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Lesser-Known Tequilas To Try This Fall, According To Bartenders

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.

Ocho Anejo

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.

Riazul Anejo

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

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A tequila cocktail that’s asking to be sipped.

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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

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#unavidatequila #dannyboysliquor @unavidatequila

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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.

Corralejo Reposado

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

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

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.

Penta Anejo

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.

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