The primary reason to pick up any bottle of tequila is taste. This can be easy to forget at times, since the category is ripe with over-hyped expressions and expensive packaging festooned with colorful artwork or sculpted into funky shapes. It may be tempting to plunk down gobs of cash for these offerings, especially since they may turn heads when displayed on a home bar, but they will likely transform into dust magnets if they hold lousy juice.

Fortunately, the ongoing tequila boom has produced delicious, high-quality expressions that won’t leave you busted. The category is abundant with excellent labels checking in at $50 or less, making the barrier to entry low if you’re finally ready to take a deep dive. To scope out the best of the bunch, we asked 13 bartenders their choices for the affordable tequilas they always reach for.

The best tequilas for under $50, according to bartenders

  • Tequila Los Dos Blanco
  • Tequila Ocho Plata
  • Cascahuin Blanco
  • Arette Blanco
  • La Gritona
  • Cayéya Blanco
  • Tanteo Higher Proof Blanco
  • Loma Azul Blanco
  • Tequila Tapatio Blanco
  • Don Julio Blanco

Tequila Los Dos Blanco is one of the best tequilas under $50, according to bartenders.

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Tequila Los Dos Blanco, which is crafted by the Vivanco family at NOM 1414 in Arandas. It’s serious about being additive-free. Up to 1 percent of the volume of a tequila labeled ‘100 percent agave’ can be additives [like] glycerin, caramel coloring, oak extract, and jarabe (sugar-based syrup) …. [and] up  to 2.5 percent of the flavor could be additives. Los Dos is at zero percent, so it’s not only a delicious tequila, but one that takes a stand.” —Rob Krueger, beverage director, Smith & Mills/Tiny’s, NYC

Tequila Ocho Plata is one of the best tequilas under $50, according to bartenders.

“If we’re talking about the best tequilas under $50, we’re talking about Tequila Ocho Plata. Distillation at this level of expertise results in a product that almost seems like alchemy even though it truly is art. The agave selected from single estates after being nurtured by the Camarena family and the community at Los Alambiques are treated with respect from planting to harvest. This process masterfully highlights the origin and history of the world’s finest spirit. The evidence is in the aroma, full flavor, and unparalleled finish. I enjoy it mixed only with air as it pours out of the bottle into my glass.” —Solomon Thomas, bartender, R&D, Philadelphia

Casachuín Blanco is one of the best tequilas under $50, according to bartenders.

“I have several favorites, but if you were to ask me which one I’d choose, it would be Cascahuín blanco. Like all their expressions, it’s produced in an ancestral way with high-quality ingredients. This doesn’t necessarily make it expensive, but it does make it exotic and extravagant with unique aromas and flavors.” —Riesler Morales, head of mixology, Casa Chi, Chicago

Arette Blanco is one of the best tequilas under $50, according to bartenders.

“The best tequila for under $50 is Arette. It’s the best bang for your buck. It’s our house tequila at Leyenda and Whoopsie Daisy, and we go through quite a bit at our bottle shop Fiasco!—Ivy Mix, co-owner, Leyenda and Whoopsie Daisy, Brooklyn

La Gritona is one of the best tequilas under $50, according to bartenders.

“I like La Gritona best because it works well in cocktails and is good for sipping. The flavor is pretty vegetal and peppery with some notes of caramel, so it’s really balanced. It’s also the only tequila distillery in Mexico that’s completely staffed by women, which is awesome!” —Fionna Gemzon, bar manager, None of the Above, St. Louis

Cayéya Blanco Tequila is one of the best tequilas under $50, according to bartenders.

Cayéya Blanco Tequila. It’s earthy and herbaceous with a slight sweetness, true agave flavor, and a peppery finish. That finish is so important for me when it comes to blanco tequila. It is what makes me want to return for sip after sip. All the [brand’s] packaging is sustainably made from recycled materials, and the bottle itself is crafted from recycled Mexican Coke bottles.” —Mike di Tota, corporate bar manager, The Smith, Chicago

“Tequila Ocho Plata is my go-to for high-quality tequila that won’t break the bank. Its bright agave notes are rounded out by a fresh cracked black pepper finish. An easy cocktail to make with this is a salty cucumber fizz, perfect for a hot day! Unlike 90 percent of tequila on the market, Ocho is exclusively made estate-grown agave showcasing the distinct terroir of its origin, from the earthy lowlands to the vibrant highlands. Tequila Ocho also sets themselves apart with their commitment to sustainability and ethical practices.” —Judi Elahi, beverage director, Ethos Hospitality Group, Cleveland

Tanteo Higher Proof Blanco Tequila is one of the best tequilas under $50, according to bartenders.

“The best tequila for under $50 is Tanteo Higher Proof Blanco Tequila. It’s a higher-proof, 100 percent Blue Weber agave blanco tequila from a community cooperative. It goes well with light citrus flavors that allow the floral agave to come through. I like to mix it with grapefruit, lemon, or even club soda. ” —Lynette Marrero, co-founder, Speed Rack

Loma Azul Blanco is one of the best tequilas under $50, according to bartenders.

“I’m a huge fan of great deals when it comes to tequila, but it’s not just about finding a ‘cheap’ Tequila. It’s more about finding hidden gems that haven’t gone too mainstream yet. I look for the quality and taste of great agave spirits, traditional methods, and families who care about what they produce. This leads me to Loma Azul Blanco, which starts at $35.99. This tequila gives off strong pineapple and tropical notes on the nose [and on the palate] while maintaining a good agave taste.” —Gary Schneck, property mixologist, The Mirage, Las Vegas

“Cascahuin Blanco. It has a delightfully creamy mouthfeel and the perfect light balance of wood and vanilla, bolstered with a savory backbone of green pepper and earthiness. Cascahuin plays well with others and lends a nice complexity to classic tequila cocktails, but also stands very well on its own neat or poured over a large piece of ice with a slice of orange.” —Ian Adamczyk, beverage director, Proxi, Chicago

Tequila Tapatio Blanco is one of the best tequilas under $50, according to bartenders.

Tequila Tapatio Blanco is one of the best tequilas available under $50. They’re a member of the Additive Free Tequila Alliance, a coalition that’s dedicated to promoting transparency and advocating for tequilas made without additives. The Blanco is earthy and has a mineral taste with notes of fresh citrus and pepper, making it a versatile choice. It’s one of my go-to tequilas to enjoy neat, as well as when I’m behind the bar making classic Margaritas, Palomas, and for the more adventurous, a Siesta.” —Haley Merritt, head bartender, Midnight Rambler, Dallas

“Tequila Ocho Plata is absolutely one of my personal favorites. Every time I sip Ocho, I feel a true statement of the time and place of the plant. Their focus on terroir through their farming and distilling practices is top-notch. The provenance of the Camarena & Estes family speaks for itself, but their unwavering commitment to clean farming, traditional process, and a focus on vintage and cru is what really puts it over the line. Plus, the juice is just downright delicious. For just under $50, it’s an absolute steal.” —Michael Fricker, owner, New Society, St. Louis

Don Julio Blanco is one of the best tequilas under $50, according to bartenders.

“I wanted very badly to choose a more esoteric response, but I couldn’t help myself from choosing Don Julio Blanco. To me, Don Julio is still the standard bearer for tequila. The Blanco comes in just under the $50 mark, and it never disappoints.” —Vince Vecchio, beverage director, Rosebud Restaurants, Chicago

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