Shots of tequila

Shots of tequila (Photo by sweet marshmallow on Shutterstock)

Tequila: it’s not just for shots anymore! This versatile spirit can be enjoyed in everything from refreshing margaritas to smooth sippers. But with so many tequilas on the market, it can be tough to find a quality bottle that won’t break the bank. Fear not, budget-minded margarita makers and connoisseurs alike! We’ve searched high and low to find the best affordable tequilas that won’t compromise on taste. From Blanco’s perfect for mixing to reposados ideal for sipping, get ready to unlock the world of delicious tequila without emptying your wallet.

If the word “tequila” brings back memories of cheap shots that leave a bad taste in your mouth, it might be time to expand your horizons! Tequila can be used in a wide range of cocktails, and according to a survey of 2,000 adults in the U.K., one in five drinkers prefer mixed drinks over beer and wine. You can add a shot of your favorite tequila to popular cocktails, such as the classic margarita, a Paloma, a tequila sour, or a Mexican mule. Tequila is usually labeled with five different classifications: Blanco, reposado, anejo, extra anejo, or cristalino. The labels indicate how long the liquor has been aged. So, StudyFinds has drawn up a starter list of some of the best affordable tequilas on the market to get you started based on the consensus among 13 experts. Grab a glass and let us know in the comments which one is your favorite.

The List: Best Affordable Tequila, According to Experts

1.  Espolòn Tequila Blanco

Espolòn Tequila’s bottle of blanco is the top pick for an all-around affordable tequila that mixes well in cocktails and goes down surprisingly smooth for shots. Being double distilled contributes to its smoothness, but despite its ability to adapt to any mixer or cocktail the tequila still has more than enough complexity of flavor.

Craving a delicious and affordable tequila that makes amazing margaritas and sips smooth on its own? Look no further than Espolon Blanco. This budget-friendly tequila boasts a bright citrusy flavor with a touch of peppery spice, according to Inside Hook. Reviewers at Serious Eats love it in cocktails, praising its unique blend of earthy notes, subtle floral hints, and a touch of grilled pineapple and black pepper. Espolon’s heritage is just as impressive as its taste – the iconic rooster logo symbolizes the fight for Mexican independence. So ditch the overpriced tequilas – Espolon Blanco is proof that quality doesn’t have to break the bank.

2. Olmeca Altos Plata Blanco

Olmeca Altos Plata Blanco
Olmeca Altos Plata Blanco (olmecaaltos.com)

Olmeca Altos Plata has more of a mild and light flavor profile, with notes of citrus, pepper, and agave. Pair it with seafood, or spicy and salty snacks. This tequila has won several awards, such as the International Spirits Challenge and Global Tequila & Mezcal Masters.

The Spruce Eats recommends Olmeca Altos Plata, a highland tequila that shines in cocktails without sacrificing eco-friendly practices, which is a rarity at this price point. Think sweet agave and peppery spice with a smooth, creamy finish – a delicious deal that delivers serious bang for your buck. Vine Pair agrees, calling Olmeca Altos Plata a standout choice for whipping up a batch of margaritas, whether you prefer them fresh or frozen. The cooked agave takes center stage in the flavor profile, complemented by hints of sweet tropical fruit and warm baking spices. And for those who like a little kick, the jalapeño finish pairs perfectly with a chili-spiced rim, making your next margarita fiesta unforgettable. Mashed sums it up perfectly: Olmeca Altos Plata is a budget-friendly way to stock your bar and create amazing margaritas, all without breaking the bank.

3. Gran Centenario Añejo Tequila

If you want a tequila with more depth, try a reposado or anejo tequila. Gran Centenario Anejo tequila is aged for 18-36 months in French oak barrels, giving it a sweet flavor with nutty aromas. You don’t have to break the bank to experience the smooth, aged goodness of an añejo tequila. Gran Centenario Añejo defies the odds, offering a price tag that won’t leave your wallet whimpering according to Liquor.

Don’t be fooled by the price though – Marcas de Tequila describes the aroma as strikingly similar to bourbon, with hints of oak, caramel, vanilla, and roasted agave. Take a sip and you’ll be greeted by a delightful blend of blue agave, apple, and those same warming notes of oak, vanilla, and caramel. The finish is smooth and medium-bodied, with lingering touches of caramel and oak. Serious Eats acknowledges it might not be the most complex añejo out there, but its smooth, refreshing taste with hints of citrus and grass makes it a perfect, crowd-pleasing choice for margaritas or sipping neat. So, next time you’re looking for an affordable way to elevate your tequila experience, look no further than Gran Centenario Añejo.

4. Cazadores Reposado Tequila

Craving a smooth and satisfying reposado tequila without emptying your wallet? Cazadores Reposado is your perfect match! This budget-friendly tequila boasts over a century of expertise, with a brand legacy dating back to 1922. Aged for up to a year in new American oak barrels, Cazadores Reposado strikes a delightful balance between fresh agave and warm notes of vanilla and wood (Thrillist).

Plus, Cazadores prioritizes sustainability with their seven-step, zero-waste distilling process, according to Delish. So, next time you’re looking for a delicious and affordable reposado tequila, look no further than Cazadores.

