Stop it. Seriously, stop it. You know what I’m saying. Stop shooting tequila.

Tequila, and mezcal (its huskier older cousin) are the products of sweat, tears, blood, and donkeys (yes). And the flavors of tequila have gone so entirely overlooked, it’s a bit of a travesty. Considering how long it takes for the Blue Weber agave plant to grow, and considering how quickly we either shoot it back or mix it with some god awful fruit drink, it seems like a reckoning is (or should be) afoot.

Seriously (and I’m getting paid ZERO money from Big Tequila) there’s a gap between what we drink and what we appreciate—plenty of it interrupted by annoying marketing from bigger brands, but plenty to actually legit enjoy. Which is why it’s worth exploring these delicious, albeit a bit more expensive, tequilas.

Dive in, the water’s fine.

Patron Roca Reposado

Patron Roca

Sweeter on the nose, thinner and almost a bit Scotch-like (highlands) some florals, a bit of a touch of smoke and honey heat. Thinner on the body than the Don Julio, and yes the bottle says “artisanal”—as in made with the Tahona process.

Partida Reposado Tequila


A more vegetal nose, and a bit thicker than, say, the Patron. There’s a subtle smokiness, like charred pepper skin, and some super faint pineapple skin notes. A beginner sipper, and priced accordingly.

Riazul Premium Anejo Tequila


Aged for two years in former Cognac barrels. The richness of the brandy comes off most in the mouth, though there are definitely hints of some sweetness to come in the nose. Toffee, root beer, even fudge square off against the gentle heat of the spirit. An easy sipper.

Don Julio – BEST BUY

Don Julio

There’s something chewy, almost fudgy on the nose, but a bit salty like salted caramel. Or else I’ve gone completely insane. Still green pepper notes, and some subtle sweetness piggybacking on the heat. Rich for a blanco, and if you’re going to sip affordably, this is the way to go.

Casamigos Anejo Tequila


Again, Clooney hype. But he is dreamy. The agave hearts are roasted, not steamed (imagine a boiled bagel versus a wood-oven pizza crust), so you get some thin but complex notes, with some vanilla-caramel from the oak, sweet hot pepper, and a subtle hint of smoke.

Casa Noble Single Barrel Extra Anejo Tequila – BEST SPLURGE

Casa Noble

At the higher end, but for good reason—this stuff is aged for five years, which is a lot longer than most Anejo tequilas. It also used to be a lot rarer (and still is kind of rare, but a good find). More fudgy notes dripping into a peppery spine that’s lovingly seeped in smooth vanilla and caramel wood. Also, yeah, certified organic. So throw that at your non-certified-organic-tequila-drinking friends.

Excillia Tequila Anejo


Aged in Cognac and Sauternes casks, a tequila with more fruit than you might expect, expressive in a way that showcases tequilas burro backbone—not like vodka, you can’t plant any flavors here. More like an enriched agave elixir. Worth trying.