With myriad guises that span vegetal blanco and oak-influenced extra añejo, drinkers encounter a broad range of identities in tequila — a chameleon spirit bound only by the use of Blue Weber agave as its foundational building block.
In the $50-and-under price range, almost all of these identities find notable and remarkable ambassadors. There are blanco tequilas that highlight the complex potential of agave distillates, reposados that introduce the deft hand of brief oak aging, and añejos that serve as a letter of recommendation for taking the spirit to a new level via carefully considered maturation.
In this roundup, VinePair explores the bottles that best demonstrate these principles and are more than deserving of a place on your bar cart or liquor shelf. Here are the 15 best tequilas under $50, tasted and ranked.
15. Casa Noble Blanco
This blanco tequila has intense aromas and an approachable palate. The nose captures the earthy side of tequila via scents of green olive and pineapple husk. The palate is headier and delivers a juxtaposition of richness and spice. Average price: $36. Rating: 91.
14. Corralejo Silver Tequila
A wonderful all-rounder, Corralejo Silver has an enjoyably rugged profile that brings personality to cocktails and also holds its own when sipped on the rocks with lime or a splash of soda. Its pronounced vegetal notes are sure to please agave purists. Average price: $30. Rating: 91.
13. Casco Viejo Tequila Blanco
A standout budget option, Casco Viejo Blanco brims with spicy agave character and delivers a balanced flavor profile. Sweet citrus and prickly pink peppercorn notes ensure cocktails won’t taste one dimensional, while the price of this bottle means you can make those by the pitcher. Average price: $23. Rating: 91.
12. Olmeca Altos Plata
Olmeca Altos Plata’s aromas include cooked agave piñas with a whisper of banana and baking spices. Its flavor profile is well rounded and balanced, with just the right amount of spice. This is another great option for batching drinks. Average price: $21. Rating: 92.
11. El Sativo Añejo
High-quality añejos are few and far between below $50, and this bottle is among the most enjoyable we’ve encountered. While slightly sweet-sipping, the soul of agave remains in this aged spirit, with vanilla and baking spice notes adding a layer of luxury to its green, earthy core. Average price: $47. Rating: 92.
10. Angelisco Tequila Reposado
This reposado ages for nine months in former Heaven Hill bourbon barrels, which contribute a subtle sweetness and a noticeable licorice aroma. The palate has enough energy and freshness for mixing bright, shaken cocktails, but we also love it on the rocks for a refreshing summer aperitif. Average price: $44. Rating: 92.
9. Severo Tequila Plata
Fragrant, attractive floral aromas combine with enticing tropical fruit notes on the nose of this blanco. Vibrant herb notes follow, including basil, cilantro, and mint, placing this tequila among the most expressive in the blanco field. Average price: $45. Rating: 93.
8. Siempre Tequila Plata
While smooth-sipping and approachable in nature, this blanco tequila nonetheless delivers botanical-like complexity. Its aromas flitter between herbaceous, peppery, and briny notes. The palate exudes concentrated character, with an interesting contrast between sweet fruit, caramel, and floral flavors. Average price: $40. Rating: 93.
7. Espanita Tequila Reposado
This is a standout reposado whose profile confidently veers off the beaten path. It begins with a bouquet of lavender and violet aromas, and continues with complex green tea and cinnamon notes. Each sip returns a generous helping of fresh tropical fruit, and recalls its time spent in oak with a kiss of vanilla on the finish. Average price: $32. Rating: 93.
6. DE-NADA Tequila Blanco
This blanco made a high-profile TV appearance when Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen rang in 2022, enjoying shots on the hour, every hour. Don’t let that cameo fool you into thinking this is not a serious tequila, however. Its profile epitomizes fresh agave, with wet grass aromas leading to olives and citrus on the palate. (All of which gets lost if you decide to shoot it.) Average price: $40. Rating: 93.
5. LALO Tequila Blanco
LALO’s attractive packaging and minimalist design belie its serious, authentic credentials, with the brand founded by the grandson of Don Julio González. This tequila is one of multiple on this list that prove spending $40 and up unlocks the highest potential of blanco. In this instance, the spirit’s profile is fruit, floral, and zesty, with tons of complexity. Average price: $46. Rating: 93.
4. La Gran Señora Tequila Blanco
A bright and attractive blanco tequila, La Gran Señora begins with expressive black pepper, lemon peel, and earthy agave aromas. The intensity of those scents is matched and exceeded by the concentration of flavors that follow, with an overall perfumed character to the palate’s profile. Buy this bottle for elevated blanco tequila cocktails. Average price: $48. Rating: 94.
3. Patrón Silver
Such is the reputation and hype that surrounds Patrón that it’s easy to hold it to a higher standard. But every tasting of this bottle delivers pleasant satisfaction and a reminder that it is deserving of reverence. The aromas are attractive and complex, capturing the true essence of agave. The palate builds on a rich agave syrup core with lively spice and a balanced dose of green, vegetal notes. Average price: $48. Rating: 95.
2. Tequila Ocho Plata
This tequila delivers an enticing representation of agave, expressed via vegetal and grassy aromas, and an undercurrent of vibrant flowers. There’s similar concentration on the palate, and an enjoyable black pepper spice that lingers well onto the balanced and persistent finish. This is complex and nuanced sipping tequila, but don’t shy away from using it in cocktails. Average price: $46. Rating: 96.
1. El Tesoro Blanco
To spend some time with this tequila is to learn the full potential and impossible allure that pure, unaged tequila can offer. It has a graceful, delicate character, but suffers no lack of depth or nuance. Pineapple husk and bell pepper aromas stand out on the nose, with a streak of enchanting sweetness. The palate springs to life with spiced and floral notes, transitions to underripe tropical fruit, and finishes with a spray of green olives. Average price: $46. Rating: 96.