The World's Best Guide to Buying Tequila That Doesn't Suck

Categories: Five Great...

3. If it's not 100% de agave, leave it for the frat boys.
Dave Lieberman

It gets wearisome beating this drum, but I'll say it once again: every percentage of tequila that is not made from Agave tequilana Weber is a percentage that might as well be cat piss. It isn't, of course--it's usually cane alcohol, which has its own uses (mmmm, pajaretes...), but it makes for a harsh tequila that hits you with all the subtlety of a Warner Bros. anvil to the head. Make sure it says "100% de agave". Don't worry about whether it says blue agave, because it can't be called tequila unless it's made from blue agave.

4. Añejo does not mean "best"; it means "oldest"

The indicators of age are just that: how long it spent in the oak barricas before being poured out and bottled. Some places, like Cazadores, make good reposado and just okay añejo; some places, like Fortaleza, make an amazing blanco that gets overwhelmed by the wood taste of aging. The prices are always higher for the older tequilas because there's less añejo than reposado, and less reposado than blanco. Which brings us to...

5. Price is not a good indicator of quality

"You get what you pay for." If you hear someone say that about tequila, tell him he's telling you pendejadas. Many of the best tequilas in the world, particularly reposados, retail for $20-$30 per 750 mL bottle. Are there expensive tequilas out there that are worth it? Absolutely... but just because it's got a nice elegant bottle doesn't mean it's worth the money. In fact, some of the expensive tequilas come from distilleries where they make cheaper brands--and they all come from the same tanks.

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