Whether you’ve only ever had a pre-mixed margarita from the club or you consider cocktail making an art form, this list of ten best tequila brands for making margaritas will keep your celebration going long after the sun has gone down.
There are three main types of tequila; blanco, reposado, and anejo, although you’ll find joven (in between blanco and reposado) and extra anejo tequila (matured longer) online as well.
There’s also Mezcal, a liquor akin to tequila but oven cooked with any type of agave including the wild stuff.
Blanco tequila is the type most often served in a basic margarita or cocktail mix. The unaged tequila tastes more of the agave plant and citrus than the aged tequila versions, plus it’s generally a much cheaper priced option.
Reposado and anejo tequilas are recommended for experienced mixologists looking for a specific taste – they are darker in color, aged in barrels, and gain a heavy but smoother flavor from the distillation process.
You’ll find they also come in very handy for relaxation and quiet sipping or a tequila shot if you’re feeling more reckless.
The following list combines the three tequila types to make a kick ass list of spirits to make your margarita experience a better one.
1. Casa Dragones Blanco
This small batch premium tequila is the ideal liquor to craft the perfect margarita. Made 100% from the blue agave plant, Dragones features unique distillation process resulting in a super smooth taste with hints of citrus, peppers, and cloves.
Priced from $72.99 per 750ml bottle it’s the most expensive tequila blanco on our list but essential for your top quality tequila margarita recipe. Mixed simply with fresh lime juice and triple sec, a Casa Dragones Blanco margarita will be unforgettable.
2. El Tesoro Anejo Tequila
You’ve got to love a family operation. The El Tesoro tequila brand is well known for adhering to traditional methods of distillation that began in 1937 with Don Felipe Camarena.
There’s no heavy machinery deployed, just the traditional tahona stone that mashes the cooked agave pina so the Camarena family can press it for distillation.
This rich, smooth, and tasty Anejo tequila is matured to perfection with flavors of chocolate and pepper.
Priced from $54.99 for a 750ml bottle El Tesoro tequila suits the experienced margarita maker and lover of fine cocktails, and there’s a premium quality extra anejo version for the aged tequila connoisseur.
3. Espolon Tequila Blanco
I’m not generally one to get fired up about labelling. But housing this inexpensive yet killer tasting Blanco tequila inside a bottle featuring the iconic Rooster Ramon being ridden by a skeleton, then I’m all the way in.
Espolon Blanco is a tequila honoring Mexico’s art and history, and the story of Espolon – the spur of a rooster – is great for cocktail conversation.
With the lead in 750ml bottle priced from just $25.99 and crafted in Jalisco from 100% Blue Weber Agave, buying a few Espolon Blanco bottles for serious mixology is a great way to keep the party pumping.
If you really want to show off, dropping a Benjamin Franklin for a bottle of the Espolon Tequila Anejo X is another great way to go.
Anejos are typically aged between one and six years. They are darker in color, more complex in flavor, and smoother than reposado tequilas.
Tasting of cocoa, chocolate and roasted fruit, aged six years and sold in a badass black bottle, the Anejo X is for a margarita from the top drawer.
4. Herradura Reposado Tequila
While many cocktail makers endorse the use of silver tequila only, a good reposado tequila like this Herradura can kick your margarita or tequila cocktail flavor up to a new taste level.
The first definitive level of aging is reposado, (rested). As required by Mexican law the tequila remains in wood for a period of 2-12 months, which results in a darker colored, stronger agave flavor.
The Herradura Reposado is a nice price point from $44.95 per 750ml bottle, and the brand also markets a nifty agave nectar (aka agave syrup) that you can add as a non-sugar sweetener to your cocktail mix.
5. Patron Silver Tequila
Patron Silver is a premium tequila that every tequila lover makes a beeline for when travelling through duty free on their way to party (I am one of them!).
Patron tequila is a no-nonsense top quality drop that you can mix into your classic margarita for warmth and the crispest taste of citrus, and when downed as a tequila shot it’s almost second to none.
Priced from $49.99 it’s an excellent price point for a premium tequila that your home bar can rely on when entertaining, but if the silver is not your thing you can stretch out and try the other varieties, ranging from the stand Reposado and Anejo bottles through to the ultra-premium Patron Tequila Platinum.
6. Don Julio 70 Cristalino Tequila
Don Julio 70 Cristalino Tequila is the first clear anejo tequila and a premium quality sip.
Made with 100% Blue Weber Agave, Cristalino is aged in American white-oak barrels for 18 months and charcoal filtered.
As a claro anejo Don Julio Cristalino matches the crisp clarity of a premium blanco with the maturation and flavor of anejo.
Priced from $66.83 Cristalino is one for use in your best margarita or simple mixed drink, and certainly a classy tequila to impress your guests.
7. Jose Cuervo Especial Gold
The Jose Cuervo Especial Gold is perfect for every situation with its subtle notes and easy taste of the agave plant. It’s a tequila made for easy drinking.
The most inexpensive tequila on this list (from $19.99 per 750ml) Jose Cuervo Especial Gold Tequila is no cheap tequila – it’s the most popular selling brand in the world for good reason.
Cuervo also comes through with a premium pre made margarita mix to take the trouble out of cocktail making. Add one of the host of flavors to your Cuervo gold tequila with some crushed ice and you’re good to go.
8. El Jimador Silver Tequila
Clean, crisp, and no frills El Jimador’s silver mixto tequila is double distilled and bottled without barrel aging to give it the crisp clean citrus flavor.
It’s a go-to tequila for any margarita set because of its ability to please cocktail novices and the more seasoned mixer fan, and at a starting price of $21.96 a bottle it’s not going to blow out your budget for fresh fruit and flavors.
Having a bottle of El Jimador handy can get you out of any margarita jam. Just add triple sec and some freshly squeezed lime and you’re good to go.
9. 1800 Silver Tequila
Another leading tequila brand, 1800 Silver Tequila works a treat in any arena. While there’s a range of Ultimate Margarita flavored tequilas available, I prefer the original in my mixed drink for its versatility and clean, crisp heat.
The agave tequila recipe dates back to the brand’s inception in 1800, and with a price point starting at $28.99 its light on your wallet.
Click here to check out the limited edition 1800 Tequila collaboration with artist Okuda San Miguel.
10. Casamigos Blanco
Casamigos Blanco is a great mid-price tequila, distilled over two months to get the rollicking rich flavor of sweet agave and vanilla, with a touch of balancing citrus.
This stuff is as smooth as George Clooney’s hair. Which is a good thing as he owns the brand.
The Blanco is plenty good enough to sip on its own yet works brilliantly in a classic, freshl mixed margarita.
Priced from: $47.99 for 750ml bottle there’s also a gift set tasting range (4 x 375ml bottles) featuring the other Casamigos varieties of Mezcal, Reposado, and Anejo as well, so you can mix and match the taste you want for the margarita you deserve.