Mexicans are the best judge when choosing the best agave spirit. It is part of their culture, and they would know high-quality tequila just by smelling or looking at it.
So, if you want to find out what’s the best tequila in Mexico, read on and see if your favorite made it to the list.
Top 15 Mexican Tequilas To Bring Home
1. Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver
Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver tequila is a pure tequila and not a tequila mixto. This Blanco tequila has a sweet and complex bouquet with a balanced flavor. Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver is also one of the favorite variants in the market.
It is because of its subtle flavors and smooth finish. It is priced affordably at around $21 per 750ml bottle. It has a distinct taste compared to the Jose Cuervo Platino, part of the Jose Cuervo Reserva De La Familia series. It is in the first Ultra Premium tequila category, released in 2007.
2. Corralejo Añejo
Corralejo Añejo is manufactured by old tequila producers at Hacienda Corralejo. Mexican drinkers enjoy the bold peppery flavors of this tequila. Mexicans buy tequila such as Corralejo, which manages to keep the strong flavors but do not overdo it.
Hacienda Corralejo makes its tequila without any additives or caramel. Adding water or ice will tame the agave flavor and spice. This bottle is one of the best sipping tequilas since this is one of the smoothest tequila with the pure sweetness of baked agave.
3. Don Julio 1942 Añejo Tequila
Don Julio 1942 is a top-shelf tequila. This variant is an extra añejo tequila, one of the best-tasting tequila on the market. Compared to Don Julio Añejo, another top-shelf variant, 1942, is aged longer. Don Julio 1942 has a more complex flavor, with sweet, floral, and candy notes and a grassy agave blend with hints of sugary oak.
Don Julio launched its first bottle in 1942, thus the name. It is an expensive bottle, roughly $150 per 750ml. Regardless of the price, Don Julio is still a highly sought-after product from Diageo. We also encourage you to try other variants, like Don Julio Blanco and Don Julio Reposado.
4. La Gritona
La Gritona is made by a female tequilero, Melly Cárdenas. She claims, “It’s Tequila like our grandparents drank.” Unlike other tequilas, this reposado tequila does not have any additives or additional fancy flavors.
Cárdenas and her all-female staff ensure that they only use roasted agave when making tequila. Her methods are unconventional, but nobody can question her expertise since she started distilling tequila over 20 years ago. A 750ml of this tequila reposado is around $42.
5. Clase Azul Reposado
Clase Azul Reposado has one of the smoothest finishes. This brand is also in the ultra-premium category. It is one of the tequila brands that use American white oak barrels to influence the flavor of the fermented blue agave plant.
The American oak barrels infuse hazelnut and vanilla flavors as it rests inside for eight months. This bottle is not for everyone, though, as it is one of the highly-priced tequila brands. A 750ml bottle is around $175.
6. Siete Leguas
Siete Leguas is honest to goodness tequila. Casa 7 Leguas, the tequila brand manufacturer, does not use additives or cheap diffusers (1).
The fermented juice from the blue agave plants is aged in American oak barrels to gain character and enhance its color. It is one of the best tequila brands that blend perfectly with cocktails. A 750ml is priced roughly at $55.
7. Gran Centenario Plata
Gran Centenario Plata is an unaged tequila with a full-cooked blue agave fruit flavor. The agaves are clay oven-cooked before being placed in copper pot stills for double distillation. These Silver Tequilas are blended with oaks to produce the rich aroma of wood notes.
This high-quality clear tequila can taste the playful notes of tropical fruit, citrus flavors, and black pepper. You’d be surprised to find out that this delicious variant is only priced at around $30. This bottle is from the infamous Casa Cuervo.
8. Casa Dragones
Casa Dragones is owned by Master Tequilera Bertha González Nieves. She launched their first real tequila variant in 2009, the Blanco Tequila. Years after, they continued to produce tequila and became more popular with their Joven Tequila, a sipping tequila.
They age these bottles in French oak barrels and American oak to develop character. It is a mix of silver tequila and a 5-year extra añejo tequila. It is a fine wine to have during meals as well. A 750ml bottle of this Joven tequila is roughly $298, making it one of the priciest bottles on the market.
9. Herradura Ultra Añejo
Herradura Ultra Añejo is a unique production of Brown-Forman distillers. This bottle contains two añejo tequilas blended and rested for additional years. The first part of the mixture is aged 25 months. It is plucked from the barrel and mixed with a 49-month-old extra añejo.
This mixture remains in an oak barrel for another 45 days before bottling. The tequila-making process of Herradura Ultra Añejo is very lengthy, but it produces great tequila. A 750ml Herradura bottle is priced at around $59, which is very affordable considering its savory taste.
10. Grand Mayan
Grand Mayan is a product of La Cofradia distillery. The manufacturers use a steel autoclave oven to slow-cook agaves compared to other brands. The tequila production proceeds in a steel tower column distillation before aging the spirit for 4 to 5 years in American and French casks.
What is unique in this tequila añejo is the flavor. There is nothing in the taste that you can say is similar to other brands. The distinctive-flavored spirit is priced roughly at $133. It is somehow expensive compared to other tequilas, but the taste is worth its price.
