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The best añejo tequilas to prepare for Cinco de Mayo

Drin anejo tequila this Cinco de Mayo

Tequilas
Francisco Galarza / Unsplash

When it comes to drinking holidays, there are two that stand out. The first is St. Patrick’s Day with its green beer, Irish whiskey, and dry Irish stouts. The second is Cinco de Mayo with its tequila and Mexican beer. While we honestly don’t know why we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, we do know that Cinco de Mayo is not a celebration of Mexico’s Independence Day (that’s in September). It’s the day to remember the Mexican victory over France in the Battle of Pueblo.

Over the years, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, we’ve enjoyed our fair share of blanco tequila shots and light Mexican lagers. As we’ve grown, we’ve realized we prefer something with a little more complexity. That’s why this year we’re going to sip añejo tequilas instead.

What is an añejo tequila?

Tequila
Alena Plotnikova/Tequila

When it comes to tequila, specific terms are used to explain the spirit’s age. Blanco is either unaged or barely aged (up to two months), reposado is aged between two and twelve months, añejo is aged between one and three years, and extra añejo is aged for more than three years. There are a few other terms, like Cristalino, gold, and joven, but we won’t get into those today as we’re most interested in añejo tequila.

As sipping tequila goes, añejo is likely the sweet spot. It still holds the roasted, vegetal sweetness of the agave, but it also has vanilla, caramel, oak, and spices imparted from the aging charred oak.

The best añejo tequilas to prepare for Cinco de Mayo

Tequila
iam_os/Unsplash

Now that you have learned a little about why añejo tequilas are perfect for Cinco de Mayo it’s time to stock your liquor cabinet or bar cart. We wouldn’t want to sing the proverbial praises of añejo tequilas without actually pointing some out to drink. That would be very rude, right? Below, you’ll find our favorite añejo tequilas to sip and mix with this May 5th. Keep scrolling to see all of the sweet, agave-based goodness. You’ll be glad you did.

Casamigos Añejo

Casamigos Añejo
Casamigos

Casamigos is more than just a celebrity-driven brand. Even though George Clooney is one of its founders, the brand makes flavorful, award-winning tequilas. One of its best is Casamigos Añejo. Made with 100% Blue Weber agave, this nuanced, complex, sippable tequila is known for its flavors of roasted agave sweetness, vanilla, caramel, oak, and spices.

Espolon Añejo

Espolon Añejo
Espolon

When it comes to value-priced tequilas, it’s tough to beat the appeal of Espolon. This is especially true with its Espolon Añejo. It is matured for eleven full months in American oak barrels before aging for a minimum of a month in ex-Wild Turkey bourbon barrels. The result is a complex, easy-drinking tequila with notes of roasted tequila, vanilla beans, caramel, chocolate, dried fruit, and charred oak.

El Tesoro Añejo

El Tesoro Añejo
El Tesoro

This award-winning tequila is matured in ex-bourbon barrels for two to three full years. This results in a sublimely mellow, sippable tequila well-known for its flavor palate of sweet agave, floral notes, charred oak, cracked black pepper, and vanilla beans. Sip this one neat in between cheesy, meaty Cinco de Mayo fare.

Don Fulano Añejo

Don Fulano Añejo
Don Fulano

This popular tequila is matured between two and three years in French Limousine oak. The result is a very complex, rich sipping tequila known for its nose of roasted agave, pepper, crisp apple, and oak. Drinking it reveals notes of vanilla, salted caramel, oaky wood, pepper, and other spices. The finish is dry, and warming, and leaves you wanting another glass immediately.

Casa Noble Añejo

Casa Noble Añejo
Casa Noble

If you’ve never tried any of the award-winning tequilas from Casa Noble, we suggest starting with its Casa Noble Añejo. Aged for at least two full years in French oak barrels, this tequila is known for its balanced, nuanced flavor profile. On the nose, you’ll find aromas of oak, toffee, and gentle spices. Drinking it brings forth notes of vanilla beans, roasted agave, butterscotch, charred oak, and wintry spices. This is a tequila is sip neat and savor slowly.

Bottom line

Tequila in shot glasses with lime and salt
Brent Hofacker / Adobe Stock

You might feel like picking up a bargain bottle of blanco tequila is enough for Cinco de Mayo. And while that’s all well and good for mixing into Margaritas and other cocktails, you need a good añejo for sipping neat in between Mexican food meals. While you can do your own research, you can’t go wrong with any of the tequilas we’ve selected above. Come Cinco de Mayo, you’re going to be glad you stocked up on something that doesn’t taste like rubbing alcohol.

Editors' Recommendations

Christopher Osburn
Christopher Osburn is a food and drinks writer located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. He's been writing professional
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