The World's Best Guide to Buying Tequila That Doesn't Suck
So what should I buy?
First of all, the only thing worth buying with the name Cuervo on it is Reserva de la Familia, and even then, there are better tequilas out there. Second, the Sauza family doesn't own the Sauza brand anymore; it was sold off two generations ago, and the fifth and sixth generations of the Sauzas now make tequila under the Fortaleza distillery (you may see some old Mexican bottles that say Los Abuelos--it's the same exact tequila).
Second, no matter how desperate you are for a tequila bender, do not ever, ever, ever buy Montezuma Tequila. While expensive tequilas are not necessary good ones, extremely cheap tequilas are nearly always bad ones. You have been warned.
Third, never buy tequila that doesn't come in glass. There are plenty of beehive-shaped five-liter plastic jugs of yellow liquor that is technically tequila, but it is all garbage--don't be tempted.
Now, on to specific recommendations:
If all you can get is nationally distributed brands, because you live far from the border or in one of those ridiculous liquor control states like Oregon and Pennsylvania, drink Corralejo. If you can't get that, stick with Espolón or El Jimador. If you can only get Cuervo and Sauza, Sauza's Tres Generaciones is your best option.
Nice mid-range tequilas, meant for sipping rather than shooting, include Real de México, Tapatío, Cazadores, and--even though opening the oddly shaped bottle feels like performing a glass circumcision--Asombroso.
If you've got to impress someone, skip the so-mediocre Patrón and the shockingly overpriced Don Julio; go get a bottle of Arette añejo. You may change people's minds about tequila just with this one bottle, and it's less expensive than Don Julio. Also worth buying are Fortaleza (particularly the blanco, which will blow your mind with its almost grassy agave taste) and Siete Leguas.
Are these all the good ones? Not a chance. If you're ever in Tijuana, you need to stop at Leyva's Liquors on Avenida Revolución between 6th and 7th and put yourself in Gilberto Leyva's capable hands and his 600-brand hoard of tequila.
|Tequila and Viuda de Sánchez sangrita at Tlaquepaque's El Parián, the largest outdoor bar in the world.|
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