11. Código 1530 Rosa Blanco
Código 1530 Rosa Blanco is a real tequila with three times more agave than any tequila brand. They do not add any additives or sweeteners to their tequila. Using more agaves on the tequila will provide natural sweetness and a fuller flavor.
The harshness you usually find in a Blanco is non-existent since they rested this Blanco for at least a month inside French white Oak Napa Cabernet barrels. It tasted like aged tequila regardless of being a Blanco. They priced this tequila at around $64, which is reasonable considering the quality.
12. El Jimador
El Jimador is among the best-selling tequilas in the whole of Mexico. It is a traditionally-flavored spirit preferred by most Mexicans. Even after two months of resting inside charred American oak casks, El Jimador Reposado kept the agave flavor. Similar to the silver tequila of the same brand, this is also double distilled.
It has vanilla notes, earth, spices, caramel, and sweet agave in this reposado. Mexicans also love its smooth finish with a distinct taste of bell pepper and agave. They sell this bottle at an affordable price of around $20 per 750ml.
13. Cazcanes No.9 Blanco
Cazcanes No.9 Blanco is from The Agave Social Club, a small-batch craft distillery. It is the best tequila for those who want a high-proof tequila. Cazcanes tequila is 100-proof, 50% ABV. To the nose, it smells natural agave with peppery notes. It has a sweet taste on the palate with vegetal notes and spiciness.
They use a higher percentage of agave in producing this variant to achieve a certain taste. It is the type of tequila that has no added flavoring in it. It is pricey for a Blanco at around $98, but it has great flavor.
14. Jimador Blanco
El Jimador Blanco tequila is as flavorful as the reposado. Mexicans consider this one of the best tequila brands, especially since it is named after the men who harvest agaves, the Jimadores. The cooked agave also goes to copper pot stills during distillation, but it is bottled straight without aging.
You can smell the harsh alcohol and taste it as it touches the palate. However, the earthy flavor of agave and spices blends well, which is most Mexicans’ tequila flavor of choice. This traditionally flavored Blanco is priced roughly at $20.
15. 1800 Cristalino Añejo
1800 Cristalino Añejo is a crystal clear añejo tequila. It can be mistaken for a silver tequila because of its color. However, its apparent viscosity is undeniable that it is an aged tequila. It is made by the Beckmann family – the same distillers who make Jose Cuervo.
It is smoother than a reposado tequila as it is aged for 16 months. It goes through a meticulous filtration process before being bottled inside a glass made by Mexican artists. A 750ml bottle of 1800 Cristalino Añejo is roughly $56 – not a very high price for a good-tasting tequila.
Is It Legal To Bring Mexican Tequilas On A Plane?
Yes, it is legal to bring Mexican tequilas on a plane, provided that this is unopened and kept inside checked baggage. There is also a limit of five liters for every person, whether bringing Blanco, Reposado, or Añejo.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, if tequila is below 24% ABV, passengers can bring more than five liters. However, that is subject to tax by the customs. (2)
How Much Tequila From Mexico Can You Bring Home?
You can bring home a liter of tequila from Mexico if you drive a car without any duty rate. However, beyond that amount is already subject to taxes. Also, if you are bringing tequila from Mexico and heading to California, you can bring home five cases or 60 liters of spirits. These should only be for personal consumption and not for sale. It is also subject to duty rates.
Why Mexican Tequilas Taste Better
Mexican tequilas taste better because this is their pride and tradition. They produce good tequila using the traditional methods. This method translates to a more flavorful and potent spirit.
These producers create tequilas to preserve their culture, thus the better taste. Most Mexican manufacturers produce tequilas in small batches as it minimizes the use of artificial sweeteners or sugar cane and other additives.
Are Tequilas In Mexico Stronger?
No, tequilas in Mexico are not stronger as the law only permits 35%-55% ABV. In the US, a bottle of tequila can start at 40% and go higher. Some tequila drinkers prefer a stronger spirit, especially if they prefer a reposado or an añejo variant because these are mostly smoother and do not have the hated burn. Some keep them in Scotch barrels for an added character, but the alcohol levels are kept within the suggested levels.
What is the smoothest Mexican tequila?
The smoothest Mexican tequila is the Ocho Añejo. The Camarena family makes these tequilas and has been crafting tequila since 1937. They are one of the few tequila-makers that still use the traditional slow-cooking method, the artisanal way.
What is the first-ever tequila in Mexico?
The first-ever tequila in Mexico is the pulque which dates back to1000BC. This is linked to how the Aztecs civilization fermented the agave sap and turned it into the spirit called pulque. The original location where this was practiced is now Northern Mexico.
What do Mexicans sip with tequila?
Mexicans sip tequila with Sangrita. This is other than the traditional salt and lime. Sangrita has citrus flavors and chile. It is a non-alcoholic chaser that they usually partner with their favorite tequila.
You can find the best tequila in Mexico indeed. All these brands included in the list are proven not just by Mexicans but by people who love to drink tequila worldwide. They manufacture spirits to preserve their culture and continue the traditions imparted by their ancestors.
For decades, Don Julio, Casa Noble, Cuervo, and the likes have provided high-quality spirits. These are already good tequila, but they also welcome innovations that improve the taste of their products without sacrificing their traditional flavors. It is the reason why people continue to drink tequila from Mexico.
Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds!