A standard bottle of tequila is nothing to sneeze at when it comes to proof. Most are bottled at 80 proof, or 40 percent abv, which will certainly do the job. But if you’re looking for something with a little extra kick to it, there are a few bottlings that take the alcohol level up a notch. Here are the strongest bottles of tequila you can buy that you’ll still actually want to drink straight.
Created by The 86 Co. (the same company that brought you Fords Gin and Aylesbury Duck Vodka), Cabeza was created for bartenders, by bartenders. At 43 percent abv (or, harkening to the company name, 86 proof), it’s certainly strong enough to shine through strong citrus flavors in a Margarita or Paloma, but it’s also tasty on its own. It’s soft and a little fruity with undercurrents of honey and cilantro.
Yes, this is an expensive tequila. But we promise, it is worth every penny. Made in extremely small batches, this blend of three different five-year-old añejos—one aged in sherry casks, one aged in scotch barrels and one in Cognac barrels—is richly flavored, extremely complex and seriously luxurious. It is a scotch or bourbon drinker’s tequila, as well as a tequila lover’s tequila. At 43 percent abv, it should be sipped slowly and thoughtfully.
The oldest of Patron’s high-end Roca line (all of which are made with the traditional tahona wheel), this añejo is aged for 14 months in ex-bourbon barrels and comes in at 44 percent abv (88 proof). It’s filled with flavors of baking spices and vanilla, making it easy to sip straight both at room temperature or over a giant ice cube.
It says it right there in the name. This bright, grassy and citrusy blanco tequila is 100 proof (or 50 percent abv). The extra alcohol (the distillery’s standard blanco comes in at the usual 40 percent abv) definitely makes itself known. You will feel this in your chest as you sip it, but you’ll also get long lasting flavors of herbs and sweet, cooked agave, which will keep you coming back for sip after sip.
At 110 proof, this limited-edition tequila released by Herradura in 2015 is bottled direct from the still (it is also called Directo because of this). Part of the distillery’s Coleccion de la Casa, it’s a powerful blanco with tons of green agave notes, lime zest and wet stone. Drink it chilled or over a big ice cube, perhaps with a spritz of lime or grapefruit. And don’t be afraid to pair it with food. We are talking about 55 percent abv, after all.