If you’ve overcome your trepidations about tequila and are ready to start sipping it outside of cocktails, there are plenty of great bottles to get you started. We love these expressions best when they are served over a big ice cube in an old fashioned glass. Here, the five best tequilas to drink on the rocks.
Even though a seasoned bartender would find this angular bottle difficult to pour, we’re super into the way the cubic design looks perched on our bar cart. Ayate’s agave fields are located in Jalisco at an elevation of 7,000 feet, which means cool nights, warm days and iron-rich soil to nourish the plants. The hand-selected agaves range in age from six to eight years, are steamed slowly, and distilled in copper pot stills. The liquid is then aged in new American oak barrels for two months, French oak barrels for four months and finished in Chardonnay barrels for six months. The resulting liquid brings caramel and butterscotch notes to the nose with a silky body and flavors of dark chocolate and an oaky, lingering spice.
We are a bit obsessed with Código Rosa at Supercall, and it’s not just because of its pretty pink hue. This bottling starts with Código’s blanco expression, which is made using mature agave plants that are older than seven years. It is then rested for one month in uncharred Napa Cabernet French white oak barrels, which is just long enough to add some gentle flavors and a gorgeous color without overpowering the tequila’s delicate, grassy notes. The bright agave flavors of a blanco are immediately apparent before it envelopes your palate with a rich floral character. On a warm summer’s eve, serve this tequila over a large rock to impress even the most finicky guest.
There’s a reason why Casamigos is constantly showing up on best-of lists—it’s damn good and one of the smoothest tequilas on the market. While all three of their expressions can be considered a splurge, the blanco bottling is the most affordable and great for sipping on the rocks. Their blue Weber agave is grown in the nutrient-rich red clay soil of the Jalisco Highlands and slow roasted for 72 hours in traditional brick ovens. The blanco is rested for two months, which gives it a crisp flavor and hints of citrus, while letting the sweet agave notes shine through. Try it over ice with a swath of lemon or orange peel.
We love Tres Agaves because their entire line of tequilas work great sipped neat or mixed into cocktails. But we particularly love their añejo expression sipped ice cold on the rocks. Their estate-grown agave is harvested in Mexico’s Tequila Valley, slow roasted, distilled in alembic pot stills and blended with natural volcanic water. To make the añejo, the juice is rested for about 18 months in bourbon and Tennessee whiskey barrels. The result is a complex, almost smoky spirit with notes of caramel, rosemary and spice.
Not only does Corralejo have one of the coolest labels around, but the liquid inside is perfect for sipping without any mixers. It is one of the few tequilas produced in Guanajuato, Mexico. After cooking the piñas and fermenting the juice, this tequila is double distilled to give it an extra smooth character. It’s then rested in American oak, which gives it bright citrus notes on top of oaky vanilla flavors. Not only is this bottle affordable, but its beautiful design makes it a perfect gift.