Tequila is one of the most commonly-enjoyed liquors, but many people don’t really know how to choose a good tequila for their needs. In fact, there are a lot of low-cost and very low-quality tequilas on the market, which are often purchased by college students just looking for something to use at a party. While these cheap liquors are fine for frat parties, if you’re looking for a way to improve your tequila experience and take it to the next level, it’s a good idea to learn something about how to buy tequila depending on your needs. In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know and much more about shopping for tequila the next time you head to the liquor store.
Decide how much money you can spend.
Tequila comes in all sorts of different price ranges. It is possible to get tequila for less than ten dollars a bottle, but “you get what you pay for” when it comes to tequila, so keep this in mind when shopping. If you’re looking for a great tequila that won’t cost a fortune but won’t taste terrible, either, you can easily find something in the twenty to thirty dollar range that should work for your needs.
Keep in mind, though, that the more aged the tequila, the more expensive it’s going to be. You may not be able to find an anejo or extra anejo tequila in a lower price range, but you can easily find mixto, silver, and mezcal options that will work for a lower budget. Knowing your budget can help you narrow down your options before you ever walk into the store.
Decide how you’ll be using the tequila.
Yes, you may want to make margaritas or cook with your tequila, and that’s fine—for some variations. You wouldn’t want to spend a hundred dollars or more on a tequila that’s going in a blender, though, so take time to consider how you’ll be using the tequila before you buy it. This way, you can narrow down the options and find something that will work for your needs as well as for your budget. Keep in mind that some tequilas may only have one or two uses, while others may be able to be used for several purposes. Here are some hints to help you get started:
• Try a sweet mixto tequila if you’re using it for cooking or for sweet cocktails, like Long Island Iced Tea. Mixto tequila is only partially made from agave and includes other kinds of sugars as well, so it’s much sweeter than other types on the market.
• Try a silver or blanco tequila when you’re looking for something to do tequila shots or to put in any type of margarita. This type of tequila can also be substituted for silver rum in a variety of cocktails, and is a great option for cooking with as well if you’re looking for a solid multitasker.
o Mezcal is another good option for use in the same ways you might use a silver or blanco tequila. You can also use it instead of vodka in a Bloody mary, which is one of the most popular methods of using mezcal. It’s also good in punch.
• Try a reposado tequila instead of whiskey in a variety of cocktails. Its smoky flavor and robust body can hold up well to use in many of these classier types of cocktails, but it isn’t ideal for margaritas. It also works nicely for shots.
• Try an anejo tequila if you’re looking for something to simply serve as-is or possibly on the rocks. It’s bets enjoyed with an orange slice or two in place of the traditional lime wedge served with most tequilas.
• Finally, go with an extra anejo tequila when you want something just for sipping as-is. This type of tequila shouldn’t be tampered with much.
Avoid anything with a bug in the bottle.
It’s an old myth that a bug, worm, or some other creature in a bottle of tequila makes it somehow better. This is a marketing ploy and has nothing to do with the quality of the liquor you’re buying. Additionally, tequila never has and never will contain a worm or any insect—mezcal, however, sometimes does. While this type of mezcal may be fine for college parties, it’s generally very low-quality and overpriced, so it’s not really a good choice for any other situations. Stay away from bugs in the bottle!
Think about the color and flavor profile of the tequilas you’re considering.
Last but not least, consider the color and flavor you’re looking for in your tequila. Do you want something very sweet and crystal clear? If so, mixto or silver tequila are your best bet. Or are you looking for something smoky and rust-colored? In this case, anejo or reposado may be right for you. A golden tequila is a nice in-between, but keep in mind that these are often mixed tequilas, so the quality may be lower than you would expect for this type of liquor.
Choosing the flavor and color you want to work with can be crucial when narrowing down your tequila options and finding what’s right for you.
With a little basic information to help you get started, you should be well on your way to buying the perfect tequila for your needs. Remember that there is a lot more to tequila than just throwing it in blender with some sour and ice and calling it a margarita—and even if you are going to make margaritas, there’s no reason why you can’t learn to make a more “adult” and sophisticated version of this cocktail, too. In the end, only you can choose the right tequila for your needs. Take your time learning and considering all your options before you decide to buy, and don’t forget to enjoy your tequila the correct way for best results.