- 16 Of The Best Tequila Gifts To Present To Your Pals For World Tequila Day
- Best luxury tequila for 2022
- How do you pick the best tequila?
- What are the different types of tequila?
- How we test tequila
- 1) Mijenta Blanco Tequila
- 2) Casa Dragones Blanco Tequila
- 8) Clase Azul Reposado Tequila
- 4) Olmeca Altos Plata Tequila
- 3) 1800 Coconut Tequila
- 6) El Rayo Plata Tequila
- 5) The Butterfly Cannon Cristalino Tequila
- 7) Teremana Reposado Tequila
- 9) VIVIR Tequila Reposado
- 10) KAH Tequila Reposado
- 11) Prospero Reposado Tequila
- 12) Casamigos Reposado Tequila
- 13) Maestro Dobel Diamante Tequila Reposado
- 14) Patrón Anejo Tequila
- 15) Storywood Single Malt Anejo Tequila
- 1) Patron Limited Edition Silver Tequila Gift Tin
- 3) Tequila Enemigo 00 Extra Añejo
- 7) El Tequileno Blanco
- 8) Don Julio 1942 Tequila
- 23) Código Rosa Tequila
- 21) Cazcabel Coffee Liqueur
- 25) Ocho Reposado Tequila
16 Of The Best Tequila Gifts To Present To Your Pals For World Tequila Day
No bar cart is complete without an exceptional bottle of tequila. However, with the spirit sometimes hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons, our expert is on hand to help you find the tastiest, most sustainable options out there. Yes, they do exist.
Best luxury tequila for 2022
How do you pick the best tequila?
Legend has it that lightning struck an agave plant, cooking it and creating the first ever tequila. But in order to pick the best tequila, you’ll need a bit more background on the various classifications (stay with us, it’s simple).
There are two types of tequila — those that are made with 100% agave, and the inferior “mixto” which only contains the legally required minimum 51 percent (with the rest made up of any other sugar, often corn). Don’t worry, we’re not going to recommend any of those.
We’ve also included details of the NOM which is a four-digit number found on every bottle. This gives us visibility of the producer, so you can see just how many brands they’re responsible for — because can you really claim to be an artisanal tequila with hundreds of brands under the same roof? Not on our watch.
What are the different types of tequila?
The blue agave starts life as one hell of a sexy succulent, but it’s the piña at the heart of the plant, which is needed to make tequila. The juice of the piña is fermented, then aged in oak for various lengths of time, to become blanco (unaged), reposado (aged for two months up to a year) or anejo (one to three years).
Each has different characteristics, ranging from the fresh and citrusy (there’s a reason you shot with lime and salt), to the more complex styles which display caramel and oak. Broadly speaking then, blanco is for shots, anejo strictly for sipping (like you would with whisky), and reposado will happily take on either occasion.
How we test tequila
The Elle Lab is made up of a panel of 10 WSET-certified (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) experts and consumers. They sipped (no shots here!) their way through, 25 blanco, reposado and anejo tequilas. Each was tried neat, before being diluted with a touch of water, which allows the alcohol to soften, bringing out more flavour. They were looking for bright, bold examples, with exceptional complexity.
Read on for their expert-approved bottles, alongside a handpicked selection from our trusted ELLE editors.
1) Mijenta Blanco Tequila
This winning bottle is sustainably made (from sourcing to packaging) — and it’s one super fresh artisanal tequila. Expect bright green notes, punchy cracked black pepper and sweet cinnamon. On top of that, we’re a bit in love with the pink and green label — it’s going to look great on your bar cart.
Key specifications Classification: Blanco NOM No: 1412 (currently producing 5 brands) 70cl, 38% ABV
2) Casa Dragones Blanco Tequila
This is the perfect un-aged blanco for your next Tommy’s margarita — we’re talking fresh, clean and sweet. The panel loved how unique our runner-up is, with a menthol and clove note and a super smooth finish. Superb.
Key specifications Classification: Blanco NOM No: 1489 (currently producing 27 brands) 70cl, 40% ABV
8) Clase Azul Reposado Tequila
Tequila doesn’t get more luxurious than this — just look at that handmade bottle for starters. Made from organic agave, it’s rested in oak barrels for eight months and on the palate, you can expect caramel, vanilla and spice. Oh-so-smooth, it would be sacrilegious to shot this one.
Key specifications Classification: Reposado NOM No: 1595 (currently producing 3 brands) 70cl, 40% ABV
4) Olmeca Altos Plata Tequila
The name ‘altos’ refers to the highlands where it’s widely considered the absolute best agave comes from. It’s certainly powerful, delivering a complex blend of smoke, dried fruit and caramel. In fact, some of our testers said it reminded them of cognac, in case that’s your bag.
Key specifications Classification: Blanco NOM No: 1111 (currently producing 3 brands) 70cl, 38% ABV
3) 1800 Coconut Tequila
A tequila sweetened with coconut you say? Sign us up! It reminded our testers of a tropical rum and as such, they thought it would be delicious with pineapple juice for an easy summer serve. We’re sold.
Key specifications Classification: Blanco NOM No: 1122 (currently producing 22 brands) 70cl, 38% ABV
6) El Rayo Plata Tequila
El Rayo recommends pairing its citrus-driven tequila with tonic — making it an easy replacement for your beloved G&T. Surprisingly complex, our testers enjoyed the minerality and tickle of black pepper — just add a slice of lemon before serving.
