The best tequila taste tested

We bring you the 10 best bottles of Mexican firewater to get a party started. Read our review to find the finest agave-based spirits on the market, from traditional tequila to mezcal and sotol. 

We’ve picked products we think you’ll love and may earn commission from links on this page. Read about why you can trust BBC Good Food reviews. This page was updated in May 2020.

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Tequila: a word that can strike fear into the hearts of anyone three quarters of a way through a night out drinking with friends.

But fear not, tequila is not what it might seem. In fact, we know, through a mixture of mixing it into tequila cocktails and simply sipping away, that tequila is not just for slamming.

In fact, ‘tequila’ has some unique and tasty cousins, also produced in Mexico from the agave plant, such as mezcal, sotol and raicilla.

Read on to discover our pick of the best tequila. For more like this, visit our reviews section and find taste tests of piscoginvodkarum and much more.

The best tequila taste tested

Del Maguey Vida mezcal

Del Maguey is the brainchild of Californian artist turned mezcal maestro Ron Cooper, who has been importing this agave spirit since 1995. It has since become the darling spirit of the hipster world. This example shows how different it can taste from tequila, with smoky elements and an earthy undertone.

Tequila reposado
Tapatio Reposado tequila

One of the most masterful tequilas around, this reposado (meaning ‘rested’ for between two and 12 months) is made from 100 per cent blue agave by one of the true godfathers of tequila production, Carlos Camarena. Rich buttery notes, alongside a distinct citrus freshness and a slightly earthy note, come from the ex-bourbon casks in which it is rested for around four months.

Patron Silver

Patrón Silver tequila

Patrón is the game-changing tequila brand of the past decade or so, making this spirit category much more approachable and premium through an innovative distillery which allows them to make a consistent and delicious product that works exceptionally well in cocktails.

Hacienda sotol

Hacienda de Chihuahua sotol añejo

The spirit ‘sotol’ is exclusively produced by just a handful of distillers not far from the US border and Hacienda de Chihuahua is probably the most well-known. It’s produced from the desert spoon plant, which can take as long as 15 years to fully mature. With a more spicy, herbaceous note than tequila, it works well for sipping.

Cenenario Resposado

Gran Centenario reposado tequila

This is a reposado tequila, which starts out with around 10 months maturation in French wine casks. It’s then blended with other tequilas which helps to develop a distinct vanilla-tinged floral top note like nothing else.

QuiQuiRiQui mezcal

QuiQuiRiQui Matatlan mezcal

QuiQuiRiQui, which means ‘cock-a-doodle-doo’ is a mezcal which has as good a flavour as it does name. The taste ranges from smoky to sugary sweet and has a peppery finish. This comes from Matatlan, the home of mezcal in Mexico.

Herradura

Herradura añejo tequila

An añejo is a tequila that is rested in oak for longer than year, but fewer than three years. This example is from a house founded in 1870 and still makes its product in the same way today, as it did back then. Notes of sweet vanilla, toffee popcorn and black pepper mark this out as excellent example of a añejo tequila.

Ocho tequila

Ocho blanco tequila

This spirit places heavy focus on what makes tequila, tequila: the agave flavour. This is Mexico in a bottle. Each batch comes from a different field or rancho contributing distinctive characteristics of that terrain. This has been produced in conjunction with Tomas Estes, an official Tequila Ambassador for the Mexican Government!

Altos tequila

Olmeca Altos silver tequila

This is a more specific version of the original Olmeca tequila, with the name ‘Altos’ reflecting the highland region of Tequila, in Mexico from where they source their agave. This is a fresh tequila which works brilliantly in a margarita.

Gran Patron

Gran Patrón Piedra tequila

This is a tequila for really treating yourself – and it should be at the price. An extra añejo (very old in tequila terms) produced by Patrón. Made from 100 per cent blue weber agave from the highlands of Jalisco and matured in both American and French oak casks, it has notes more akin to a whisky than a tequila.

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This review was last updated in July 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk.

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Which tequila do you drink? We’d love to hear your product suggestions below…