I've generally used it in mixed drinks and really hadn't paid all that much attention to anything beyond Cuervo. Can someone provide a primer in the different styles (anejo, resposado, etc.) and brands to get/avoid?
A good start;
Anything not 100% Agave is probably "mixto," a mix of agave and sugar cane, which is cheaper to make.
I prefer Sauza silver to Jose Cuervo silver, for when I make margaritas in large quantities for parties. I also infuse tequila with fruit, much the same way that I infuse vodka or whiskey, and generally do not use 100% Agave for that either.
The 100% Agave tequila is much more expensive, and good for sipping or for making one or two high-quality cocktails for yourself or friends.
I like Lunazil, Herradura, and Milagro silver for that.
Can you see the related chowhound story to the right, on the side bar, entitled "Mixto is for Losers" ? It is a pretty good story. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
If not, here is the link.
not an expert but a knowledgeable mixologist recommended El Tesoro Reposado to me and I find it quite agreeable for sipping, not as much burn as some others
Not many 100% agave tequilas retail for under $30 - Cazadores is a good one and their reposado is excellent. Somewhat surprisingly, many who really know tequila prefer reposados to anejos (even though anejos are more costly), with the opinion that the stronger flavors in anejos overwhelm the subtleties of the agave flavor.
Mexico applies an onerous luxury tax on super-premium tequilas (among other items) that are purchased in Mexico. If you buy an expensive bottle in Mexico and lug it back to the states thinking you found a bargain, you may find it in your store at home for less.
Finally, Jose Cuervo is considered to be laughable tourist swill in Mexico, but a lot of it is sold - lots of tourists.
plenty of 100% agave silvers are available in NJ for less than 30 dollars.
I noticed most tequila at the duty free shop in mexico was priced *less* than what you'd find at home. i didn't purchase any outside of duty free to know if there is a huge tax that would make them more expensive than buying in the states. however, one of the pleasures of traveling to mexico is the wide range of tequilas that we simply do not have in the states. worth the extra couple of bucks if you're a tequila fan.
While Jose Cuervo *Gold* (and their other non 100% agave tequilas) is considered swill in mexico-- and everywhere else--because it is swill, the Jose Cuervo house produces Tradicional, which is widely popular in Mexico (and available here in the states). Additionally, JC's Riserva de la Familia is highly regarded in Mexico.
regarding Cazadores reposado, it's interesting to note that the stuff produced for consumption in mexico is 76 proof, rather than 80 as it is here. same goes for many of their tequilas, which range from 76-84 proof, whereas they all seem pinned at 80 proof in the states.
Thanks for the responses. I've got some Kroger bucks (can be used in the liquor store) that I'll spend tomorrow. I'll report back if I'm able.
The state store at the local Kroger's was limited on high end tequilas. I refuse to buy Cabo Wabo as I loathe Sammy Hagar. I had heard Patron was overrated and overpriced, so I settled on 1800 and Hornita's. Tried the reposados from both and the 1800 anejo. All very nice in mixed drinks but the 1800 anejo was very good. I'll hit up the mega-liquor store over the holidays and grab a bunch more. Thanks for the tips.
re: JohnE O
I think you're approaching this in a smart way: buy a couple, taste each on their own, and draw your own conclusions. To that end I wouldn't discount Patron, as people love to pile on, so widely-held negative opinions are often nonsense.
I agree with your assessment of Sammy Hagar, although I wouldn't kick his tequila out of bed.