There are a lot of people who shy away from tequila because of one bad night in college. We get it—there are few things worse than a hangover created by binging on the cheap mixto stuff or one too many frozen Mango Margaritas. But one or two mistakes made back when you were 21 years old should not keep you from experiencing the deliciousness that is really good tequila. We’re here to help you hop back on that tequila horse, or more appropriately, burro. These five spirits are smooth and easy drinking, whether you sip them neat or mix them in your favorite cocktail.
Though it’s named after the talon-like spur that juts from the back of a rooster’s foot, Espolon produces much less dangerous tequilas. Their blanco bottling is a great place to start. It has a delicate nose that brings forth sweet agave, floral tropical fruit and lemon zest with a touch of pepper. The elegant palate has bursts of vanilla bean and grilled pineapple with a hint of spice on the clean finish. It stands up to any tequila cocktail and sips perfectly smoothly on its own, too.
Both blanco and añejo fans will appreciate this perfectly balanced reposado. Milagro distills this spirit from 100 percent estate-grown blue agave and ages it in American oak barrels for three to six months. The resulting liquid has a clean, agave-forward aroma with tasting notes of caramel and toast, along with a light spice finish. Let your skeptical friends know about the bottle’s multiple awards before they take a sip, if they’re still doubting your expertise.
Any tequila cynic is going to have a change of heart after tasting this smoky, spicy treat. Tanteo’s Chipotle expression is infused with roasted peppers from the mountains of Chihuahua to create a sweet, spicy and smoky tequila that’s downright addicting. Sip it solo or mix it in a cocktail like the Bloody Maria.
Los Azulejos hand-selects the Weber blue agave for their tequila only after it’s matured for a minimum of 10 years. Not only is the tequila double distilled, but the first and last 40 percent of the run is discarded to create the purest spirit possible. Their añejo tequila rests for 18 months in oak barrels to create a rich spirit with flavors of chocolate, orange and sugar cookies. If you’re a whiskey drinker, you’re going to love this smooth, lightly sweet tequila.
Fully-matured agave is one of the key reasons why Código Blanco is so incredibly smooth. That extra age allows the plants to produce extra sugar, which makes for a wonderfully round spirit with no harsh bite. It’s fermented with proprietary baker’s bread yeast for two to four days, then double distilled to create a crisp, agave-forward spirit that’ll help those burned by tequila come back from the dark side.