Whether enjoyed in a Margarita, a modern classic like the Oaxaca Old Fashioned, or simply sipped neat, it’s no secret that Americans covet tequila. Prized for its earthy undertones of blue agave, tequila’s enduring appeal lies in its wide range of prices and complex flavor profiles.
To help navigate an ever-expanding market, VinePair asked drink experts for the tequila brands they trust to consistently deliver. From well-known labels to smaller, family-owned brands, keep reading for a list that offers budget-friendly bottles alongside some worthy splurges.
The Best Tequilas Recommended by Bartenders
- Siembra Valles Blanco
- Tapatio Blanco
- Codigo 1530
- La Gritona Reposado
- Gran Centenario
- Tequila Ocho
- Espolòn Reposado
- Siete Leguas
- Arette Suave
- Casa Dragones
- Cimarron Blanco
- Tequila ArteNOM
Keep reading for details about all the recommended bottles!
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“My go-to tequila of choice is Fortaleza. It is a lovely handmade silver tequila that you can sip on the rocks by itself, or make it extra in a refreshing Paloma. The flavor is liked by many, and although it’s on the pricier side, it never disappoints.” —Hanna Stickler, Bartender/Events Manager, ll Posto, Denver
“Codigo 1530 is a brand that we carry at Fable Lounge, and it’s one of my personal favorites. The Reposado and Añejo expressions are aged in French white oak barrels that previously held red wine in Napa. You can taste the care that goes into these tequilas, as they were previously only enjoyed by master distillers and tequila aficionados in Jalisco, Mexico. Now, they’re sharing this prized tequila with the world. Expect vanilla, oak, cinnamon, and orange flower blossom on the palate.” —Ellen Talbot, Lead Bartender, Fable Lounge, Nashville
“Our go-to tequila at Main Street Tavern is the La Gritona Reposado. As a female-led brand with recycled glass bottles it’s a firm favorite and is used in our signature cocktails for a little depth and spice!” —Kit Still, General Manager, Main Street Tavern, Amagansett, N.Y.
“For everyday drinking, I like Gran Centenario. I started drinking it when I lived in Mexico, and it’s a great value tequila. The plata is super smooth. I’m also a sucker for good graphic design, so I like their Art Deco bottle. For splurging, I like Tequila Ocho. They do single-estate and vintage tequila (similar to wine). They have ranchos all over Jalisco, and each of them contribute a unique sense of terroir to the tequila.” —Emmanuelle Massicot, Assistant General Manager, Kata Robata, Houston
“I am partial to Espolòn Reposado. The juice is good on its own for sipping straight and equally great in a Margarita or Paloma. The bottle art always tells a great story as well. The whole line of tequilas is top-notch, and still at a price point I can afford for everyday drinking. As soon as I can get back to Mexico, I’ll stock up on the hard-to-find tequilas I love!” —Kristel Poole, General Manager, Corpse Reviver Cocktail Bar, Durham, N.C.
“I’ll always order Espolòn Reposado. It’s in that nice middle price range and very easy to drink neat or on the rocks.” —Nick Rini, Founder, Roundhead Cocktails, NYC
“Tequila really depends on my mood. A great, easy-to-find option is Siete Leguas; quality juice and reasonable price. For something more eclectic, the Arette Suave line is a real treat. I really enjoy the Blanco; it spends some time in open-air cement tanks and gets a really cool mineral flavor from it.” —Justin Koch, Bartender/Manager, Curio inside Denver Central Market, Denver
“Casa Dragones is a relatively small production and has a really vibrant, rich, and complex flavor. It is great for sipping and perfect in a Margarita.” —Nick Merrifield, Head Bartender, Portale, NYC
“Whichever is currently in front of me. But for everyday value, I reach for Cimarron Blanco; it’s great straight and won’t get lost in a cocktail. I am, however, currently obsessed with Tequila ArteNOM. The idea is incredible; every bottle is unique and different. I’ve got way too many of them at home.” —Noah Bush, Mixologist and Co-owner, Hodge’s Bend, Tulsa, Okla.