For too many people, drinking tequila defaults to one of two things: shots, cut with lime and salt; or Margaritas, shaken, frozen, or served up. But there’s been a recent increase in high-quality, interesting agave spirits entering the U.S. market — products that are delicious in a Margarita, sure, but can also stand on their own or in other drinks. To get some ideas about how to expand our agave cocktail repertoire, we asked beverage pros what they believe to be the most underrated tequila drink. Here’s what they said.

The most underrated tequila cocktails, according to beverage pros:

  • Vicious Virgin #2
  • The Rosita
  • The Matador
  • Oaxacan Old Fashioned
  • Tequila Maid
  • Tequila Sour Martini
  • The Diablo
  • Tequila Smash
  • Paloma
  • The Cantarito

“There’s this old tiki drink that I love called a Vicious Virgin #2 that has tequila, light rum, orgeat (toasted almond syrup), grapefruit and lime juices, and blue Curaçao. It’s pretty much a blue Mai Tai so people think it’s just a fun, flashy drink, but the brightness from the juices, nuttiness of the orgeat, and the endless amount of blends of different rums and tequilas make it a surprisingly cool drink that can have a ton of depth. It could probably use a new name though.” —Dan Suro, bar manager and co-owner, Tequilas Restaurant, Philadelphia

“If the Negroni had a tequila-based relative, it would be the Rosita. I don’t know why more people don’t order this. While rebellious by nature, it’s a perfect balance of bitter and sweet.” —Michael Glassberg, lead bartender, The Press Room, New Orleans

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“The most underrated tequila cocktail is the one you or your bartender is stirring. In an era of mostly shaken or blended tequila cocktails like the Margarita, there are plenty of stirred cocktail variations one can make with a nice blanco or more preferably reposado/añejo. The right tequila makes for a great Old Fashioned, Manhattan, or even Negroni. The flavors are very different from whiskey, of course, but can be equally appreciated.” —Christopher Devern, lead bartender, Red Owl Tavern, Philadelphia

“A very simple but forgotten tequila cocktail is the Matador, made with tequila, orange Curaçao, and vermouth (usually French). With so many variations in the ‘70s, this cocktail doesn’t get enough light in our modern-day bars.” —Hernán Trujillo, head bartender, J.Bespoke, New York

The Oaxaca Old Fashioned is one of the most underrated tequila drinks, according to bartenders.

Oaxacan Old Fashioned. A beautiful, smoky riff on the most popular cocktail in the world, this one doesn’t get talked about enough. Swapping bourbon for good-quality blends of reposado tequila and mezcal adds a level of character you don’t get from bourbon. Pair that with agave and mole bitters, and you might have a cocktail that’s better than the original.” —Pri Rambhia, co-founder and bar manager, Libertee Grounds, Philadelphia

“Tequila Maid or a Pepino. These sour drinks are essentially cousins coming out of the NYC cocktail scene incubator circa 2005–2010, with the Tequila Maid Or Maid in Mexico being the precursor to the Pepino. The difference lies in technique and the edition of the egg white in the latter. Refreshing, vegetal, sour with a saline touch, perfectly balanced… Yes, please!” —Eric Books, beverage manager, The Newbury Boston, Boston

“The most underrated tequila cocktail has to be a Tequila Sour Martini. A good reposado pairs nicely with fresh lemon juice and gives you a totally different flavor than, say, a classic Margarita. It really highlights the tequila and makes it an easy palatable drink for everyone to enjoy.” —Paige Blanchard, bartender, Eight & Sand, Memphis, Tenn.

El Diablo is one of the most underrated tequila drinks, according to bartenders.

“I think the most underrated tequila cocktail is The Diablo — really deep flavor with that ginger kick! The Diablo is also a great way to turn those Moscow Mule drinkers onto tequila.” —Kimberly Patton Bragg, beverage director, Palm&Pine, New Orleans

“In my opinion, the Tequila Smash is intensely underrated. With a build that would usually call for mint, this cocktail is fantastic with many herbs, my favorite being Thai basil.” —Marc Rodriguez, bar manager, Atomix, New York

The Paloma is one of the most underrated tequila drinks, according to bartenders.

“I absolutely love a Paloma in every setting. It’s amazing in its most basic beachside form (tequila or mezcal with glass-bottle Squirt soda and a salted rim), or its meticulous presentation with fresh grapefruit and lime juice, a controlled and lessened sweetness, and a large block of ice. It’s also endlessly riffable. I love it with a dash of Campari, Ramazzotti, or Croatian Pelinkovac.” —Kyle Davidson, head bartender, Rose Mary, Chicago

The Cantarito is one of the most underrated tequila drinks, according to bartenders.

“Definitely the Cantarito! It’s super simple to make at home or at any bar, and it’s incredibly refreshing! Originally from Jalisco, it’s considered the forefather to the Paloma.” —Tito Pin Perez, creative director, Rayo Cocktail Bar, Mexico City