While tequila is often labeled as the go-to shot-caller party liquor, that isn’t always the case, as there is so much more to this complex agave-based spirit.
Too many people are marred by cheap tequila-fueled binge; these budget buys are often mixtos, tequilas that contain at least 51-percent blue agave but the rest made up of other sugars (that being said, our list contains no mixtos). Real, 100-percent Blue Weber agave tequilas, however, are one of the easiest drinking spirits and can have some of the most creative flavors.
Whether you’re looking for something to make a margarita, whip up another cocktail, or enjoy as a sipper, these are some of the best top-shelf tequilas over $50 (but less than $100).
Casamigos – $55
Fun fact: This brand was formerly owned by George Clooney. Oh, but the tequila is good, too. While Casamigos blanco often finds itself under $50 (about $45, to be exact), the brand’s reposado ($50; hints of caramel and cocoa ) and añejo ($55; more spicy and oaky) options can both can be counted among the great value tequilas over $50.
Milagro Barrel Reserve Silver – $55
With a beautiful bottle that features a piña blown into the bottom, Milagro Barrel reserve is a silver tequila with depth. After distillation, it spends around a month in French and American Oak barrels before bottling. This results in a fresh, agave-forward spirit that is great on its own.
Tequila Fortaleza Blanco Still Strength – $60
Handmade by the Sauza family, Tequila Fortaleza boasts several decades of heritage (five generations, to be exact). The Sauza brand was sold in 1976, but the family continues its craft today. The Still Strength version of the Fortaleza’s Blanco varietal boasts an intense vegetal profile with earthy notes of butter, olive, and black pepper. Since it comes straight from the still, it also has a higher ABV.
Kah Tequila Reposado – $55
This tequila’s fire-eyed skull bottle is a perfect representation of the strength of the vanilla and caramel accompanying the agave character. Awesome flavors and packaging aside, Kah‘s reposado comes in at 110 proof following a 10-month stint in French Limousin Oak casks.
El Tesoro Añejo – $60
Made by crushing the agave with a large stone known as a tahona then aged for between two and three years, El Tesoro’s Añejo is sweet and smooth – perfect for sipping on any occasion. Floral characteristics on the front melt into sweet cooked agave and a hint of spice.
Maracame Tequila Añejo – $60
The makers of Maracame, Casa Camarena, have more than 250 years of tequila-making experience. Aged for 18-months in American Oak barrels, the añejo varietal is a full-bodied spirit reminiscent of a whiskey. Dried fruits, pepper, and cola are some of the flavors you can expect from this tequila, which has received several accolades from the industry.
Tequila Código 1530 Rosa – $60
The rosé trend is here to stay, and Código‘s Rosa hits all the high notes. Aged one month in uncharred Napa Cabernet French White Oak barrels, this unique tequila leads with the usual agave flavor you find in a blanco with a hint of floral notes.
Casa Noble Single Barrel Reposado – $100
While you may be more familiar with single-barrel bourbons or Scotch whiskies, Casa Noble has their own iteration, which is aged in French Oak for 364 days (one day short of being considered an añejo, which they also have in single barrel form) before bottling. This produces a rich tequila experience unlike many others out there.
Clase Azul Reposado – $100
We won’t kid you, Clase Azul’s bottle steals the show — individually sculpted and painted by hand, how could it not? What’s on the inside, though, is also a great experience. Aged for eight months, their reposado tequila is silky and smooth, with oak, vanilla, and toffee flavors that blend well with the cooked agave.
Espolòn Añejo X – $100
To make Espolòn’s Añejo X, the tequila is aged for six years before bottling. Baking spices, cooked agave, and oak abound, with vanilla, pepper, and dark chocolate notes further along. The handmade black glass bottles are a tribute to the Mexican pottery style barro negro.
Article originally published by Pat Evans on July 27, 2017. Last updated by Sam Slaughter on February 14, 2019.
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