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The best gifts for tequila and mezcal enthusiasts

Know somebody who loves tequila or mezcal? Here's what to get them

Sunset landscape of a tequila plantation, Guadalajara, Mexico.
jcfotografo / Adobe Stock

The agave spirits category had another great year so it’s pretty likely that somebody on your list wants some. Whether they love mezcal or prefer tequila, we’ve got some great options, just in time for the holidays.

Read on for some of the best bottles of the year, plus a related cocktail gift. These standout options show the might of the agave spirits sector, involving everything from cider-aged options to extra-aged offerings. Seems not too long ago, mezcal wasn’t really a thing here and tequila was mostly thrown back in shot form. Not anymore. The two agave spirits have taken the American market by storm and come in a vast array of easy-sipping styles.

We’ve got options at multiple price points, that appeal to both the imbiber just getting into these spirits or a long-time enthusiast.

Catedral Mezcal bottles.

Catedral de Mi Padre Mezcal

This brand utilizes some of the most talented mezcaleros around and it shows. The releases are always stunning, rustic yet balanced. It’s classically made mezcal, with savory and spice notes but the length that comes from a lot of tender loving care en route.

El Tesoro Extra Añejo

El Tesoro Tequila

Check out the entirety of the El Tesoro lineup but pay special attention to the Extra Anejo. It’s aged in American oak (bourbon barrels) for five years, affording a bit of color and great length. Buttery, with hints of coffee, nuts, and spice, it’s one for enjoying neat.

Fosforo Mezcal bottles.

Fosforo Mezcal

Set in a small village about 90 minutes outside of Puebla, Fosforo is cooking up some outstanding mezcal. It helps that they rely on fourth-generation master mezcalero Aarón Alva Sánchez. His work is impressive, fermented with indigenous yeast and given the copper still treatment. The joven is fruity and peppery with big minerality, while the Penca is aged a bit for a little more complexity and a great mouthfeel.

Cantera Negra bottles.

Cantera Negra Tequila

This brand’s lineup includes a coffee liqueur made from blue agave, which is pretty interesting (and goes great with tequila). The standard offerings come in a range of ages, and the reposado is a real winner. Aged a minimum of seven months in old Cognac and bourbon barrels, it shows citrus, vanilla, and vegetal notes. Versatile, the tequila is preferred on its own but is also great in simpler cocktails.

Eterno Verano tequilas.

Eterno Verano Tequila

Sporting one of the coolest labels and inspired by the iconic surfing movie Endless Summer (hence the name), Eterno Verano makes the big three tequila options. Perhaps we’re busy staring at the bottle, but there’s a decidedly surfy element to the spirits, showing some breezy tropical fruit notes. The Anejo is aged for 12 months in whiskey barrels and offers a fruit pie crust meets baking chocolate flavor.

Seimpre tequila bottle.

Siempre Tequila

Siempre is making some great stuff for the price, and the occasional high-end releases are remarkable. There’s a nice harmony in the offerings, which should appeal especially to somebody just getting into the genre. You get all those characteristics that make tequila so appealing, from the dried fruit and earthy notes to the citrus and floral components.

Barsys Smart Coasters

Barsys Coaster 2.0

Many see Barsys as the future of cocktails, and that’s probably true. The latest invention is a smart coaster that guides you through an app to make a tremendously-balanced cocktail. You’ll see tequila in a new light with this savvy drink invention.

Camarena

Camarena Tequila

Camarena makes a slew of tequilas but pound for pound, the silver might be the best. The award-winning offering delivers green herbs and savory notes. There’s a bit of black pepper there, and it’s absolutely great in a Bloody Maria or Margarita.

Ultramundo tequila bottle.

Ultramundo Lamparillo Mezcal

This label is all about sustainability and terroir. You can taste the patience that went into the process — not to mention the unique characteristics of the Durango-grown Agave. It’s mezcal you can truly get lost in, with so many layers you find yourself in rabbit hole after delicious rabbit hole.

Nosotros tequila bottle.

Nosotros Tequila

Nosotros must be on your radar if you like mezcal and tequila. The spirits are refined at every level, and the high-end releases are magical. Arguably the best is the special Reposado aged in old cider barrels. There’s a hint of apple, along with some great dried fruit and candied citrus characteristics. It’s one of the roundest tequilas we’ve come across, a pleasure for the palate. Aged in white oak barrels for added softness, (most tequila is aged in red oak barrels), this release is aged three months longer than most to cut sharp flavors, mellow the palate, and promote a soft finish. After 11 months, this Reposado emotes a butterscotch aroma finished by a balanced honey-cinnamon twist.

El Mayor tequila.

El Mayor Tequila

Made of hand-harvested agave, El Mayor tequila is also one to look out for. The Reposado sings, at once creamy and smoky. The Anejo is worth your time too, coming off more mature than it ought to.

Shots and a bottle of Teremana and snacks on the sand.

Teremana Tequila

A celeb project, Teremana was founded by muscle man Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Made from the Jalisco highlands, the offerings still get some attention within the giant universe of premium tequila. That’s partly because of the inherent marketing cache but also because the trio of tequila is pretty darn good.

Amaras mezcal bottles.

Amarás Mezcal

Smooth is an understatement when it comes to the releases of this shining label. It’s amazing how much flavor is packed into each offering, while keeping things dialed in and harmonious. There’s a real focus on different agave species, and the result is added personality in the glass.

Ready for more related material? Check out our pieces on tequila aging terms and five of our favorite tequila cocktail recipes. Read about the rising popularity of mezcal or about Sotol, a sustainable alternative to tequila.

Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
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