Firstly, let’s get one thing straight! Tequila is a beverage that deserves to be sipped, not shot. Leave the salt and lemon to the college kids, it is time to discover how to drink tequila like a Mexican. It is worth noting that not all tequila is the same. To ensure that you are sampling the best quality, look for Mexican tequila brands. Why? Because the secret to making great-tasting tequila boils down to the ingredients used. Blue Agave!
How is tequila made from agave?
Tequila, a type of Mezcal, and the blue agave plant is the main ingredient. This plant just so happens to grow in abundance around the city of Tequila in central-western Mexico. In this region, producers harvest over 300 million blue agave plants every year. It’s a slow process: the plant can take from eight to 12 years to mature. However, to qualify as a good tequila from Mexico, it must be derived from 51 percent blue agave. It’s the law! But many Mexican tequila brands in the modern era go all the way and make their product from 100 percent blue agave. And, did you know? Any agave-based liquor is called Mezcal, taken from the Aztec word Mexcalli. The word is a blend of Metl (agave) and Ixcalli (cooked). That’s right! – Mezcal means “cooked agave.”
Get to know the best tequila in Mexico
Before you go reaching for the bottle, let’s start with the basics. The difference in tequila types boils down to age and distillation.
- Blanco (AKA silver). Un-aged tequila with strong notes of agave. A favorite amongst Mexicans.
- Reposado – which translates to “rested” – ages in a cask for between two and 11 months, during which time the tequila acquires a sweet flavor, with hints of vanilla and caramel.
- Anejo means “aged” or “vintage”. This tequila ages in a cask for 1-3 years at a time. Expect a woody flavor, with smooth and subtle characteristics.
In Mexico, Tequila is commonly drunk from a tall, thin glass called a ‘caballito’. But it is also used as the main ingredient for the classic Mexican cocktail, the Margarita. Be sure to try all three types of tequila when on vacation in Mexico.
Discover the 5 Mexican tequila brands to try now
There is nothing quite like enjoying a cocktail after a long day. Especially when it can be savored with views of some of Mexico’s most scenic spots. Just like Champagne, only mezcal produced in the Tequila region earns the title ‘Tequila’. Because of this, if you want to drink what the locals drink, make sure to check out the top selling tequila in Mexico. On this list, you will find everything from eye-catching bottles to display on your drinks cart to time-honored classics loved by locals. Read on to discover our top 5 tequilas brought to you straight from the homeland!
1. El Jimador, Amatitán, Jalisco
El Jimador is one of the best-known brands of Tequila. Despite its mid-range price tag, it is actually one of the best quality tequilas on the market thanks to its 100% blue agave content. The tequila producers hand-pick agave to maintain high-quality standards at all times. Some vote this tequila as the best tequila from Jalisco and others vote El Jimador as one of the best Mexican tequila brands.
2. Don Julio Mexico, La Primavera Jalisco
Another tequila to come from the Jalisco region is Don Julio. Founded in 1942 Don Julio Mexico makes premium tequila in white oak barrels. They also use 100% blue agave from their plantation, La Primavera located in the hills of Jalisco. As Mexican Tequila brands go, Don Julio offers a luxurious product.
3. Tequila Herradura, Amatitán, Jalisco, an award-winning Mexican Tequila brand
We cannot write about tequila and fail to mention Tequila Herradura. It is the tequila with the most gold medals in the world. Not to mention, Casa Herradura was the first tequila producer to sell reposado tequila outside of Mexico. This is true Mexican tequila at its best!
4. Tequila Ocho, Arandas, Jalisco
The creators behind Tequila Ocho have converted tequila production into an art form. As the name suggests they focus everything around the number 8. 8 years to grow the agave and 8 kilos of agave for one liter of tequila. Just like a fine wine, the producers add the name of the ‘rancho’ where the agave was harvested along with the year to each bottle. It is no surprise that this tequila finds itself amongst the top 10 tequilas in Mexico.
5. El Patrón Tequila, Jalisco
El Patrón tequila gets its delicious taste from the blue weber agave plant. This stand-out ingredient mixed with time-honored tradition makes this a top tequila in Mexico. Plus, the notable design of the bottle makes this tequila the perfect adornment for your drink’s cabinet. If you fancy a premium tequila to drink dry or to mix in a cocktail, this is one of the Mexican tequila brands for you. Be sure to try their coffee tequila for a real kick!
Taste tequila in Mexico – the best mezcals to try while on vacation
Now that you have discovered the top Mexican tequila brands, it is only right to travel to its homeland to get a real taste for the best tequila made in Mexico. See the production process up close on a free tequila tour at Casa Mission on Cozumel Island. Then, be sure to sample the fruits of the labor after a tasting. If you are visiting Playa del Carmen, a trip to the Royal Hideaway Playacar hotel is a must. Sip a cocktail in their swanky Tequileria bar which serves a classic as well as a more esoteric selection of tequilas. And, don’t miss out on their daily masterclass on the history of the spirit, aimed at travelers eager to dive deeper into the world of tequila. If you are traveling solo in Mexico or with a group, a tequila tasting is an unmissable experience.
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