According to the Distilled Spirits Council, Americans purchased 17.2 million 9-liter cases of tequila in 2017, and exports from Mexico to the U.S. increased nearly 200 percent in the last 10 years. Ultra-high-end brands like Patrón and Casa Noble are leading this growth — some offering bottles priced in the thousands — but there are plenty of affordable alternatives that rival even the most luxury brands.
VinePair tasted more than 60 tequila brands to sort out the good, the great, the great-for-the-price, and beyond. Whether your budget is $25, $50, $100, or more, here are 30 of the best tequilas for every budget.
A solid option, Jose Cuervo’s Tradicional Plata (silver) has an herbal nose with notes of sage and pine. Its flavors are earthy and sweet, with a savory, peppery finish. This light and easy tequila shows great potential as an affordable mixer. Average price: $19.
Rarely will you find a reposado under $25, especially one this delicious. It pours a pale wheat color with sweet aromas of cooked agave, vanilla, brown sugar, honey, and shortbread. It’s medium-bodied and silky on the palate, with a richness that smooths out the tequila’s heat, gently leading to a spicy finish. Its impressive packaging — an etched glass bottle with a wooden cap – doesn’t hurt, either. Average price: $19.
Created by Palm Bay in partnership with Casa Don Roberto, this bottle has unusual aromas of fresh water and wet rock, a silky body, and a tingly spiciness on the palate. There is also a touch of sweetness hinting at tropical fruit. Average price: $21.
This blanco gets its straw-colored hue from resting briefly in wine barrels, which also imparts fruity, funky notes on the nose — akin to sweet ricotta cheese in a canoli — followed by strawberry jam flavors on the palate. It’s smooth and creamy, finishing with tropical notes of pineapple and coconut. Average price: $22.
Light and herbal on the nose, with notes of basil and mint, this tequila has caramel sweetness on the palate. Round, sweet, and smooth, this is a great blanco for mixing or sipping, with a warm, spicy finish. Average price: $23.
Fresh, floral flavors and a soft mouthfeel make this silver tequila easy to love. Its sweet agave notes are balanced by a spicy finish that burns the upper palate and lips with peppery heat. We could especially see this working in brunch cocktails like a Bloody Maria or Spicy Watermelon Margarita. Average price: $23.
Another good reposado that’s great for the price, Espolòn Tequila Reposado pours pale gold, with agave and caramel aromas. Notes of vanilla and salted cookie provide pleasant sweetness and are balanced by a peppery finish. Average price: $23.
Sweet agave aromas, creamy mouthfeel, and a peppery kick on the finish make this smooth-drinking silver tequila delicious enough to drink neat. Average price: $26.
Pouring pale gold and leaving streaky legs in the glass, this affordable reposado smells like brown sugar, salted caramel, and orange peel. It’s both warm and creamy, yet light on the palate, with a hint of white pepper on the finish. A good, simple sipper. Average price: $26
This single-estate tequila from Casa San Matias has aromas of agave and raw eggplant. Its light body is fresh and zippy with hints of lemony citrus, followed by a minty finish. Average price: $27.
Citrus, vegetal, and earthy aromas comprise the nose of this tequila, which is aged four months in French, American, and white oak casks. Its texture is creamier than others in its category, and its whiskey-like flavors include vanilla, oak, and a hint of smoke. Light and fresh despite its complexity, this tequila would be delicious served neat with an orange peel, and great in a summery cocktail. Average price: $28.
This single-estate tequila was one of the best and least expensive añejos we tasted. Bright gold, with warm aromas of cooked agave, sugar cookie, and caramel, it’s easy on the palate, then sneaks in for a spicy finish on the sides of the tongue and cheeks. Sip this by a campfire or on the beach. Average price: $36.
Casa Noble Crystal is a triple-distilled blanco that pours a light-straw color. Agave, honey, eggplant, and citrus notes meld on the nose, and its palate is light-bodied and smooth. A zippy, peppery finish is not too hot, but brings nice pizazz. Average price: $37.
