Tequila, at least in the US, didn’t always get its due. It was treated as something to be quickly knocked back while wincing like a child biting a lemon, or drowned in the kind of neon-green margarita mix that comes out of a plastic jug. And while that’s still plenty of fun, consumers are waking up to the fact that tequila can be sipped and savored, just like whiskey. Of course, tequila has always been that way, but this new awareness means that there are even more sipping tequilas than ever. There are even new kinds of tequilas that didn’t exist before, such as cristalino, which is aged like an añejo but then distilled to be clear, like a blanco.
So, what exactly is a sipping tequila? Well, it’s simply any tequila you can enjoy sipping. Maybe that’s with a large ice cube, a splash of water, a cut of lime or just completely by itself. While how suitable for sipping a spirit is typically depends on how old it is, that isn’t necessarily the case with tequila. You can enjoy the bright and crisp taste of agave by pouring a glass of blanco, which is unaged, or sip a smooth reposado, which is aged for less than a year. Or, go for an añejo or extra añejo, which are aged for several years. And while there are plenty of premium options that are worth your hard-earned cash, a great sipping tequila doesn’t have to be expensive.
These are some great sipping tequilas to enjoy right now.
1. Mijenta Tequila Reposado
This reposado comes from Mijenta, a fairly new label from Maestra Tequilera Ana Maria Romero and backed by the former CEO of Bacardi. Despite high-profile involvement, Mijenta is starting slow, with this Reposado being produced in a quantity of fewer than 7,000 bottles.
2. El Tesoro Extra Añejo Tequila
BEST EXTRA AÑEJO
If you’re a bourbon lover looking to get into tequila, then consider this extra añejo from El Tesoro, which is aged in reused American oak bourbon barrels for four to five years. It’s unique in that it has a lighter profile and color than your typical extra añejo. It’s described as having a cooked agave flavor, with black pepper and an oakiness and caramel flavor, likely owing to the bourbon barrels.
3. Casa Dragones Blanco
Casa Dragones is lead by Bertha Gonzalez Nieves, the first female master tequila distiller, and this blanco is noted for its smooth, crisp taste with a hint of pepper. While you certainly could mix it, it’s smooth (and expensive) enough that you’ll likely want to stick to sipping.
4. Espolòn Tequila Añejo
A great sipping tequila need not be too expensive, as Espolon has proven with their añejo, which is readily available for less than 30 bucks. It’s a great option for sipping, but it’s affordable enough that you won’t feel bad about mixing it.
5. Herradura Silver Tequila
For a top-shelf tequila that isn’t so expensive you won’t find it at the grocery store, consider Herradura’s silver tequila, which enjoys a very brief stay in a white oak barrel, setting it apart from the standard blanco. It’s noted as having a citrusy, fruity flavor.
6. Solento Organic Reposado Tequila
Solento is a young brand that focuses on sourcing organic agave from a single estate, and it’s produced in small batches. This tequila is aged for nine months in American Oak barrels. In our review, we complimented the flavors, noting that it “begins with a bouquet of candied orange and earth, followed by a palate rich in vanilla, plum, white pepper, and nutmeg, culminating in a figgy finish.” For something on the newer side, this is definitely one of our favorite sipping tequilas.
7. Cazadores Añejo Cristalino
If you’re looking to try a cristalino without spending too much, consider this modestly-priced sipping tequila from Cazadores. It’s first matured for a minimum of six years and then filtered for a clear color and unique flavor.