We see you. You’re currently at the liquor store trying to decide which tequila to buy for your margarita recipe that you’ve already told all your friends is the best. Even though it’s technically your first time actually making it. Lucky for you, here are 10 of the best tequilas for margaritas.
You probably have heard of Patron and Espolon, and those are fine, especially Patron’s Roca Silver. But, for a list of the best tequilas to make a margarita with, we spoke with Kelly Sullivan, the bar manager at the Tex-Mex restaurant Yellow Rose in New York’s East Village.
We listed the bottles below in order of price, beginning with the cheapest. And, if you’re in need of margarita glasses? Snap up some cute ones with cactus stems here.
How to Choose a Tequila for a Margarita
Pick any one of the following blanco or reposado tequilas for your bar cart and you should be all set.
Why is blanco the type of tequila most popular in a margarita? Because it offers a crisp and refreshing taste that mixes well. Aged tequilas like Reposado also work, as they’re smoother and have a more robust flavor. However, they’re also usually more expensive and can overpower the drink.
Sullivan’s tips for the best margarita:
- Always using fresh-squeezed juice over bottled.
- Steer clear of celebrity-branded tequila.
- Don’t be afraid of sweetness. “Calories come from the alcohol by and large and not the sweetener. If you’re choosing to indulge in a drink, go the whole hog and don’t order it skinny.”
The 10 Best Tequilas for Margaritas
1. La Puerta Negra Reposado
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Price: $15.99
Don’t be wary that price affects quality, this tequila is 100% agave and rests for 2-months in an oak barrel, constituting it as reposado. Which is why it’s used in most of El Vez’s signature margaritas. With a subtle flavor and light amber coloring, this makes it a great tequila for anyone wanting to take that step from blanco to reposado. You can keep your salt rim.
2. Sauza Hacienda Silver
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Price: $19.99
Caza Sauza has been making tequila since 1873, which dates a bit further back to when I started drinking this tequila (next up: my skincare routine!) This blanco has a crisp and clean finish, with notes of apple and jasmine. If you’re in a rush to grab a bottle, or already bored of reading, this is a safe bet.
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Price: $23.99
This family-operated brand is owned by a seventh generation tequila producer, which sounds like a Succession spinoff. This blanco is balanced and smooth, with citrusy and peppery notes, making it the go-to for all of Barrio Chino’s fruity and floral margaritas.
4. El Jimador Blanco
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Price: $23.99
El Jimador batches 100% hand-harvested blue Weber agave that goes through a double distillation process to give it that crystal clear color. Another well-known, affordable tequila brand with a crisp and citrus finish that’s best on the rocks, but will still stand out if you decide to make frozen margs.
5. Cimarron Blanco
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Price: $31.49
Cosme, which has made the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants uses this under $30 tequila for their margaritas, and so should you. Plus, the experts at Astor Wines rave about how good this tequila is for its price point. The brand grows its agave at a high elevation with a slow and low-pressure distillation process, giving the final product a smooth finish and hints of grilled pineapple and grass, that make it easy to drink.
6. La Gritona Reposado
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Price: $37.99
It’s the hand-blown recycled bottles that sold me on this one. This woman-owned and operated distillery makes additive-free, small batch reposado tequila; and all agave remnants are given to local farmers for cattle feed. The specific 8-month oak barrel aging process makes this tequila less sweeter than others, with hints of ginger, fruit, and pepper. Sip this tequila or use it in a classic margarita recipe.
7. Dahlia Tequila Cristalino
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Price: $38.99
A Crisalino tequila is an aged tequila that has had all the color filtered out of it. Kind of like when you see a ghost. But, in this case, the Dahlia founders use a a proprietary charcoal filtration system for purification. It’s all part of their sustainable production process. Who doesn’t love an eco-focused tequila that goes the extra mile? Other than Mr. Burns.
8. El Tequileno Platinum Blanco
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Price: $44.99
This the Yellow Rose’s go-to for their margaritas. The tequila has hints of anise, cooked agave, and pepper, giving it a spicy and savory finish.
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Price: $49.99
Like grandfather, like grandson? When it comes to LALO, aka Eduardo “Lalo” Gonzalez aka the grandson of Don Julio Gonzalez, it seems to be the case. LALO uses three ingredients for its ultra premium recipe: Highlands agave, champagne yeast, and deep well water.
I was introduced to this tequila by Hannah Briety, a mixologist in Texas, who also introduced me to ranch water, which is worth the try when you’ve exhausted all your margarita recipes.
10. Casa Dragones
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Price: $79.99
This tequila was created by Bertha González Nieves, the world’s first Maestra Tequilera (female tequila distiller). The agave grows on volcanic soil and is then aged in French and English oak barrels. It’s smooth enough to sip on the rocks, or add to your margaritas to truly be the hostess with the mostess.
- The 10 Best Tequilas to Step Up Your Margarita Game - April 27, 2023
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