The silver tequila from this “Entourage”-famous brand has notes of agave, vanilla, and caramel on the nose, followed by a sweet, creamy texture. The flavor is deep and warm, with lovely baking spice notes. We find this one to be equally pleasurable as a winter sipper or summer Paloma mixer. Average price: $40.
Aged for more than a year in French oak barrels, this añejo imparts smooth notes of vanilla and caramel from the barrel. It has some sweetness but is not cloying. Average price: $41.
This estate-distilled tequila has vegetal aromas with fresh cucumber and raw agave, followed by vanilla, buttery dessert, and nutty notes. A gingery-hot finish ties it up nicely. Average price: $44.
This bottle has lovely, delicate floral aromas, tropical fruit flavors, and round, creamy body with no burn. It finishes fruity and nuanced — with a nice kick. Average price: $44.
Clear and golden with a honey aroma, this is a sweet, smooth, and creamy spirit. Vanilla, caramel, and molasses notes lend a sensual quality that reminded our tasters of barrel-aged rum, and the hint of citrus peel had us craving a reposado Old Fashioned. It all zips up with a peppery finish that tickles the cheeks and lips. Average price: $46.
A little hot at the start, Codigo 1530 Blanco has an herbaceous aroma and flavor, followed by a minty-fresh finish. Average price: $49.
With an aroma first reminiscent of vanilla milk, followed by lavender and lemongrass, Avion Añejo has a bright, lifting quality. Whereas other añejos lean hot or peppery, this one offers rich flavors of vanilla and oak, with a lip-smacking finish. Average price: $50.
Love Patrón? Ditch the Silver for the Reposado. For just a few extra dollars, you add notes of vanilla and oak, a body that’s lighter and silkier than most, and lush, fruity flavors with hints of white pepper. Average price: $52.
If there were a crushable añejo, this would be it. For other labels in the Casamigos portfolio, a lot of what you’re paying for is a name (specifically, George Clooney). The añejo is worth the intermediate price tag. Bright gold in the glass, this tequila has aromas of ginger, orange, and tropical fruit. It has a full, creamy texture, not too much heat or spice. Average price: $53.
A blanco-añejo hybrid, this spirit is aged 18 months in American white oak casks, then charcoal-filtered to remove its color. It pours crystal clear, but has oaky aromas of butter cookie and warm sugar. Lightly spicy on the palate, with notes of dried apricot and vanilla, this bottle is perfect for fancy poolside sipping. Average price: $58.
Pasote Añejo is light in color and body, with an easy-drinking quality. Vanilla cupcake aromas lead to sweet but not saccharine flavors, followed by a tingling, hot-sauce-like heat and a lingering, oaky finish. Average price: $58.
Agave, maple syrup, and oak aromas give way to bright orange and tangerine notes. Fruity flavors are balanced by a tingly heat on the finish of this oily-gold añejo tequila. Average price: $72.
This is a whiskey lover’s tequila. It’s aged at least 22 months in barrels that once held Buffalo Trace whiskey, and it has notes of vanilla, oak, and bread, followed by a creamy finish. Its yellow-green hue reminded some of our tasters of Sauvignon Blanc, and it is similarly silky and acidic. Average price: $89.
This reposado rested for 11 months in bourbon casks, followed by an additional two months in port casks. It pours dark gold with aromas of caramel, maple syrup, and cream sherry. A savory note leads to a smoky finish, creating complex richness. Average price: $92.
SPLURGE (OVER $100)
This bottle blends 100 percent blue agave silver tequila with tequila aged five years in charred American oak barrels. It is smooth and sippable, and a perfect nightcap. Average price: $286.
In a bottle that looks like it might hold a genie, this sparkling gold release has unusual and alluring notes of resinous pine and herbs. A smooth mouthfeel and oak and caramel flavors round out the finish. Average price: $366.
This luxury tequila aged in Bordeaux wine barrels feels almost cruel to include: It’s among the most delicious things we’ve ever tasted, yet it retails at a hefty cost, upwards of $450. Still, if you’ve got the budget, this is an excellent option. It pours a deep amber color, with warm aromas of vanilla, oak, and stone fruit, like raisins and plums. Average price: $461.