When many people think of tequila they don’t think “value.” That’s not to say that there aren’t bargain bottles aplenty, it’s just that the stigmas surrounding this Mexican spirit make consumption of the cheaper expressions a very troublesome idea for some people. Rough mornings after a night with this agave-based liquor have left folks looking for higher shelf bottles when they reach for tequila.
Forget that noise. Just like whiskey, there are plenty of quality expressions available that don’t cost a ton. To help you pick your next bargain bottle, we asked some of our favorite tequila-loving bartenders to tell us the best high-value tequila expressions to sip and mix with this summer.
Maestro Dobel Tequila
Hay Culham, beverage manager at Bonsai at Hilton Pensacola Beach in Pensacola, Florida
Maestro Dobel has been my go-to tequila for a couple of years now. Maestro has a great flavor profile and doesn’t make you hate yourself in the morning. You honestly can’t go wrong with a bottle of this juice. It’s perfect as a sipper or mixer.
Aguila Reposado Tequila
Natasha Bahrami, owner of The Gin Room in St. Louis
Aguila Tequila is our bargain brand for the summer. It’s 100 percent blue agave and produced in Jalisco. It’s truly a great tequila. Perfect as a cocktail, shot, or something to sip on. It’s our bartender handshake and the reposado is one of our favorite juices, period.
Really a steal at the price point as well.
Elvelo Blanco Tequila
View this post on Instagram
Delicious Highland Tequila from El Velo 89pf Wonderful agave flavor with pepper and minerality. Price point is good too! #agave #tequila #highlandtequila #westloop #westloopchicago #tequilabar #mezcal #mezcalbar #margarita #bartender #agavebekiddingme #fuckmeillhaveanother #elvelotequila
Brandon Cummins, director of education for Altamar Brands
Elvelo Tequila for sure. 100% Agave, coming entirely from the Tequila Valley. And for me personally, it’s higher proof, which is super beneficial – so more flavor per ounce, meaning Tequila cocktails actually shine with the character of Tequila. It’s traditionally made, no additives, and it comes in a one-liter bottle – so there’s just more of it.
Don Julio Blanco Tequila
Piero Procida, bartender at The London West Hollywood in Los Angeles
Anything from the Don Julio Line. Blanco, Reposado, Anejo, 1942. It’s all superb. It’s not going to be the cheapest tequila but in terms of value for money, Don Julio provides exceptional flavor for its price point and that’s what makes it a bargain. It’s a favorite at our hotel and is the most requested tequila. It is the only tequila that seems to immediately fill the air with an incredibly pleasant aroma once I open it to make a drink, it’s an aroma that is so distinct of Don Julio tequilas.
El Tesoro Blanco
Emily Mistell, beverage director at Hey Love in Portland, Oregon
Everyone has got to have a high-quality blanco tequila in their home bar for summer – and my go-to is El Tesoro Blanco. It’s perfect for sipping on the rocks or neat, delicious as a simple highball, perfect in a margarita. The family behind El Tesoro truly cares about the land and the people and I can taste that in every sip.
Olmeca Altos Plata Tequila
Ryan Negley, whiskey fellow at Boulder Spirits in Boulder, Colorado
I’m a huge fan of Olmeca Altos Plata. It’s rich in flavor and mixes incredibly well. When you can find a bargain tequila that you feel comfortable sipping or mixing with, you hold onto that bottle.
Espolon Blanco Tequila
Hayden Miller, head bartender at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila in Miami
Espolon Blanco is a perfect summer sipper (or shooter) while not breaking the bank. It’s smooth on its own but has enough body to throw into a margarita. There’s a reason it’s one of the most popular brands.
El Tesoro Reposado Tequila
Megan Radke, bartender at Canon in Seattle
If I could choose one bottle for you this summer, it would be El Tesoro Reposado. For me, it’s important to not just choose a brand that tastes amazing but to also make sure their business is based on good ethics, which they have proven over time through caring about the environment and the people consuming their products. That’s a bargain at any price.
Lunazul Blanco Tequila
Sometimes, we don’t expect much flavor from bargain-priced tequilas (or if there is a flavor, it’s a bit harsh), but Lunazul is different. Its blanco tequila is full of flavors, including fresh citrus, rich vegetal sweetness, subtle pepper, and just a hint of vanilla.
Cazadores Blanco Tequila
This 100 percent Blue Weber agave-based tequila is crisp, clean, and full of tropical fruit and citrus flavors. It’s reasonably priced, sippable, and mixes well into your favorite tequila-based cocktails.