The best tequila 2017: a spirit for every budget

Often enjoyed with a slice of orange as an after-dinner drink, we’ve rounded up the best tequila on the market

TODO alt text

Whether it is for hump day Margaritas or a Friday evening tipple, Tequila is a versatile spirit that many of us have a love-hate relationship with. However, if you see Tequila as more of a drink te-kill-ya, then you haven’t been drinking the good stuff, my friend.  

If you’re convinced you just hate the taste of even the most expensive tequila, then that’s where you’re going wrong. Contrary to popular belief, price is not a solid indicator of a good brand of tequila. That’s not to say that the pricier brands aren’t worth it, just don’t judge a tequila by its bottle. Some of the best tasting tequila options are not the most expensive on the shelf as our top pick list will show you.

Traditionally, this spirit is enjoyed as a sipping drink. No salt, no lime, no shots in sight. In fact, it is often enjoyed with a slice of orange as an after-dinner drink. And there are plenty of aged tequilas (Anejo) that are extra smooth and go down nicely in the traditional form, as well as Reposado tequilas that have been rested in a barrel; which takes away some of the intense flavour, making it more enjoyable to drink for those that typically find tequila a bit harsh on the palette.

But for those of us who want to make a classic Margarita or Tequila Sunrise, then Silver (Blanco) and Gold (Joven) tequilas make for a good mixing spirit as the flavour of these tequilas blend well.

We’ve got something for everyone on our list, from fancy bottles to the smoothest tasting – we even have the best budget buys (remember that doesn’t always mean the taste of regret!) for those who want to get a decent bottle without breaking the bank. Ready! Set! Tequila!

Our pick of the best tequila to buy today

Tequila Ocho

A smooth and natural tequila with a kick

Specifications
Best for: Smooth taste
Agave: 100%
ABV: 40%
Serving suggestion: Straight up
Reasons to buy
+Great value+Tastes expensive
Reasons to avoid
-It’s an acquired taste 

If you want to try traditional tequila without spending too much, then Tequila Ocho is right up there with some of the smoothest tequilas you will taste. Made from 100% blue agave, Tequila Ocho has a distinct aroma and flavour that may not be liked by everyone, but if tequila is your thing, you are guaranteed to enjoy this drink. We’ve ranked Tequila Ocho in our top spot for its full-bodied flavour that sticks around long after you’ve sipped it, with hints of citrus, marzipan and pepper. Definitely one for the tequila aficionado or anyone who loves the intense flavour of tequila. 

Patrón Tequila

Perfect tequila for sipping slowly

Specifications
Best for: All-round favourite
Agave: 100%
ABV: 40%
Serving suggestion: Drinker’s choice
Reasons to buy
+Ideal for all drinkers+Nice bottle 
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive 

For those who insist you get what you pay for,  Patrón is certainly one of the most in demand tequilas on the market. Ideally, this tequila is sipped slowly with
a cube of ice dropped into the glass to bring the temperature down. Made from 100% Weber Blue Agave,  Patrón Tequila is not only smooth but also has a slightly sweet edge meaning it really doesn't need to be mixed. It is only made in small batches but is widely available as most high street supermarkets and comes in a well-designed bottle making it ideal for gifting too.

El Jimador Tequila

An affordable tequila which is great for cocktails

Specifications
Best for: Budget Buy
Agave: 100%
ABV: 38%
Serving suggestion: Cocktails
Reasons to buy
+Great for margaritas+Affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Harsh taste for sipping 

If Mexican night is a staple in your home, then you’ll need El Jimador to whizz you up some of the tastiest margaritas you’ve ever had to serve up with your tacos. This is a white tequila which has an almost peppery taste with hints of sweet citrus throughout which makes it ideal for making cocktails. It’s an acquired taste to drink neat on account of its harsh bite, but if you want a relatively cheap tequila that blends well with other flavours, this is a versatile and well rated choice. 

Calle 23 Reposado

A matured tequila with a warm vanilla oaky taste

Specifications
Best for: Overall taste
Agave: 100%
ABV: 40%
Serving suggestion: On the rocks
Reasons to buy
+Rich flavour+Not too expensive
Reasons to avoid
-Fairly light for an aged tequila 

For those tequila aficionados, Calle 23 Reposado is a must-try. Although one of the lightest tasting Reposados, the blend of wood spices, cooked peppers, fresh herbs and notes of fig make for a wonderfully vibrant party of flavours in your glass. Although not to everyone’s taste, this is definitely a tequila that is made for sipping so you can truly indulge in its unique flavour. If you have been making your way through the various tequilas on the market and want to try something a bit more flavoursome, give this a try.

Espolon Blanco Super Premium Tequila

This is a crisp, strong tequila you just might enjoy taking a shot of

Specifications
Best for: Drinking straight
Agave: 100%
ABV: 40%
Serving suggestion: Shots
Reasons to buy
+Smooth to drink+Cool bottle
Reasons to avoid
-Strong  

For tequila lovers, this Espolon Blanco Super Premium Tequila will go down a treat when having after dinner drinks with mates. It features rich and intense citrus flavours that come about from longer cooking and distillation time which makes it one of the smoothest on the list. It is, however, very strong on the palette and not for the faint hearted. If you have been looking for a tequila that packs a real punch to add to your drinks cabinet, this is the one. A true rock star tequila in our books. 

Olmeca Altos Tequila Plata

A decent middle-range tequila with citrusy flavours

Specifications
Best for: Beginners Tequila
Agave: 100%
ABV: 38%
Serving suggestion: Long drink
Reasons to buy
+Ideal for mixing+Lower alcohol percentage
Reasons to avoid
-Not the nicest when neat 

This tequila made from 100% agave is one of the best tequilas for 'beginners' as it has heavy aromatic and citrus flavours which leave a pleasant aftertaste and smoothness in your mouth. This is the perfect tequila for adding to a classic Margarita and although it's not the best tasting in the eyes of a Tequila connoisseur, for those who are entering into the world of tequila this is a decent quality spirit for those who aren’t too keen on drinking spirits neat.  

Jose Cuervo Especial Reposado Tequila

Made with slightly less agave, a solid mainstream tequila

Specifications
Best for: Mixing
Agave: 51%
ABV: 38%
Serving suggestion: Cocktails
Reasons to buy
+Popular supermarket brand+Tastes good
Reasons to avoid
- Will give you a hangover 

This Reposado Tequila is the best tequila for parties. It's pretty versatile in the sense that it goes down well in a cocktail but also isn't the worst thing to take as a shot either. This one won't get you any points on the connoisseur front as it is only made up of 51% agave, but with the rest of the blend being sugars it gives it a pretty delicious sweet taste. Be warned, too much of this tequila will give you a stinking hangover, but then again, so will too much of any tipple. You’ll notice a stronger orange taste with this gold tequila which would make it a great addition to a Tequila Sunrise.  

Once you've selected your perfect Tequila, grab yourself a hip flask from our top hip flasks list.