10 Best Tequilas for Margaritas and Shots in 2020

There's a great tequila for every taste and budget

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Our Top Picks
"A well-rounded premium tequila portfolio with something for everyone at a reasonable price."
"The budget-friendly, easy-to-find tequila for easy drinking shots and enjoyable frozen margaritas."
"A bold yet smooth unaged tequila with a premium taste and a great value."
"An estate-grown añejo with remarkable flavor."
Best Blanco/Silver:
Espolòn Blanco Tequila at Drizly
"A crisp, clean tequila to stock regularly in the bar."
"Old-school techniques create an exceptionally smooth reposado tequila."
"The aged tequila you won’t want to miss because it makes superior margaritas."
"Among the least expensive, a shot of this gold tequila goes down a little easier than most."
"From the land of the richest tequilas, this smooth tequila displays the taste of agave wonderfully."
"A small upgrade in Patrón’s lineup makes a big difference in a margarita."

Whether you enjoy tequila shots or want to mix up a great margarita, today’s tequila market offers many great choices. Blanco tequilas are the most versatile and often preferred because they cost less, while the aged tequilas are a nice upgrade worthy of the occasional splurge. For most styles, the best tequilas include the words "100% Blue Weber Agave" on the label, and you will pay a little extra for premium brands, but the majority of these are relatively affordable. That means there's no need to hesitate about mixing any of the tequilas on this list into your favorite tequila cocktails.

Best Overall: Casamigos Blanco Tequila

Casamigos Tequila is a perfect introduction to premium tequilas. The portfolio follows the basic grading system for tequilas, which is standard for most brands and includes a blanco, reposado, and añejo tequila. 

The beautiful thing about Casamigos is that doesn’t have a bold tequila taste. Instead, these tequilas are smooth and subtle. They appeal to drinkers who typically prefer vodka or rum, though tequila lovers appreciate them as well. Any bottle is a fantastic option for shots and margaritas, and they’re reasonably priced. You might even recognize it as the brand co-founded by George Clooney. While you have a bottle, it’s only appropriate to mix up a Danny Ocean cocktail, a sort of grapefruit, cherry-kissed margarita. It's also quite nice in a spicy paloma and the fun crouching tiger shooter.

Best Cheap: Sauza Silver Tequila

Budget tequilas are tricky, and it is very easy to get burned when you buy the wrong one. Sauza Silver is one that won’t let you down or leave your mouth on fire. It may not be as smooth as top-shelf tequilas, but it is one of the best affordable options, and it’s in nearly every liquor store. 

Sauza is distilled in the town of Tequila and right across the street from Jose Cuervo. While both brands are famous for their cheap gold tequilas, Sauza’s 100% blue Weber agave silver tequila is a smoother option for tequila shots when you want to save money. It makes a nice margarita as well, particularly when blended with fruits like strawberry and pineapple.

Best Mid-Priced: Herradura Silver Tequila

Silver (or blanco) tequilas are unaged and the most affordable of any brand’s lineup. Tequila Herradura offers a brilliant example that should be almost anywhere you look. It is premium, but not priced out of reach for the average drinker, and it always produces a great tequila cocktail.

This tequila has one of the bolder flavor profiles you will find, yet it retains the smoothness that defines great tequilas. It won't get lost in the most flavorful cocktails and works particularly well with fresh lime juice in a margarita. Herradura also won’t leave you cringing after a straight shot. Quite simply, this is great tequila and one of the better deals in its class.

Good to Know

The beauty of the tequila revolution is that there is a tequila out there for everyone. For tequila shots, you might want to stick to a bottle on the less expensive side. Don't let the price stop you from enjoying a nice tequila as a shooter, though! They'll go down smoother and won't leave your head spinning after one round.

Best Top-Shelf: Milagro Select Barrel Reserve Añejo Tequila

Añejo tequilas are aged between one and three years, letting the barrel’s charred oak flavor really develop inside the tequila. Considered the best of any brand’s portfolio, añejos are higher priced and typically reserved for high-end cocktails or sipping straight. For a beautiful example of how this plays out, try Milagro Tequila’s Select Barrel Reserve Añejo Tequila.

When you want to mix up the best margarita without spending a small fortune, it’s a wonderful choice. It should only be paired with a top-shelf orange liqueur and fresh lime juice. The blue agave is estate-grown and the tequila is aged for 14 to 24 months in American and French oak barrels. Only the most excellent tequila from the lot makes it into the bottle, and the vanilla, chocolate, and butterscotch notes make it a very impressive tequila.

Best Blanco/Silver: Espolòn Blanco Tequila

Blanco tequilas offer a pure taste of the agave plant from which tequila is distilled. Without barrel aging, there’s no extra flavor to disguise a poorly crafted liquor, so it’s important to choose wisely. Espolòn Blanco offers that tasty, ultra-smooth 100% blue Weber agave tequila everyone seeks out, and that’s why it’s a fan-favorite.

Against the earthy agave flavor, this tequila holds tropical fruit and floral notes that are ideal in any margarita recipe. Its clean, crisp finish also makes it a great candidate for a round of shots with friends. This tequila is fairly priced so it can be an everyday drinker, and the eye-catching bottle design looks great in the bar.

Best Reposado: Olmeca Tezòn Reposado Tequila

Los Altos is a region of Jalisco, Mexico that’s known for producing some amazing tequilas. It’s home to the Olmeca Distillery, the makers of Tequila Tezòn. While all of the tequilas are very enjoyable, the brand’s reposado is superb.

Reposado tequilas are aged for three to nine months, so they’re gently rested and pick up a perfect amount of oak flavors. Tezòn also uses a tahona wheel to extract the juice from the agave, which is an old-fashioned approach that leads to a truer taste. The result is one of the best reposado tequilas on the market and one that anyone will enjoy drinking in any way they please.

Best Añejo: Don Julio Añejo Tequila

It's hard to find faults in the tequilas of Don Julio. They are readily available, super smooth, and richly flavored with the distinct tequila flavors that make the spirit special. The brand's aged tequilas are particularly impressive and have a reputation that puts them among the best of the best.

Don Julio Añejo is one you won’t want to miss. It instantly improves any cocktail it touches and really shines in a shaken margarita with fresh juice. If you are looking to mix up some of the best tequila drinks you can afford, it’s the tequila to keep in your bar. While it’s probably too pricey for a shot, it’s a very smooth sipper enjoyed by many tequila aficionados.

Best Gold: Two Fingers Gold Tequila

Before the tequila boom of the last couple of decades, gold tequila was almost the only choice at many liquor stores. This category is a mixto meaning that it’s distilled from agave plant varietals other than the famous blue Weber. While gold tequilas are not as popular as they once were, there’s something appealing about their caramel taste and low price. You’ll want to be smart about which to drink, and Two Fingers Gold Tequila is one of the best in this category.

This tequila doesn’t have the burn that gave gold tequilas their notorious reputation. It’s surprisingly smooth in comparison, and that makes shooting it a little easier. It’s also a good choice for margaritas that include strong flavors like spicy peppers. Two Fingers happens to be among the least expensive tequilas on the market as well.

Smoothest: Corazón Blanco Tequila

Bottles of Tequila Corazón hold some of the smoothest, richest tequilas you’ll find. Each sip is pure pleasure, and the tequila makes a fantastic margarita. Corazón is distilled in Los Altos, a region with red clay soil that yields some of the best agave plants. The distillery only uses agave grown on the estate so it can ensure quality from field to bottle. The blanco tequila is crisp, clean, and full of that unmistakable agave flavor. It is everything you would hope to find in a great tequila.

Corazón is a great value for the money and one of the best options available at a mid-range price. You definitely won't mind shooting or mixing this one! It's great in every style of drink, from the elegant blue envy cocktail to the traditional sangrita shooter.

Best Patron: Patrón Reposado Tequila

Patrón is a popular tequila, and you can find a bottle of Patrón Silver in almost any bar or liquor store you walk into. When it comes to a reliable, easy-to-find tequila, it's a nice option. For the money, an upgrade to the brand’s reposado is a worthy investment, particularly when margaritas are on your mind.

The reposado is a blend of tequilas that use a traditional tahona wheel and modern rollers, bringing out the best of both agave processing techniques. The result is an exceptionally smooth, gently aged tequila with a nicely balanced flavor that falls perfectly between the brand’s blanco and añejo tequilas. It’s a bottle that you can easily share with guests and rest assured that everyone will be pleased with their drink.

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

Colleen Graham is a beverage writer with over a decade of experience writing about cocktails and bartending. She has visited tequila distilleries in Mexico, tasted countless tequilas over the years, and wrote a book on the spirit.

What to Look for When Buying Tequila

100% Blue Weber Agave: When shopping for tequila, look for these words on the bottle. It is easier than ever to find them because almost every tequila brand has realized that this is what drinkers really want.

Grading system: It is also important to remember the basic grading system for tequilas. Typically, every tequila brand's portfolio will offer a blanco, reposado, and añejo tequila.

Price: You can usually gauge tequila's quality by the price range. Very few 100% tequilas will be less than $20. However, there are options available, and some of these are rather impressive for the price.The blanco will be the least expensive of any tequila's portfolio. You can expect to pay an extra $5 to $10 for the reposado and the same for the next step up to an añejo.

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