Are you really having a good night if the first thing you did when you walked into the bar wasn’t order a round of tequila shots? Not by my standards. But while tequila may have earned itself a slightly messy reputation and there are those who groan with hungover regret at the mere mention of it, there is a way to properly enjoy the spirit, just as you would with whisky, rum or gin. You simply need to know what to drink and how to drink it. First tip? Ditch the salt and lime.
There are three main types of tequila that you ought to familiarise yourself with before you delve into the world of blue agave-based spirits: plata, reposado and añejo, which essentially translates as unaged, rested and aged. The type you choose depends on your personal taste and, sometimes, what kind of drink you’re trying to whip up, but any tequila worth its salt (or lack of) should taste just as good with tonic as it does in a Margarita. Yes, you read that right. Tequila and tonic: it’s delicious and you should try it.
Not sure which tequila to choose when you next fancy a taste of Mexico? Fear not, because we’ve rounded up some of the best on the market right now that will turn you into a tequila convert after the very first sip. Salud!
Named in honour of La Catrina, one of the most recognisable symbols of Día De Muertos (AKA The Day Of The Dead), Satryna is a tequila brand steeped in history, helmed by an all-female partnership between Nitzan Marrun and Elizabet Tovar. Made using 100 per cent blue weber agave from the fields of Jalisco and benefiting from the rich, volcanic soil near Guadalajara, this is a noticeably smooth spirit with complex floral notes, balanced by a sweet and subtle honey flavour. £62.45. At thewhiskyexchange.com
A new brand that is set on moving tequila away from the sombreros and salsa image it’s had in the past, El Rayo is the kind of tequila that is best enjoyed with tonic in a quiet bar. Distilled using a unique blend of highland and lowland agave, both their blanco and reposado tequilas are light and refreshing, perfect for anyone who has bad memories of the spirit and is looking to rediscover the spirit. From £39.95. elrayotequila.com
Clase Azul Añejo
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The pièce de résistance of top-quality tequila, Clase Azul’s super-luxe añejo is a silky spirit that you’ll want to savour. Drink it neat, ice cold, and you’ll be treated to a smooth caramel flavour that is as easy to sip as your favourite tequila cocktail. The bottle is also just as impressive as the flavour, crafted using traditional Mexican unfired clay methods for a stunning result that is probably more suited to your mantlepiece than your drinks cabinet. Sip this slowly, because you’ll want to make it last, trust us. £605.78. At masterofmalt.com
Código 1530 Rosa
A rosa tequila? Yep, you better believe it. This little number from Código 1530 gets its pink hue after spending a month in barrels that once held Napa Cabernet wine and is made all the more delicious for it. Adding a fruity twist to its already floral notes, this tequila’s unique resting process truly makes it stand out amongst other tequilas on the market. Add a dash of tonic and you’ll forget that GTs ever existed. £49.95. At masterofmalt.com
The perfect base for a Margarita, Patrón’s Silver tequila is crisp, citrusy and renowned as one of the best tequilas on the market for a reason. If you’re looking for a crystal-clear spirit that retains the authentic flavours of agave, you’d be hard pressed to find one much better than this. Sometimes the classics truly are the best. £44.95. At thewhiskyexchange.com
Don Julio 1942
Another añejo tequila that proves good things do really come to those who wait, Don Julio 1942 has a creamy taste that also makes it perfect for sipping either on its own or with tonic. Each bottle is aged for at least two years in American white-oak barrels, infusing it with sweet notes of vanilla, caramel and tropical fruits for a truly exceptional tequila. £125. At thewhiskyexchange.com
Cazcabel Tequila Blanco
Cazcabel’s blanco tequila is a brilliant and affordable option if you’re looking for a classic tequila, but it’s the brand’s more unique blends that infuse honey and coffee that you should really look out for. Its coffee tequila in particular is unlike anything you’ll have ever tried before and is practically begging to be experimented with by a mixologist. Rich and chocolatey, we can’t wait to give an Espresso Margarita a try with this blend. £25. At masterofmalt.com
GQ’s guide to the best mezcals on the market
The best gins to make the perfect gin and tonic
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