5 Tequilas for Cinco de Mayo

St. Patrick’s Day calls for Irish whiskey. The Kentucky Derby brings out a stampede of mint juleps and bourbons. And Cinco de Mayo is the perfect occasion to indulge in excellent tequilas.

But first, a quick primer: Joven (or young tequila) is best used in mixed drinks (like that margarita you’re thinking about right now)—not for sipping. Blanco (white, or in this case, silver) is unaged tequila that typically has a strong agave flavor. Reposado (meaning rested) is aged in oak barrels for a couple months to a year. These tequilas are mellow, complex, and will never cause you to make that “tequila face.

 The five tequilas below are far from the ones typically associated with a lime and salt—they’re far more sophisticated.

Speaking of which, if you want to be the smartest one at your Cinco de Mayo party, remember what it’s actually about: The holiday commemorates Mexico’s victory over France in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

Casa Dragones Joven ($274) In 2008 Casa Dragones founders Bob Pittman (of MTV fame) and Bertha Gonzalés Nieves sought to create a tequila with no “wince factor.” The next year, they released their first masterpiece: Casa Dragones’ small-batch blue agave joven tequila, which was produced by blending 100 percent blue agave silver and extra-aged tequilas—to remarkable results. Casa Cragones concocted a joven that’s actually made for sipping, with a smooth and clean finish to boot. And much like a single malt, it’s best consumed neat—or with a splash of water, but only if you must. Its handcrafted crystal decanter is also something I love: Each bottle is hand-engraved using a traditional Mexican technique called pepita, creating small

seed-like notches on the crystal. And if you’re not quite ready for a sipping tequila, Casa Dragones recently released a blanco, which you can enjoy on the rocks or in cocktails. Read more here.