Blue Agave fields

Photo by Rudy Prather

Let’s talk about tequila and the best blanco tequila buys for the home bar.

Blanco is the tequila needed mostly for mixing cocktails. With a good bottle of blanco, you can build Palomas, shake margaritas or simply top it with soda or a naturally-flavored sparkling water with a squeeze of lime.

No home bar is complete without blanco tequila, but facing the tequila aisle at the liquor store may feel like landing solo in the Mexican desert with no signs or reservations!

Buying blanco tequila is pretty easy, though, once you begin tasting tequilas and choosing within a specific budget.

BLANCO BASICS
Blanco tequila is unaged (less than two months) and what distillers refer to as the purest expression of tequila.
Blanco is clear as opposed to two other types of tequila: reposado which has been “rested” or aged for two to 12 months and añejo which is aged even longer.

Buy only 100% blue agave tequila.
Check labels! Low-end tequilas are called “mixtos” and may contain only 51% agave with the remaining made up of added sugars. Any reputable liquor store or wine shop with spirits will only stock tequila with 100% blue agave but note and make no exceptions.

Look for bottles labeled Los Altos, the Highlands region of Jalisco, Mexico, where most tequila is made.
Terroir and tequila is a matter of taste (think grapes grown in specific regions and winemaking), but it’s a great place to land for fruitier sweetness and light, floral aromas and premium-made distilling practices.

MI CASA, SU CASA
Another way to keep discovering approachable tequilas to buy at the liquor store is to ask a bartender. Find out which tequila they chose for the flavor notes in a cocktail you always order and ask what they pour as their house tequila. Typically, it will be an inexpensive, easy-drinking, but well-made tequila.

Here are 4 blanco tequila favorites for every budget.

 

1Espolòn Blanco

Ahh, this beautiful blanco is a good gateway into appreciating pure agave spirits and will quickly turn any tequila naysayers into tequila drinkers! Sweet and tropical on the nose with a hint of lemon zest, Espolòn shows off a bright agave flavor with hints of vanilla and pineapple. With a handy cork stopper, funky artwork and a reasonable price point, Espolòn is the bang-for-the-buck blanco worth its margarita-making salt!
$25 to $32

2Casamigos Blanco

Don’t let the celebrity hype fool you. Casamigos, founded by George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman, famously sold to Diageo for nearly 1 billion dollars, but its super-premium tequila status speaks for itself. Smooth, yes, and clean—it’s made with purified well water and gently rested in stainless steel, not oak. Casamigos roughly translates to “house of friends,” and while a bit more of a splurge, it always feels like a party.
Around $45

3Cimarrón Blanco

Known for its dry profile, Cimarrón is another 100% highlands agave spirit to grab when you see it. The Parmesan cheese of blanco tequilas, it won’t overpower and loves being paired with flavors. Spotted as the house tequila at cocktail bar luminaries such as Cure, Cimarrón is a made for mixing, not sipping. Clean and light, it’s the socialite in your bar cabinet, mingling well others, especially in that margarita. Cheap chic.
Around $20

4Lunazul Blanco

A blanco that checks all the boxes: 100% blue agave, estate distilled in the state of Jalisco, award-winning… yet won’t break the bank. It’s also bartender approved, served as the house tequila at bars in the Land of Cocktails, New Orleans, such as Doris Metropolitan. Lunazul is a reliable, budget-friendly bottle to grab for mixing when someone says please bring tequila.
Under $20

This post has been updated. We add as we discover…

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