HOME > Chowhound > Spirits >


Tequila hellp

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?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. silver/blanco: not aged
    reposado: aged a bit
    anejo: aged more

    blanco great for margaritas
    reposado and anejo good for sipping

    don't buy any tequila that doesn't say "100% agave" on it. and most that are 100% are just fine, or worthy of trying.

    start there and report back.

    1 Reply
    1. re: tommy

      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.

    2. 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

      1. 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.

        2 Replies
        1. re: huckfinn

          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.

          1. re: huckfinn

            We use Cazadores regularly and love it for the price. It's good enough to sip, but also won't break the bank if making a large batch of margaritas for a party.

          2. 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.

            1. 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.

              2 Replies
              1. 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.

                1. re: tommy

                  I love Sammy Hagar and his tequila is not one to ignore. It's very good and has acquitted itself well in tastings against other top shelf brands.

              2. Okay, have tested out a bunch and here's my unrefined opinion.

                Patron anejo: okay, but not overly distinctive. Not worth the high price.
                De Mayoral anejo:. Same as Patron. Just okay. A little more floral
                Hornitas resposado: Good value. Nice to sip.
                1800 resposaso: About as good as the anejo Patron or De Mayoral.
                1800 anejo: Really good. Distinctive flavor and great value.

                2 Replies
                1. re: JohnE O

                  out of curiosity, were these tasted in a blind comparison?

                  1. re: tommy

                    I was close to blind drunk, but no. I could read the labels.

                2. I love tequila and here are my "current" favorites.

                  Dos Lunas reposado. Slightly creamy texture. Very smooth.
                  Cabo Waba reposdo. Who cares about Sammy Hagar. I think he sold the brand anyway.
                  Centenario reposado. Infused with hibiscus and aged in port barrels.
                  Asombroso reposado. Also aged in port barrels. One of my all time favorites.

                  As you can tell, I'm on a reposado kick. I actually think that anejos can be great but most, in my opinion, are overpriced and overrated.

                  Whatever you do, stay away from 30-30! This is drano with color.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: PitLab

                    Sammy did sell and made a dump truck full of cash.


                  2. Have to say, i cracked open a bottle of Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia Platino the other day. It was part of a gift box I received a while back that has a few bottles I haven't tried, but I hadn't bothered to open any of them yet. I've only ever tried a few other silvers (and I have another bottle in there to try, El Mayor silver), but this may have spoiled me forever against having lesser silvers. The silvers have a really sharp, sometimes harsh flavor, and the Reserva de la Familia is somehow smoother and much more appealing to me while still very clearly from taste (not just color) being a silver. Hard to describe that difference but you'd be hard pressed not to notice it if you tasted it. Some might prefer the other way, but to me it's the Reserva de la Familia that's very very good.

                    I'm slowly trying different bottles and don't have as many choices here as I would like. Right now I'd really like to try El Tosoro reposado. I went looking for it when I was out of state last week (here in PA, it's only available special order and for that you have to buy 6 bottles I think), but although the place was listed as a seller on the web site, they didn't have it. Most recently my own purchases were Lunazul reposado, which really seems pretty good for its price point which can be near $20 or in some places perhaps even under that.

                    But beyond making sure you buy 100% agave, it's all a matter of preference. You can read up on the different areas of the Tequila region, and what qualities that may impart on the tequila, etc. then look for brands that are produced there. It's a little like wine that way it seems. The aforementioned "Mixto is for Losers" story has a bit on this. The main thing I find at this stage is that I wish I lived somewhere with more tequila variety. ;-)

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: CrazyOne

                      put the lunazul side-by-side with the JC Reserva and you'll never drink it again, at any price point. :)

                      1. re: tommy

                        Haha, yeah, I'm sure. But then I wasn't really drinking the Lunazul straight either. I bought it in the summer to use for margaritas and palomas (although even these, particularly paloma, will benefit a little from better tasting tequila if made right). The real problem here is the variety we get in the PA state stores. Do I want to spend twice as much or more for what are often apparently only mediocre choices? I think the Platino JC Reserva regular price is about 3x the Lunazul, but, hm, maybe just need to change my thinking. It's probably still cheaper than buying the wine I would actually drink. ;-) (Typically my girlfriend buys $10-15 bottles of wine and enjoys a glass of that just fine, but I don't find I like most of those enough to drink a whole glass. Almost everything I've really liked costs more like $25-30 here.)

                        Anyway, we'll see. I'm still pretty early into all this. It's not like I've tasted everything they sell in the stores and found it all lacking. It's just that the ones I most want to try aren't sold here in an easy way (or at all). Much as it would be nice to try El Tesoro, I don't want to buy a case of 6 right off. ;-)

                        1. re: CrazyOne

                          i hear ya. lunazul could be considered a good value, especially if making margaritas in bulk for a large party. but for normal margarita consumption, i noticed a marked difference between lunazul and my usual milagro (also quite inexpensive, i think), especially when i used crappy triple sec along with the lunazul instead of cointreau.

                          separately, but related, many people will have you believe that the choice of tequila and triple sec doesn't matter in a margarita. but, considering the tequila and triple sec account for about 80-90% of a margarita, it should be obvious that they are wrong. :)

                          keep tasting!

                    2. I really know nothing about tequila, but am a willing student. What would y'all suggest for a tequila in the mid-price range?

                      4 Replies
                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                          Um, I don't think "all the ones mentioned above" are in the mid-price range. But nevermind. Bought a bottle that was--El Jimador reposado. Haven't tasted it yet, but will do.

                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                            El Jimador rep. is my house tequila. It's okay to sip, but you won't feel guilty making in into margaritas for a crowd.

                            I think mostly everything above is mid-priced; many are on the lower end. Since 100% agave is always pricy, I consider anything under, say, $65 to be middle of the road, dollar wise. YMMV.

                          2. re: invinotheresverde

                            just about all of them were. if you know the prices of all of them, then you are already in the position to decide what your mid-price range would be.

                            pick up a blanco as well so you can enjoy the difference in the tequilas.

                        2. How do most of you drink premium tequilas? I sip it neat with a companion glass of slightly chilled sangrita.
                          My sangrita is 8-4-1 oz. tomato, orange & lime juice, 3/4 oz Worcestershire, 1/2 tsp Tabasco, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp garlic salt, pepper to taste.
                          All of the bottled sangrita sucks.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Veggo

                            Very classic Mexican way to drink tequila Veggo. I usually just sip it neat usually with a habanos cigar. Reposados to me are a good balance between the blanco and anejo. Still get good agave taste