Ah, tequila. We love tequila so much that 80 percent of all tequila exports arrive in the United States. The likelihood is, you’ve had a few shots in your day, followed by salt and a lime. If not, surely there’s been a margarita or two, chasing down a Mexican meal.
A bottle of the blue agave distillate from Jalisco Mexico is must in any home bar. But which bottle? There are hundreds of distilleries to choose from. So Ranker asked it’s users which tequila is the fairest of them all. And ten-thousand people voiced their opinion on the matter, leading to a list of ten bottles of tequila worth a try and maybe even worth some space in your home.
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Cazadores is made with high-altitude blue agave. It’s double distilled in before being bottled as a clean Blanco. Their Reposado rests for two months in American oak giving the distillate a tinge of caramel color while retaining a clean taste. The Extra Añejo spends three years in the virgin oak giving it an oaky, caramel, cinnamon apple spice complexity.
9. CASA NOBLE
Casa Noble takes blue agave from the lowland Tequila valleys of Jalisco and triple distils them into a pretty great tequila. Casa Noble’s practices are old school and exacting. They’ve won award after award for their excellent bottles. Their Single Barrel Añejo is aged for five years in French oak, imprinting the drink with sharp vanilla, coffee, and cacao flavors.
8. TRES GENERACIONES
Tres Generaciones is part of the legendary Sauza family of tequilas. Tres celebrates the family’s 100 years and three generations of distilling tequila in Jalisco. This version is triple distilled to achieve a high level of purity. The Plata is bottled right away. Reposado and Añejo are aged in charred American oak barrels for four and 12 months respectively. The charred barrel gives the tequila a smokey edge with plenty of sweet vanilla underneath.
Corralejo comes in flashy and classic skinny blue bottle. Their tequila is triple distilled as well and they like to call their Blanco variety “The Truth” because it’s the purest form of what tequila is right after distilling. Their Reposado takes an interesting journey by aging in three different American, French, and Encino oak barrels (Encino is a type of oak native to southern Calfornia). This brings a complex set of flavors that pairs vanilla with hints of lemon, honey, peppercorn, and lime.
Milagro was started in 1998, by two artists from Mexico City. The idea was to create a tequila that embraced the traditions of Jalisco and the modernity of Mexico city and they succeeded. They use highland blue agave, triple distill it, and then age it American oak — which really does mellow the tequila and bring out the sweetness of that highland blue agave.
5. CABO WABO
Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo tequila is a bit of the surprise. Then again, people do love Van Halen. Cabo Wabo is a pretty standard tequila that goes through a double distillation before the Blanco is bottled. The Reposado and Añejo and aged in American oak for three to 12 months and one to five years respectively. It’s a perfectly good rock star tequila. No more, no less.
4. 1800 TEQUILA
1800 Tequila is the higher-end brand of the tequila from the legendary Jose Cuervo. The sipping tequila was conceived in the 1970s to honor the year 1800. That’s the historic date when tequila was first barrel aged. So this tequila is all about the barrel aging — even their Silver tequila sits in an oak barrel for 15 days. Their Reposado and Añejo mellows in American and French oak giving the tequila a smooth, vanilla, and oaky sweetness.
Herradura is a classic lowland Jalisco tequila. Their process goes back centuries and they really haven’t changed a lot over the years — ‘if it ain’t broke’ as they say. The blue agave is double distilled. They age in American oak. And just make a really damn fine product. They’ve started experimenting recently with aging and finishing their tequilas in port and cognac casks adding a whole new dimension to their tequila that brings out a sweet spiciness.
Patron’s slogan is “We didn’t invent tequila, we just perfected it.” And it’s hard to argue with a tequila this well made. Their tequila hits all the marks of harvest, distillation, and barrel aging. Where Patron wins the most is in marketing. In 2000 they hired a new CEO who used the exclusivity tactics spearheaded by brands like Grey Goose. Patron blew up on the American scene within a few short years.
1. DON JULIO
Don Julio Tequila was conceived by a man named Don Julio Gonzalez-Frausto Estrada. He spent 40 years refining, practicing, and testing ideas in the pursuit to make a perfect tequila. Well, it seems he succeeded since his brand has landed at number one. Don Julio’s tequila is vertically integrated so they have control over every aspect of the process — the growing of the crops, harvest, mash, ferment, distillation, and aging. What makes this tequila stand out is that it’s aged in old bourbon barrels. So there’s a distinct whiskey twinge to the aged stuff.