If the only tequila you ever drink is the kind that comes in a Margarita, you're missing out. While tequila might make a great base for a cocktail, it's also perfect to enjoy on its own. A well-crafted sipping tequila will take your palette on a journey that you'll want to take again and again - and one that needs absolutely no accompaniments to enjoy. As with all spirits, finding the right one isn't always the easiest task, especially with so many different varieties flooding the market each year. To set you on the right track, we've put together ten of the best sipping tequilas money can buy.
10. Gran Patrón Burdeos
With its fancy bottle and even fancier price tag, Gran Patrón Burdeos looks like a tequila that's intended to impress. It tastes like one too. With an average retail price of around $349, you'd expect it to deliver big on flavor, and it doesn't disappoint. Made in a combination of old American and new French oak casks, and finished in old Bordeaux barrels, this deep, amber-hued spirit combines the bold flavors of cooked agave with notes of cocoa, vanilla, caramel, and toasted oak. If you're looking for a treat for the soul and the senses, this is it.
9. Don Julio 1942
If you're hunting for a sipping tequila that will impress you, your friends, your family, and anyone else you care to share a sip with, the crowd-pleasing Don Julio 1942 should do the trick nicely. Aged for a minimum of two and a half years in American white oak barrels, it's a remarkably smooth, easy-to-drink tequila with warm notes of caramel and vanilla and just the right hit of earthy minerals to keep things balanced.
8. Casa Dragones Añejo Barrel Blend
As menshealth.com says, if you're a big fan of bourbon but aren't sure whether sipping tequila is for you, Casa Dragones Añejo Barrel Blend might be just the tipple to convince you to take the leap. The tequila is first aged in old French Oak and new American Oak barrels. Once it's reached the desired level of maturity, the contents of both barrels are mixed to give a wonderfully fragrant, toffee-colored beverage which looks enough like bourbon to encourage you to take a sip, but tastes enough like tequila to turn your loyalties on their head.
7. Teremana Reposado
If you want to smell what the Rock's been cooking, you might want to grab a bottle of Teremana Reposado on your next trip to the liquor store. Although it's tempting to dismiss celebrity-endorsed spirits brands offhand, some are actually surprisingly good. Dwayne Johnson's Teremana Reposado is one of the better ones, with an affordable price tag, perfectly balanced, wood-driven vanilla notes, and an intriguing touch of low-key oakiness.
6. Clase Azul Reposado
If you're in the market for something a little different from the norm, look no further than the Clase Azul Reposado. This tequila is unique from start to finish. It's made by slow-roasting Tequilana Weber Blue Agave in traditional brick ovens for a minimum of 72 hours. From there, it's aged in used American whisky casks for 8 months, a process that results in wonderfully savory hazelnut and vanilla flavors. Exceptionally smooth and perfectly balanced, it'll make any tequila lover's heart sing.
5. Siete Leguas Reposado
Regardless of which expression you choose, you can't go wrong with Siete Leguas, an old-school, traditional tequila made using traditional grinding methods involving a roller mill and a tahona, a millstone made from volcanic rock. The Reposado is particularly delicious, with an earthy quality that comes from the tahona and enticing notes of baking spice, vanilla, and minerals. Perfect to sip on and an ideal accompaniment to food, it'll make an excellent addition to anyone's drinks cabinet.
4. Tequila Mandala Extra Añejo
Obviously, you shouldn't judge or buy a tequila on the virtue of its packaging, but equally, there's no denying that Tequila Mandala Extra Añejo looks the business - if you're looking for something to gift a friend, this makes the perfect choice. Fortunately, the award-winning tequila inside tastes even better than the outside looks. A balanced, refined tequila with subtle, individual notes of oak and vanilla, it's a deep, satisfying treat that deserves a place on every tequila lover's wish list.
3. Aldez Organic Tequila Reposado
Named as one of the best Reposados on the market by The Spruce Eats, Aldez Organic Tequila Reposado's unique character, superb quality, and enticing flavors make it an excellent sipping tequila for your home bar. Aldez ages the spirit in old bourbon casks for eight months, resulting in wonderfully warm, gorgeously aromatic notes of vanilla, cooked agave, and salted caramel, with just the right amount of earthiness for balance. All of the ingredients that go into each bottle are organic, while the bottles themselves are made using recycled materials.
2. Tequila Ocho Plata
As Liquor.com says, the beautiful story and unique process behind Tequila Ocho Plata really help it shine. The family that makes the tequila has been distilling it for generations, using time-honored traditions and techniques to ensure the highest quality product. It's made by slow roasting ripe agave in traditional brick ovens. The agave used is chosen from different fields each year, with the result that each year's bottling has a slightly different flavor profile. Minor variations aside, it's a crisp, clean tipple with a lovely balance of floral and earthy notes and enough sharp pepperiness and flashes of bright citrus to keep things lively.
1. Caballito Cerrero Azul Blanco Agave Spirit
Technically, Caballito Cerrero Azul Blanco Agave Spirit isn't a tequila - the makers stopped calling it that in 2018 when they decided to make the recipe the traditional way rather than in the way government regulations dictated - but if it looks like a tequila, smells like a tequila, and tastes like a tequila, it's a tequila, and a very fine one at that. Despite being an unaged spirit, it's wonderfully rich, with a complex blend of vegetal and mineral notes that's offset by just a touch of sweetness. As Blancos go, you'll struggle to find better.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith