Excerpted from esquire.com.
Tequila is everywhere right now; so much so, that it’s backed to become the fastest growing spirit category in the UK, with sales up 94% in the past two years alone. But how do you pick a decent one? Well, when it comes to tequila, there’s tequila, and there’s tequila.
To keep your bar cart up to speed this summer, we’ve tried every slammer and sipper worth knowing about.
What exactly is tequila?
Tequila is made exclusively from the blue agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of — you guessed it — Tequila, in the western state of Jalisco, Mexico.
On the back of every bottle, you’ll find a number called the NOM or “Norma Oficial Mexicana”. Google that and you’ll have full visibility of which tequila producer it comes from, enabling you to tell the mass-produced from the artisan.
How to drink tequila in 2023
Let’s be honest, slamming a tequila from time to time is still fun, but the best-tasting, smoothest examples shouldn’t be smothered with salt and lime.
Much like its smokier spirit sister, mezcal, top-shelf tequila that is made with 100% agave (as opposed to the cheaper “mixtos” varieties that use the minimum 51% and are then topped up with sugar and additives) can be enjoyed neat or over big rocks of ice. That said, older añejos can benefit from being served at room temperature.
Other simple serves include grapefruit soda for a ready-made paloma or tomato juice for a breakfast bloody Maria.
But for us, nothing beats a margarita. Keep it classic with lime juice and orange liqueur, or blend with ice for a frozen take. A Tommy’s margarita replaces orange liqueur with agave nectar for a smoother, more savoury-leaning drink, or add Tajin to the salty rim for a spicy, citrussy kick.
How we test tequila
We recruited a panel of 10 testers, made up of WSET-trained experts and tequila fans, to give their thoughts on 36 blanco, reposado and añejo tequilas. Each was tried neat and then followed by some water to dilute and soften the alcohol, bringing out the more nuanced flavours.
Catering for every palate and cocktail recipe, these are the top-rated tequilas to buy right now.
BEST IN AN OLD FASHIONED
Who says an old fashioned needs to be made with whisky? Komos Anejo Cristalino has an unexpected butterscotch sweetness that will give the classic cocktail a whole new lease of life. Outstandingly complex, however you decide to drink it, you can expect notes of black peppercorn, dark chocolate, brown sugar and toasted coffee bean to boot.
Read the full list on Esquire.com HERE.