If you cringed reading the title, you’re probably not alone. It seems everyone who has ever spent any time in college (or spent time within one hundred miles of a college) has a horrible tequila night story. Everything was going great, you were about to take the captain of the cheerleading squad home then boom, someone broke out the tequila.
The good thing is, not all cheap tequila is bad tequila. Depending on the brand, you may have had what is known as a mixto—a tequila that contains at least 51-percent blue agave with the rest made up of other sugars. The hangover you remember is more likely to be from the sugar in those than the tequila. All of the tequilas listed here are made from 100% agave.
You’ll notice, too, that all of the tequilas listed below are blanco or silver tequilas, which, in the simplest sense, means they are unaged. Reposado, añejo, and extra añejo tequilas are all aged for various times and because of that, tend to be a little more expensive (though in some cases, not much). The good thing about trying multiple blanco tequilas, though, is that you can really taste the difference between the regions (Highlands and Lowlands) that tequila is made in.
Finally, remember that depending on where you are in the country, the prices may fluctuate slightly.
Sauza Blue Silver – $17
Sauza’s entry level tequila Blue Silver (a lowland variety) is citrusy, a little bit peppery, and has some nice orange blossom notes to it. The taste of agave is fully present in this tequila, which fades quickly and cleanly after drinking it. A good sipper, but also great in cocktails.
El Jimador Silver – $20
A lowland tequila named after the people who hand-harvest the agave plants used in tequila production, El Jimador is an agave-forward blanco tequila that has notes of fresh citrus to back up the other flavors, making it perfect in any number of tequila cocktails.
Lunazul Blanco – $20
One of our favorites for margaritas, this lowland blanco tequila has a little bit of pepper and some herbal notes to go with the tropical fruit that you’ll get on the nose and palate
Olmeca Altos Plata – $21
Okay, this one is usually $21, but this highland tequila has a nice grassy quality that is accented by citrusy notes and really shines when drinking it neat or on the rocks. If you’re looking for a cocktail to mix it into, try the Paloma, a classic in Mexico.
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