5. Tequila Ocho Reposado

Tequila Ocho produces their product at the same distillery in Arandas, Jalisco and customizes their production methods to the conditions of each particular harvest. This isn’t just any tequila – it’s a meticulously crafted spirit boasting a heritage as rich as its flavor profile. UpRoxx takes a deep dive into Ocho’s production process, explaining how their agave is slow-cooked in traditional brick ovens for nearly two days, then crushed and fermented in open-air tanks, resulting in a truly unique base.

While the price tag might be slightly higher than others on this list, Cool Material assures us it’s worth every penny. Imagine aromas of sticky toffee, vanilla, and cooked agave giving way to a delightful sip of vegetal agave, sweet vanilla bean, dried fruit, and a touch of cinnamon spice – pure sipping bliss on a cool evening. For those who appreciate a “lively” tequila, Wine Enthusiast loves how pure this one is. With a light touch of oak aging, this reposado boasts a beautiful straw hue and bright aromas of jalapeño and citrus.

6. El Jimador Silver

If you want a solid blanco tequila that won’t break the bank and works well for shots or cocktails, a bottle of El Jimador is a great choice. We wouldn’t recommend this one for sipping, but the liquor’s bright flavor profile is perfect for mixing. The Manual raves about its perfect balance for mixing, particularly in lime-forward margaritas, thanks to its refreshing citrus character. But El Jimador’s appeal goes beyond just margaritas. Serious Eats likes its versatility in cocktails, praising its smooth and crisp taste that allows the fresh agave and citrus notes to shine through. They even call it a great graduation drink for those looking to ditch the low-quality stuff.

Here’s a fun fact for tequila trivia night: The Spruce Eats tells us El Jimador is the top-selling 100% agave tequila brand in Mexico. That kind of popularity speaks for itself! And there’s a reason behind this success. El Jimador Blanco is rested for 40 days after production. Plus, the name “El Jimador” pays homage to the hard-working farmers who cultivate and harvest the agave in Jalisco, Mexico – a nice touch to a delicious and affordable tequila.

7. Lunazul Blanco Tequila

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Compared to El Jimador, Lunazel boasts more of a complex flavor profile, with notes of spice. Serious Eats describes the flavor profile as a delightful combination of grassy agave and a burst of tropical fruits, with a hint of peppery spice and herbal notes for a touch of complexity. While they wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for sipping neat, it shines in cocktails, allowing the fresh agave and citrus flavors to take center stage. Channel your inner bartender and whip up a classic Mexican Paloma with Lunazul Blanco – a pinch of salt, a squeeze of fresh lime (if your budget allows!), grapefruit soda, and Lunazul tequila – perfection in a glass.

Delish sheds light on Lunazul’s commitment to quality, highlighting their hand-crafted, hand-labeled bottles – a nice touch for a tequila that prides itself on its authenticity. And sometimes, simple really is better. Thrillist describes Lunazul Blanco as smooth, balanced, and unaged, letting the pure agave flavor be the star of the show. With hints of pepper and vanilla peeking through the agave, this blanco tequila is a versatile choice for creating refreshing cocktails or enjoying neat for those who appreciate a pure agave experience.

How to Taste Tequila

To taste tequila, start by pouring a small amount into a glass. Swirl the tequila around in the glass to release the aromas. Then, take a small sip and let the tequila roll around your mouth. Pay attention to the flavors and textures of the tequila.

Here are a few tips for tasting tequila:

  • Sip slowly: Tequila is best enjoyed slowly. This will give you time to appreciate the flavor profile.
  • Neat or on the rocks: Tequila is typically enjoyed neat or on the rocks. You can also add a splash of water or lime juice to your tequila.
  • Pair with food: Tequila can be paired with a variety of foods, such as Mexican food, seafood, and barbecue.

No matter what your budget is, there is a great affordable tequila out there for you. By following the tips above, you can choose the best affordable tequila for your taste and budget.

Different Types of Tequila:

  • Blanco tequila is unaged and has a clear, white color. It has a fresh, agave flavor with hints of citrus and pepper. Blanco tequila is often used in cocktails, such as margaritas and palomas.
  • Reposado tequila is aged for 2-11 months in oak barrels. This gives it a slightly golden color and a more complex flavor profile, with notes of vanilla, caramel, and spice. Reposado tequila can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails.
  • Añejo tequila is aged for at least 1 year in oak barrels. This gives it a rich, amber color and a full-bodied flavor, with notes of wood, fruit, and spice. Añejo tequila is best enjoyed neat or on the rocks.
  • Extra añejo tequila is aged for at least 3 years in oak barrels. It has the deepest flavor and aroma of all the tequila types, with notes of vanilla, chocolate, and coffee. Extra añejo tequila is best enjoyed neat or on the rocks.
  • Cristalino tequila is aged in oak barrels and then filtered to remove the color and some of the more intense woody flavors. This gives it the clarity of a blanco tequila with the complexity of an aged tequila. Cristalino tequila can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails.

Sources:

Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.

About Elsa Lee

Elsa is a freelance journalist, copywriter, and marketer based out of the Los Angeles area. She has been writing for 7 years.

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1 Comment

  1. Erick says:

    The best one is Gran Centenario and the second one Cazadores (good quality for the price) the rest sorry but that’s why are cheap compare to the best ones…