In the last decade, the market for small-batch agave spirits in the United States has expanded significantly. Gone are the days of bartenders choosing from just a handful of tequilas to satisfy customers: now, bars have dozens of options made in many styles that are perfect for shaking into a Margarita, stirring into a spirit-forward sipper, or simply drinking straight or on the rocks. To stay up to date with the latest bottles hitting bars across the country, we asked bartenders to share the best new tequilas they’ve added to their lineups. Here’s what they said.
The best new tequilas, according to bartenders:
- Casco Viejo Blanco
- Código 1530 Rosa Blanco
- La Gritona Reposado Tequila
- Flecha Azul Tequila
- La Gritona Reposado Tequila
- Gran Patrón Burdeos
- Komos Anejo Cristalino
- Cascahuin Plata 43
- Cazcanes Blanco No.9
- Tequila Real del Valle Blanco
- Dobel 50 Tequila Silver Oak edition
- Fortaleza Tequila
- Casa Del Sol
- Cierto Tequila
- Tequila Ocho Reposado
“I’ve been using Tequila Ocho Reposado lately, which has been around since 2008 and is starting to get more attention. We find that the minimum aging of this reposado is ideal for cocktails, since it still has all the vegetal notes of a tequila while not overdoing it with the caramel and vanilla notes from the oak barrels.” —Sulaiman Popal, bar manager, Lapis, Washington, D.C.
“We started carrying Código 1530 Rosa Blanco just two months ago. Aged in Cabernet barrels, it offers a smooth finish and a really unique pink color. It is a blanco tequila, but it tastes like an añejo. I love it in our fresh-squeezed lime Margaritas.” —Pedro Davalos, head bartender, Tia Margarita, San Francisco
“I would say the La Gritona reposado tequila. It’s arguably the best bang for your buck out there.” —Alex Pisi, lead bartender, The Wells, Washington, D.C.
“While La Gritona Reposado Tequila hit the Kansas City market a couple years ago, it’s recently become my go-to tequila. Their distinct production practices ensure that drinkers are getting the most naturally occurring flavor profile from the local agave they steam-cook, ferment, and distill. It’s distilled twice, and then rested in barrels for eight months to ensure the flavors of the blanco tequila they barrel are rounded out. Their distillery is completely woman-owned and -operated, which is what initially drew me to their product, but I’ve come to love this tequila for so many more reasons. The biggest one is its versatility: It’s great in a variety of cocktail styles, but is also delightful to sip neat or with a couple rocks — no lime needed.” —Liz Ramirez, bar manager, Crossroads Hotel, Kansas City, Mo.
“There are a lot of tequilas on the market that claim to be additive-free but are far from it. Flecha Azul Tequila is my favorite new tequila to work with because it is actually additive-free, and the juice is great. It can be enjoyed on the rocks, mixes well in cocktails, and the price point is great for the quality of tequila.” —Carla Lorenzo, corporate beverage director, Toca Madera in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Scottsdale, Ariz.
“Gran Patrón Burdeos, a super-premium tequila from the house of Patrón. [It’s] finished in Bordeaux wine barrels, and it is one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.” —Nelson Gallo, mixologist & head of bars, Marbella Club, Malaga, Spain
“Komos Anejo Cristalino. Very smooth and approachable. The distillery uses the waste [made during] the tequila-making process to create bricks for local communities in Mexico to use for housing and infrastructure projects.” —Matthew Mayer, Food and Beverage Director, Grill on 21, Chicago
“Cascahuin Plata 43 has earned a spot on my bar because it’s a great lowland tequila. Every tequila lover needs to know and try this expression. It’s high-proof, great to sip, and all-around a beautiful execution of what a lowland tequila should be. This expression is a tribute to the founder, Salvador Rosales Briseño, who calls it ‘un tequila parejo’ which means ‘an even tequila.’” —Alejandro Vaca, bar lead, Sor Ynéz, Philadelphia
“A new tequila we’ve brought on that has become a favorite is Cazcanes Blanco No.9. This blanco is particularly grassy, with a touch of funk, and heavy pepper on the nose. Having all of these flavors while still being a high 100-proof makes it a favorite for bartenders. It stands up to flavors in a cocktail, while still having enough character to be enjoyed by itself.” —Alex Siegelin, Bar Lead, Juniper and Ivy, San Diego
“Nothing super new or super fancy here, but we have had Casco Viejo Blanco in our well since day one and it has just been incredible. [The brand uses] deeply sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, is family-owned on the same estate since the early 1800s, [and is] carbon neutral. We also really appreciate that it is a smaller label that you don’t see behind every bar and can’t find everywhere, yet holds up against anything else in that category. And the icing on the cake: It comes in liter bottles.” —Matthew Siegel, Little Saint, Healdsburg, Calif.
“Tequila Real del Valle Blanco. It’s produced in the valleys of Guanajuato, which gives it soft citrus notes and a hint of pepper on the palate. This tequila is very approachable, and I find myself sipping on some during my free time. Even though it has a soft palate, its 40 percent ABV has enough bite to work well in cocktails. We use it as our first pour at our restaurants, and our guests are usually surprised by how delicious it is.” —Andrew “Coco” Cordero, beverage director, Campfire and Jeune et Jolie, Carlsbad, Calif.
“While the trend has focused on Cristalino tequilas for years, [a more] recent focus I’ve noted is rosa tequilas. These are tequilas rested and further aged in former red wine oak casks, [which adds] complexity and allows for a further depth in color. Some former blancos can even appear pink, which is perfectly fitting to land a spot on our menu at La Valencia. One of my favorites has to be The Dobel 50 Tequila Silver Oak edition, hands down.” —Rachel Young, director of food and beverage, La Valencia Hotel, La Jolla, Calif.
“The best tequila at our bar is Fortaleza! It easily outshines its exaggerated competition by not adding coloring or additives to their products — especially their reposado and añejo versions.” —Dylan Cocco, beverage director, Wood, Chicago
“Casa Del Sol, an all-female-run distillery born in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. Co-founders Eva Langoria, Mariana Padilla, and Alejandra Pelayo produce this beautiful tequila, which has wonderful notes of fruit and spice. It’s the perfect spirit for Margaritas, Palomas, or Oaxaca Old Fashioneds.” —Alex Lightly, bartender, Ruse, St. Michaels, Md.
“The best new tequila that’s earned a spot on our bar is Cierto. We are one of the first to carry these beautiful products exclusively in D.C., and I am so excited to be able to share them with the community. What makes Cierto Tequila so special is the process: It’s made with pure water filtered through ancient volcanic springs, distilled twice in copper pots and column stills, and aged in French Limousin oak casks that held Cognac and Armagnac. The results are outstanding, and each expression is so unique. I love the luxurious mouthfeel of the blanco, the cinnamon-spice honey quality of the reposado, and the rich, cocoa, and caramel notes of the añejo. The extra añejo is like an absolutely delightful crème brûlée.” —Sara Chaudhuri, lead bartender, BRESCA, Washington, D.C.