10 Best Tequilas, According to a Spirits Expert

Featured in Food Network, April 11th, 2023 by John deBary

Below you will find a excerpt, to read the full article click here.


From margaritas to anejo tequila, we rounded up the best for every occasion.



Of all the spirits categories out there, tequila is possibly my favorite. Unfortunately, many people associate tequila with unappetizing shooters and vicious hangovers, but those of us who have sworn off tequila after overdoing it in their early twenties are missing out of many opportunities for deliciousness.

What Is Tequila Made From?

First some tequila basics. Tequila is a spirit made from the agave plant that by law must be made in the Mexican state of Jalisco. Although there are other varieties that are used to make other agave spirits such as mezcal, tequila must be made from the Blue Weber variety. In general, there are three "types" of tequila: blanco, reposado, and anejo. Blanco tequila is un-aged; reposado tequila sees between three and twelve months in barrels, usually former bourbon-aging barrels; and anejo tequilas spend at least a year in barrel before bottling.

One of the reasons why I find tequila so fascinating is that, unlike, say bourbon or rum, where the raw material is of no particular concern to most producers, tequila is deeply affected by the conditions under which the agave plants are grown. You rarely see a bourbon producer who grows their own corn, but it is quite common for tequila producers to grow their own agave and for the impacts of their farming practices to be evident in the finished product.

So why do people think tequila sucks? Well, because they’re drinking bad tequila. To be sure you’re getting the good stuff, check for these items on the label:

“100% de Agave”

This ensures that the tequila you’re buying is, well, 100% tequila. Many tequila producers offer “mixtos” which are 51% agave and 49% industrial alcohol and they’re not worth your money.

“Hecho en Mexico” and “CRT”

This means the tequila is made in Mexico, and “CRT” indicates that the manufacturing process is approved by the Consejo Regulador del Tequila, the regulatory agency that oversees tequila production.

“NOM” Number

This is not a reference to early internet cat memes. “NOM” stands for Norma Oficial Mexicana and is followed by a four-digit number. This number is a unique identifier for the facility that makes a given tequila. Many tequilas are made in the same facility, while others only produce one. A simple web search of a NOM number can provide in depth information about where your bottle came from.



This luxury tequila brand was founded by Bertha Gonzáles Nieves, the first woman to achieve the Maestra Tequilera certification by the Mexican Academy of Tequila Tasters. Their blanco is the most accessibly priced of their four-expression line, which makes it an ideal all purpose — albeit high-end — bottle that works as well for mixing as it does for straight sipping. Bright fruity notes of grapefruit and green herbs supported by subtle spice and mild sweetness make this an exemplar of what blanco (ie. un-aged) tequilas should be.