Key specifications Classification: Blanco NOM No: 1479 (currently producing 25 brands) 50cl, 40% ABV
5) The Butterfly Cannon Cristalino Tequila
Despite being a blanco, this tequila (which is designed with cocktails in mind), has had a month in oak, before being filtered through charcoal for purity. You’re left with a beautiful balance of tobacco and vanilla sweetness, cut through with prickly black pepper.
It’s super smooth and versatile enough for any tequila cocktail you can think of. What’s more, a portion of profits goes towards supporting butterfly conservation in the US and Mexico.
Key specifications Classification: Blanco NOM No: 1438 (currently producing 163 brands) 50cl, 40% ABV
7) Teremana Reposado Tequila
As celebrity brands go, Dwyane ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s seems to be the one doing things properly. Using its own distillery, Teremana’s reposado is aged for a year, keeping a fresh, earthy flavour with a punchy kick of cayenne pepper and a subtle sweetness.
Key specifications Classification: Reposado NOM No: 1613 (currently producing 1 brand) 70cl, 40% ABV
9) VIVIR Tequila Reposado
VIVIR was born after co-founder Paul Hayes discovered he was allergic to the cheap mixtos on the market. In response, the brand grows its own agave in the highlands of Jalisco and leaves it to rest in ex-bourbon barrels to develop those delicious oaky characteristics. Testers loved the caramel and spice, and thought it would be fab in a highball cocktail.
Key specifications Classification: Reposado NOM No: 1438 (currently producing 163 brands) 70cl, 40% ABV
10) KAH Tequila Reposado
Looking for the perfect tequila gift? This beautiful handmade bottle contains a top-notch reposado, certain to please the lucky recipient. There’s an initial sweetness, followed by warming pepper and nicely balanced oak. In short, this little devil is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
Key specifications Classification: Reposado NOM No: 1472 (currently producing 21 brands) 70cl, 40% ABV
11) Prospero Reposado Tequila
Yes, it’s another celebrity tequila, but Rita Ora’s Prospero is headed up by Stella Anguiano (one of Mexico’s most highly regarded female Master Distillers). Unlike others, its producers say they are keen to honour the ‘important history behind every bottle’.
Thank goodness, because it’s really very delicious. Vegetal and earthy with a slight honeyed note, this reposado was our testers favourite in the range.
Key specifications Classification: Reposado NOM No: 1437 (currently producing 19 brands) 70cl, 40% ABV
12) Casamigos Reposado Tequila
Ok, we’ll stop with the celeb spirits after this, promise, but Casamigos is worth calling out. Once co-owned by George Clooney (before selling to drinks giant Diageo), it’s made using a ‘traditional’ brick oven method.
The golden liquid has a rich caramel note, flecked with juicy orange and sweet cinnamon — making it an excellent choice for a warming tequila old fashioned.
Key specifications Classification: Reposado NOM No: 1609 (currently producing 1 brand) 70cl, 40% ABV
13) Maestro Dobel Diamante Tequila Reposado
Turning the traditional classification system on its head, Maestro Dobel is a blend of reposado, añejo and extra-añejo tequila. It’s filtered through diamonds, so it’s much clearer than you’d expect, with a smooth and creamy vanilla aroma. However the palate is more in line with your typical blanco — herbal, peppery and perfect for cocktails.
Key specifications Classification: Reposado NOM No: 1122 (currently producing 22 brands) 70cl, 40% ABV
14) Patrón Anejo Tequila
Most tequila fans will have Patron firmly on their radar. But what’s extra special about this smooth anejo, is that it’s barrel-aged in both American and French oak for a more pronounced flavour.
Insanely elegant, our testers were bowled over by the dark caramel, vanilla and coconut notes. And it’s an exclusive for the Whisky Exchange so you won’t find it anywhere else.
15) Storywood Single Malt Anejo Tequila
Who would have thought Scotland and Mexico would be such a winning combination, but this anejo tequila takes its flavour from 14 months in Scotch whisky barrels. The result is a beautiful balance of smoke, pepper and honey, with just a hint of tropical fruit. A very fun intro to sipping tequila.
Key specifications Classification: Anejo NOM No: 1137 (currently producing 64 brands) 70cl, 40% ABV
1) Patron Limited Edition Silver Tequila Gift Tin
Patrón tequila is a certified additive-free drink, so you can be sure that it’s made with 100% blue weber agave. And this cool presentation tin makes it an ideal gift for world tequila day.
3) Tequila Enemigo 00 Extra Añejo
This tequila has won several awards, in some of the most prestigious competitions in the world. A sipping tequila for sure.
7) El Tequileno Blanco
Another great ‘additive-free’ tequila, if you care about purity in the preparation process. This tequila is a popular brand in Mexico and would be a great base for a margarita.
8) Don Julio 1942 Tequila
If you’re new to sipping on aged tequilas this is the ultimate place to start. It is quite sweet, with notes of caramel and toffee.
23) Código Rosa Tequila
A steel tank distilled tequila, yes, but after that, the blanco tequila is rested in uncharred red wine barrels from Napa Valley, which is what gives the drink its ‘rosa’ colour. Dare we say it, but is this the rosé of the tequila world?
21) Cazcabel Coffee Liqueur
Definitely NOT one for the tequila connoisseurs who want to sip a fine oak aged spirit slowly… but, if you love how tequila makes you feel and you’re a coffee fiend too, this Mexican-made blend is a great one to put in a shot glass. The brand also claims to grow and harvest agave plants in a sustainable way, so it’s a win for the environment too.
25) Ocho Reposado Tequila
Another tequila that’s been crafted the traditional way, with no artificial flavours or colourings. A young reposado that’s good for sipping.