While the fall season is more commonly associated with darker spirits, it’s also a great time to dive deeper into tequila. The subtlely smoky, vegetal notes of the spirit go down nicely with the slight chill in the air. While blanco tequila is perfectly suited for summer drinking and mixing, autumn is actually a pretty ideal time to step up to añejos and reposados.
Bill Whitlow, owner of Proper Food & Drink in Covington, Kentucky has clear fall tequila preferences.
“I tend to prefer barrel-aged stuff,” he says. “I’ve been digging on a new tequila — to me, at least — lately from Casa Maestri. Their añejo is super creamy and thick. Right up my alley.”
Instead of leaving you to wander the aisles of your local liquor store with your mask-covered mouth agape, wondering which bottle(s) you should buy, we turned to bartenders for guidance — asking ten well-known bartenders to share their favorite lesser-known tequilas for fall 2020.
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Tequila Ocho Anejo made with 100% blue agave and aged in ex-American whiskey barrels for a year, this single estate style of Tequila will not only satisfy the beginners but also the avid fans of the category. #ochotequila #anejo #ochoanejo #agave #hkig #hkliquorstore #highspiritshk #craftcocktails #bartender
Frederic Yarm, USBG bartender in Boston
Ocho is an amazing tequila brand that sources from individual agave farms for each batch, such that the terroir of the plot shines through. Most tequila brands mix together agaves from all over the highlands and lowlands which makes the agricultural aspect less distinctive. Here, the fermentation and distillation techniques allow the agave itself to shine through beautifully, and it allows each batch to be compared in a horizontal flight or enjoyed on its own.
Seth Falvo, bartender at The Hotel Zamora in St. Pete Beach, Florida
Riazul Anejo is a great sipping tequila for the fall and winter. It’s extremely smooth and has a great French oak-forward flavor. The cinnamon spice on the finish makes it a great after-dinner drink during the holiday season as well.
Don Fulano Fuerte
Christopher Chamberlain, national beverage development manager at E. & J. Gallo Winery in Modesto, California
It may not be a new tequila to many, but its broader availability on the national stage is — and that’s Don Fulano Tequila. This beautifully crafted estate-grown, ground-to glass-spirit truly embodies everything a sipping tequila should stand for. The bright bold flavors of its blanco tequila are intensified if you graduate to the 100 proof ‘Fuerte’ variation. If you prefer a wonderfully aged expression, Don Fulano offers both a dry-yet-fruity sipper with their reposado and a remarkable rich flavored añejo.
That said, for those willing to splurge, the Don Fulano Imperial Extra Anejo is the ultimate accompaniment to the cool crisp evenings that lie ahead.
123 Organic Añejo
Josh Curtis, bar director at Carbon Beach Club in Malibu, California
123 Organic Añejo may just be the best tequila on the market right now. It tastes like an agave plant… which is what tequila is supposed to taste like. It’s also not super sweet like many añejos are.
Una Vida Anejo
Andy Printy, beverage director at Chao Baan in St. Louis
My personal favorite tequila to sip in the colder months is Una Vida Añejo Tequila. A touch smoky, round from ex-bourbon cask barreling, and tons of buttered popcorn notes on the palate. Lots of room to play with various bitters and sugars to manipulate the profile in a cocktail or even just a few drops of water to release more of the barrel and subtle smokey tones.
Una Vida’s Añejo expression has a reasonable price point and acts even better as a fire pit companion.
Jenny Harris, bar manager at Point Loma Fish Shop in San Diego
Corralejo Reposado Tequila was my first choice in our November cocktail called “Autumn Harvest Sipper.” Corralejo’s Reposado has warm notes of rhubarb, oakwood, vanilla, and orange and will put you in the mood for fall.
It also pairs nicely with fish tacos.
Los Arango Anejo
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Today, we raise our glass to Mexican Independence 🥃 …To Pancho Villa, the original Los Arango, and the many revolutionaries who battled and championed—We drink tequila freely today because you were victorious. Salud! #MexicanIndependenceDay . Use @drizlyinc to grab your own bottle of Los Arango today and toast to Mexican Independence.
Joan Villanueva, beverage director at Galaxy Taco in La Jolla, California
Los Arango Anejo Tequila brings delicate notes of spice and vanilla that allow for it to take over in a Manhattan or an old fashioned variation. My first go-to for a fall/winter drink.
El Tesoro Reposado
Crystal Chasse, beverage director at Talk Story Rooftop in Brooklyn
Once the chilliness settles into the air I reach for a bottle of El Tesoro Reposado. It is tahona-milled which allows the earthy qualities of the agaves to showcase themselves in the final product. Black pepper, oak, and citrus round out the flavor profile — creating a delicious juice to drink neat or to stir into an Oaxacan Old Fashioned for blustery nights.
Tears of Llorona
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"If ever there was a tequila to turn the head of a whiskey partisan, this is it." The Wall Street Journal ___ #luxurylifestyle #luxury #tearsofllorona #tequila #simple #simpleisbest #extraañejo #agedinoakbarrels #aged5years #imported #smallbatchtequila #hechoenmexico #mexico #whisky #whiskey #whiskylover #tequilaisthenewwhiskey
Mario Latona, manager at STK Steak House in San Diego
It always brings a tear of happiness to my eye when I get to taste Tears of Llorona, especially when you pair it with a Dry-Aged Delmonico from STK. This five year Extra Añejo is a perfect choice for the fall with notes of cinnamon, chocolate, and light notes of roasted agave.
Vincent Sol Campos, bartender at Hearsay – Market Square in Houston
Penta Tequila is an easy spirit to get behind, especially regarding its añejo. Penta is the tequila that every agave spirit wants to be and is the first tequila to blend 100% blue agave sourced from all five of Mexico’s legally protected “designation of origin” states. Every fall and winter, I gravitate towards whiskey, but once I was introduced to the Penta line I immediately worked it into my rotation. There is no other tequila to drink during the winter. T
he sweetness from the caramel and vanilla, little hints of spice and orange, and the extra maturation (an average of 14 months) in oak barrels is perfection.