In the Los Angeles Times Magazine to accompany my story Tequila is the New Vodka; Tequila is the New Scotch, I made a list of 13 tequila brands to recommend.
In some ways, this was the hardest part of the story. I wanted to recommend brands at a variety of prices and flavor profiles. I knew I'd have to leave some good ones out.
When I got down to my top eight and was debating about the rest, I asked a couple of tequila-obsessed bartenders for their opinions on a list of possibilities. They were great and surprised me with their picks - and agreed with each other to such a degree that I included them all. I was trying for twelve but ended up choosing 13.
These are not the 13 best tequilas; these are 13 recommendations.
Milagro: Triple-distilled and great for its price. $20–$40
El Tesoro: Longtime favorite of tequila aficionados. $50–$70
Espolón: On the boundary between mixable and sipable. $20–$30
Ocho: Single-plantation agave; each bottling is different. $50–$80
Partida: Peppery and well-structured. $40–$70
Don Julio: Zesty citrus ($35–$50) and, in aged bottlings, like Don Julio 1942, vanilla. $80–$150
Fortaleza: Rich and creamy—the potato vodka of tequila. $40–$80
Tres Agaves: Great tasting, smart pricing. $35–$45
7 Leguas: An absolute classic—earthy, understated. $30–$50
Riazul: A new brand, full-flavored and surprisingly sweet. $45–$70
Patrón: Gentle flavor profile that inspired hundreds of imitators. $40–$60
Corralejo: Made in the state of Guanajuato, a chewy, rich spirit. $30–$60
Pueblo Viejo: A bargain, good for mixing. $15–$35
What would you have chosen instead?