no additives whatsoever. At around $40 a bottle, this is one to try. One of the better tequilas on this list!
Tequila Ocho Plata is one of the very best tequilas on this list and I highly recommend it. If you want to truly enjoy a great sipping tequila, this is one to start with. At around $45 a bottle, this company makes some of the best low cost options available. And they do it right. They "batch" their tequila according to where it is grown. Meaning each field of agave makes its own tequila batch so you are actually tasting the soil of that specific region.
Casamigos Blanco is a celebrity tequila created by friends George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman. But unlike many of the strictly bottled brands endorsed, this one is actually a very high quality tequila. They got it right. One to drink neat with no after burn, this has a hint of citrus and vanilla and goes down smooth. I prefer this one cold when doing shots, or over ice to sip. For those of you that don't like the blanco hit of alcohol at the end, this is for you. Twice distilled in copper pots, a bottle is around $40. A decent price point for a very smooth tequila.
Cazadores Blanco Tequila is an older distillery that's been around since 1922. This is a genuinely smooth bottle that leaves no after taste. Perfect for drinking neat or on the rocks. And for the price, around $40 a bottle, it's an excellent choice for a high quality bottle. This has strong notes of citrus and slighter honey, vanilla, cinnamon flavors. Personally I like this over ice best.
Clase Azul Tequila Plata is a surprisingly smooth drink that requires no ice to be enjoyed neat. A tad sweet, this ends in a peppery note that is not at all harsh and makes this one of the smoothest silver tequilas on our list. It's also more expensive as well going for around $140 per 750ml bottle. Or try the company's premium bottle Clase Azul Day of the Dead Tequila which goes for around $900 a bottle. The bottling for Clase Azul is beautiful and the Day of the Dead bottle is a skull one that really does look super cool.
You've gotta love all of these celebrity brands popping up all over the place. Teremana Tequila is another, this time with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson at the helm, and as a side note really like as an actor. This small batch tequila is affordably priced at just over $30 a bottle and as far as I am concerned, has nice packaging. As far as taste goes, it is smooth, but has a slight bite as in most Blancos. Has light agave notes with a minor kick at the end. Nice over ice, and a great mixer. Overall good at this price point.
Espolòn Blanco Tequila is a great bottle to have on hand in any home bar, especially for mixed drinks as this tequila is not expensive since it is one of our listed bottles that isn't aged at all, yet it is smooth enough to sip neat. I really enjoy the slight pepper taste that balances well with notes of vanilla and citrus flavors. Overall a nice balanced blanco tequila that is light and not harsh which is surprising for less expensive bottle.
Jose Cuervo is the brand most Americans are familiar with, if fact the world. And for good reason, Cuervo is the oldest licensed distillery in Mexico, started over 200 years ago, and responsible for most of the tequila imported into the USA even today. This is definitely a mixing bottle and definitely has that "tequila kick" you'd expect from Blanco drinks. At around $30 a bottle it's a good buy, but for sipping I would rather pay a bit more for something a tad smoother.
Milagro Silver is an unaged double stilled tequila which means the taste of the agave shines through with no added tastes. This has a clean, sweeter taste and is perfect for mixing. Although neat was smooth enough, just not what I'd want in a $50 bottle. The price is a bit much for a mixing tequila for me. Although I do like their Milagro Select Añejo which is aged for 18 - 24 months and makes for a much better sipping experience and just a few dollars more.
Herradura Tequila is a slightly aged (45 days) Blanco tequila that is affordable and good enough to mix or sip neat. It does have a little bite at the end, but the slight aging really makes a difference. Perfect for making cocktails or a nice margarita on the rocks. Or over ice with a lime twist. Notes of citrus and cinnamon. For around $40 a bottle, this is well worth trying. Reminds me of Don Julio Blanco only cheaper. Or try the company's Herradura Seleccion Suprema Tequila at around $300.
This is definitely one of the better affordable options on the list and is perfect for making margaritas or even sipping with ice. As a neat drink there is still that bite that less expensive tequilas are known for. But at around $25 a bottle, this is one that offers a nice flavor profile at a great price.
Don Julio® might be a name you've run across before as this is an older brand that has been imported into the USA for quite a while now. This is one of my favorite tequilas to drink neat and has a full rich smokey flavor due to this being aged for two years in oak cahrred barrels. And if you have some extra pocket money, check out their "ultimate" Ultima Reserva, the best they have to offer. But it goes for around $600 a bottle. Don't worry, the Blanco is usually less than $40 and is a great place to get antiquated with their fine teqilas.
Patrón Silver is another more common "Upscale" tequila know throughout the world. This newer brand was started in 1989 and has since changed the entire "Premium Tequila" scene, proving that quality bottles are a joy to drink. The smaller bottle is around $50 and the bigger $100. Not bad for a premium tequila with absolutely no preservatives added. And if you want super quality, try their Patron Limited Edition 10 Anos Tequila Extra Anejo that goes for between $300 to $400 per bottle. A bit pricy, but well worth it!
818 Blanco Tequila is named after the area code and the company's focus is on being environmentally friendly. Their distillery runs on biomass and solar power and their waste is made into bricks which they give away to projects around Mexico. Now on the not so nice end, this is a celebrity tequila with Kendal Jenner starting the company in 2021. Since then the company has been busy with packaging lawsuits. This newer tequila strong notes of vanilla, almost to the point of thinking it was infused. If you like your tequila on the sweet side with heavy aromatics, this will be something to try.
What Are the Different Types of Tequila?
There are 3 main types of tequila, but for this article I wanted to use each distillery’s Blanco or Plato versions to get an idea of what their most basic tequila tastes like. Usually I have found if they make a great basic drink, then their better quality tequilas are even better. Here are the 3 main types of tequila that are being distilled today…
Blanco or Plata
Blanco, Plata or sometimes even silver tequila are all labels for the most basic tequilas. These are always clear and are never aged so you get to taste the purest of forms from the distiller. These are usually what people use to make mixed drinks like the original margarita recipes from as they are usually a bit “harsher” since they haven’t been mellowed at all from the aging process. And they are the cheapest bottles of each company’s portfolio.
I have found that if I like a Blanco tequila from a distillery, I usually always like their better aged products as well. After all, this is where it all starts, and if you can’t distill a solid Blanco, then the rest won’t be worth mentioning either.
Reposado is the Spanish word for “rested” and is used to describe the process of aging a tequila in wooden barrels like whiskey for a minimum of two months up to a year. This is where the tequila picks up other flavors depending on the wood used for the barrels, and the amount of charring if any the barrels take on.
All of this equates to a more complex flavor profile just like an aged whiskey does. For tequila the flavors will often include hints of caramel and vanilla as well as other flavors.
The process takes time and a bit of the tequila is lost during the process which equates to higher prices for a Reposado tequila. But if you like to drink your tequila neat, the added cost is totally worth it.
Añejo tequila is aged from one to three years and is some of the best, and priciest bottles available. The aging process takes place in wooden barrels and the longer aging time both pulls more flavor from each barrel, as well as mellows smooths out the liquid to a much higher degree making the Añejo tequilas the very best sipping tequilas available.
Again, due to time, storage and evaporation, the prices of these tequilas go up considerably, usually starting off at a minimum of $100 for the most basic bottle. Created for the true tequila and mezcal connoisseur, when presented with one, sip slowly and enjoy the best tequila has to offer.
I'm Bill Allen, the guy behind this site. I've been a bartender, bar owner and sitting on both sides of a bar for almost 35 years, so I have some experience in the whole mixology scene. And now I'm just building out my site with as much helpful content as I can share with you.