Tequila is having a moment. The signature agave spirit of Jalisco is more popular than ever these days. It’s buoyed by the U.S.’s aggressive margarita consumption and a slate of celebrity brands hitting the market seemingly every other week. We’re not saying celebrities aren’t always experts on what they peddle, but the fact of the matter is most of the great tequila on the market right now doesn’t have some white dude in his 50s as its owner talking about how he fell in love with tequila over a great weekend a few years ago. There are some incredible tequilas on the market right now, and you certainly don’t have to be a Bulls or Tesla fan to go nuts for them. If you’re wondering where to start, here are some of the best tequilas of 2021. We’ll keep updating this list as the year goes on, so make sure to check back in.
The Best Tequilas of 2021 So Far
1. El Tesoro Single Barrel Reposado
El Tesoro master distiller Carlos Camarena holds many titles and distinctions. He’s a fifth generation tequila maker, a third generation master distiller, and also the CEO of El Tesoro. His liquid is incredible, and perhaps none is so great as the Single Barrel Reposado. Camarena picks a few select barrels of reposado tequila that shine above their peers for this line, meaning they’re both unique and exceptional. El Tesoro’s tequila, which boasts minerality and green nuances on its own, ages in ex-bourbon casks for nine to 11 months before it heads to your hands. It’s perfectly balanced, and should be consumed neat—and with respect.
2. Flecha Azul Tequila
In a world increasingly populated by white celebrity brand owners, Flecha Azul stands apart. Founded by PGA golfer Abraham Ancer and Aron Marquez, Flecha Azul Tequila is produced, owned, and operated by a multi-generational family. They’ve been making tequila since 1840—starting with their version of blanco, which is crisp, refreshing, and bright, leaning on agave’s sweetness. Cocktails are certainly welcome.
3. Tanteo Blanco
Produced in the only distillery owned and operated by a co-op of agave farmers, Tanteo can trace the pedigree of its quality all the way back to the soil. We suggest trying the unaged blanco first. This silver tequila is bright and spicy, showing both minerality and hints of peppercorn, but sweetness balances the experience nicely.
4. Casa Noble Añejo
New packaging may make this tequila unrecognizable on the shelves, but you should make yourself aware, because Casa Noble is one of the most delicious brands out there. We’re particular fans of the Añejo. Founder and master distiller Pepe Hermosillo’s blended batch of tequilas are aged in French oak for a finish that’s spicy and toasty. You’ll pick up dried fruit and butterscotch, but the waft of cooked agave still has a seat at the table.
5. El Tequileño Blanco
Other tequila producers might advise you to shy away from mixto tequilas. They’re probably just jealous of the brands that can make something really great. Case in point: El Tequileño Blanco. Made with 70 percent agave and 30 percent sugar, the hybrid product is a delicious cocktail ingredient. It has been since it was first created in 1959 by Don Jorge Salles Cuervo (yes, that Cuervo). The sweet, cooked agave flavor is a staple for cocktails, especially the “La Batanga.”
6. Mijenta Reposado
This relatively new brand is deceptively backed by wisdom, specifically the decades of tequila-making wisdom of cofounder and maestra tequilera Ana Maria Romero. Romero’s Mijenta debuted in 2020 with Blanco. But it flourishes with Reposado, a six-month-aged tequila rested in American and French oak barrels, as well as some more exotic French acacia casks. The resulting liquid is rounded and full-bodied without disrespecting the elegant, mineral and fruit forward flavors of the tequila itself.
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