Hi, I'm Christine. Things you should know about me: I'm a food editor at BuzzFeed, and I really love tequila.
The thing is, I don't really ~know~ anything about tequila, except that I very much like to drink it.*
And I really hate not knowing stuff. So, I went to an expert for a crash course.
I (shamelessly) told him I didn't need all the details. I pretty much just wanted enough information to impress all of my friends.
Specifically: What are the best store-bought tequilas out there? Cocktail recipes that'll literally impress everyone? And — prob most importantly, *ahem* — how to avoid those fucking terrible tequila hangovers? Baez was game to tell me.
First, here are some expert-approved bottles for stocking your home bar.
Because really this is the most useful information of all. All prices are for a 750-milliliter bottle and are taken from Under the Label.
If you're looking for a clean, all-purpose tequila for margaritas (or shots), go for a SILVER or BLANCO — like Sauza ($19), Espolon ($24), or Patron ($38).
Silver tequila is aged very little or not at all, so it's super crisp and has lots of agave flavor — which is sweet and almost honey-like. When you think of "regular tequila," you're thinking of silver tequila. Because it's the fastest and simplest 100% agave tequila to make, it's also the cheapest. If you're looking for something under $20, Sauza blue silver tequila is good in a margarita. Espolón tequila blanco is simple and clean, while Patron silver tequila is a little bit smoother.
For something a little fancier and more complex to sip on, try a REPOSADO — such as Espolón ($24), Herradura ($42), or Chamucos ($45).
Reposados are aged for up to a year and therefore more expensive to produce, so it's tough to find decent bottles under $25. If you're really set on a reposado, Espolon reposado tequila is pretty good. Herradura reposado tequila is oak-aged for 11 months, so it's got some wood flavor. Likewise, Chamucos reposado tequila is aged in white oak for seven months and packaged in a hand-blown glass bottle that you'll definitely want to keep.
If you're looking for a sipping tequila that actually tastes more like scotch, go for an AÑEJO — 3 Amigos ($30), Maestro ($38), or Casamigos ($55) are all good bets.
Añejo tequila gets its complexity from being aged for at least a year after distillation. Because it's a longer process, añejo costs more. If you want to try out an añejo, 3 Amigos is a good introduction — it's not too "scotch-y" and not too expensive. Maestro tequila añejo is made from twice-distilled, slow-roasted agave, so it's rich and woody. Casamigos añejo tequila is aged in used whiskey barrels, so it's complex and a little bit sweet.