According to a Drinks International Ranking, some of top-selling tequila labels in the world’s top bar are Don Julio, Calle 23, Ocho, Tapatio, and Patrón. Although, this is not necessarily an indicator of the best tequila brands, as many producers are still too small to export on a grand scale.
Certainly a few heads turned when Casamigos, the tequila brand that George Clooney founded with friends Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman, was sold to Diageo for some $1 billion.
Best tequila brands
Most expensive tequila
The most premium bottle of tequila to be sold was a one-liter premium editions for $225,000. The tequila, produced by Tequila Ley .925 and listed in The Guinness World Records, was encased in a 2kg-bottle of pltinmum and gold.
Top shelf tequila
Casa Noble is known for a range of tasty handcrafted and certified organic tequilas. They are typically lowlands tequila, with sweet flavors.
Don Julio is one of the traditional tequila families, today producing several top-shelf tequila types. Its most famous are the extra-aged 1942, and the crystalline aged tequila (the color is stripped out),
Milgro is considerably cheaper than other top-shelf tequilas, but maintains a smooth and velvet flavor with its triple distillations
Fortaleza comes from the Sauza family, with fives generations of tequileros. They stick to age-old techniques, where the agave is crushed with stone, in search of re-creating the tequila made by the family’s great-great-grandfather a century before. Fortaleza is a “lowlands” tequila, which makes it typically sweeter as the agave takes longer to ripen.
Casa Dragones – founded by Bertha González Nieves, this brand’s focus is on hand-crafted bottles and limited edition tequila, each numbered and hand-signed. She was the first woman to receive the Maestra Tequilera certificate by the Mexican government. Continuing the break from tradition, the tequila passes through an elaborate and modernized multiple-distillation process to eliminate harsh flavors and produce a premium smoothness. At $200–300 per bottle, it most certainly is a sipping tequila.
Cuevo Reserva de la familia – Jose Cuevo is one of the most interntionally known tequilas, and one of the oldest distillers opening its door in 1795. To commemorate the company’s bicentennial, it released a limited edition ‘family reserve’. The best agaves are distilled and aged for at least three years in the family’s private cellar, and tasted by Cuervo family member before being bottled.
Sauza’s 100 Anos (referring to the 100 percent agave, not 100 years of distillation as the name suggests). At around $20, it’s a decent choice for cocktails.
Herradura consistently produces a fine-tasting, well-priced tequila, having done so since 1870. Despite it’s ability to scale-up–it maintains some 25 million agave plants and fermatation tanks of more than a million gallons–the use of natural airborne yeasts helps to maintain its original flavor. It was the leader of aged tequilas, introducing ‘reposada’ tequila to the market in 1974, with the classic vanilla and butterscotch flavors.
The bad tequila
Collecable tequila bottles
Kah is distinguished by its painted skull bottle, the icon of Mexico’s day Of the Dead festival. Their reposado is distilled at the maximum amount allowed by US law– 110 proof– without sacrificing its smooth flavor. The 80-proof blanco is a little softer, with sweet notes that make great margaritas with little sweetener required.
Tequila brands for
Jalisco – 3600