7 Tequila Brands Perfect For Mixing In Cocktails

Tequila is a distilled spirit made from the blue agave plant in one of five states in Mexico. It can come in various forms including blanco (or silver), reposado, or añejo, depending on distinct processes in the aging and barreling stages of crafting.  

Tequila is the spirit of choice for many people and is used in various popular cocktails including margaritas, Palomas, ranch water, or a tequila sunrise. Depending on your drink of choice, you'll want to use different types of tequila to blend with the distinct flavors you're mixing. Any ole' tequila will work in something basic like a tequila pineapple, but we're looking to elevate your next cocktail to something thoroughly epic.

After researching the flavor profiles of several popular brands, we've compiled a list of the seven best tequilas for mixing in cocktails. Whether prepping drinks for a night out or making a margarita to pair with your favorite California burrito, here are the best tequila brands for mixing into cocktails.

1. Patrón

If tequila brands were celebrities, Patrón — name-dropped in songs by everyone from Taylor Swift to Nicki Minaj to Meek Mill – would be an A-lister. When it comes to crafting tequila either for sipping alone or mixing in your favorite cocktail, Patrón has a reputation for being the best of the best. 

Patrón's quality tequila goes down smoothly and acts as a versatile spirit for various mixed drinks. Feel a little fancy with a Patrón tequila Manhattan. Mix 2 parts of Patron's sweet and vanilla reposado with 1 part sweet vermouth, a dash or two of orange bitters, a spritz of lime, and a cherry. For something a little lighter, try making a Patrón ranch water. Take a shot of the eucalyptus-like Patrón Silver and mix it with a shot of fresh lime juice. Fill the remainder of your glass with your favorite sparking mineral water, such as Topo Chico. 

Patrón's añejo tequila is aged in Hungarian oak barrels  as well as the more traditional American and French barrels. Adding Hungarian oak to the mix subtly differentiates Patrón's flavor profile from nearly every other brand. Try this citrusy, slightly coconut-flavored tequila in a highball with three parts Patrón Añejo and one part club soda.   

2. Tequila Ocho Plata

At the liquor store, it could be easy to mistake Tequila Ocho for a nondescript bottle of wine. What's inside each uniquely vintage designated bottle, though, is also not unlike a perfect glass of vino: crisp, natural, and just a little bit earthy.  

This tequila brand lets its natural agave flavoring speak for itself. Made from only overripe plants, Tequila Ocha Plata is a great spirit option for a cocktail because its clean, refreshing flavor isn't overpowering in a mixed drink. Enjoy Tequila Ocho in a simple margarita to gauge the difference between this brand and other tequilas. You'll be able to taste the subtle agave flavor often overlooked in other brands. Dial back the tartness by swapping the margarita mix for limeade which will help this tequila shine.

Tequila Ocho is slow-cooked to bring out the natural flavoring and sugars of the agave. The Plata — or silver — variation is not aged and makes an excellent addition to any home's bar cart. It's a bit of a splurge, averaging around $40 per bottle, but you won't be making a mistake by mixing this spirit in any cocktail.

3. Espolòn

Espolòn is a budget-friendly tequila three steps up from any other brand at this price point. This spirit has a citrusy, grassy taste that might make your lips pucker even more than usual when drinking by itself. However, the added acidity makes a great companion in a refreshing cocktail. 

For a sweet and tart Paloma, mix one part Espolòn Blanco with two parts pink grapefruit soda or grapefruit juice. Add just a splash of lime juice, ice, a few slices of fresh grapefruit, and perhaps a dash of agave nectar. The citrusy notes play well together and bring out the natural sourness of both the tequila and grapefruit. 

Averaging around $25 for a 750ml bottle, Espolòn is a quality tequila that won't break the bank. The premium, Espolòn Cristalino, bottle rings up a little more than twice the price at $60. The Cristalino takes a mixture of Espolòn's añejo and extra añejo varieties and removes the coloring through a charcoal filter. The aged oak barrel flavor stays the same, making this extra-special tequila blend a unique splurge. 

4. El Jimador

El Jimador is another affordable tequila brand similar in taste to the more expensive Gran Centenario. Averaging at around $20 for a 750ml bottle, El Jimador is a great option to stock in your bar cart and break out in case of a sudden party-related emergency. 

The unaged silver bottles are crystal clear tequila with a more subtle agave flavor than others on this list. The lightly fruity taste is an excellent choice for bolder cocktails with more inventive ingredients. For a sweet drink with a kick, make a Bee's Knees with 2 ounces of silver tequila, a tablespoon of honey, and 2 ounces of lemonade or fresh lemon juice. On a hot summer's day, mix El Jimador with fresh strawberry or peach puree and some sparking rosé for a fruity bellini. 

El Jimador's silver tequila, in particular, has won over 22 awards, including the silver medal in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. This entirely hand-harvested tequila is double-distilled in Jalisco before going through a natural fermentation process which helps push forward the crispiness of this tequila.

5. La Gritona Reposado

This small batch, woman-owned distillery is a newer tequila on shelves across the United States. La Gritona Reposado Tequila is produced in a small distillery in Jalisco. The company found success by supplying local bars and restaurants across Los Angeles before expanding to over 40 more states throughout the country.

The unique pop-top bottle contains a reposado tequila that is surprisingly peppery in the aftertaste, making it the perfect tequila brand for a spicy margarita. Prepare a margarita as normal, with either margarita mix or limeade. Drop a few slices of fresh jalapeño in the glass, seeds and all. If you want a little sweetness to balance that extra kick, swap out triple sec for peach schnapps instead. La Gritona is not a very sweet tequila by itself, so there's no shame in adding some of your own. 

La Gritona will cost around $50 for 750ml, but it'll feel like an investment as you drink the barrel-rested tequila. You may even want to use the bottle for a nice repurposed flower vase, as the company demonstrated on its Instagram account.

6. Don Julio

Don Julio is another A-list tequila brand. The Jalisco-based distillery makes a wide variety of tequilas at different price points. The most famous among them — named 1942 after the year Don Julio was conceived – is best enjoyed by itself. However, the standard blanco or añejo selections are more cocktail and budget-friendly.

The crisp, fruity Don Julio Blanco pairs perfectly with fresh orange juice in a tequila sunrise. For this anytime-of-day-drink, mix 1.5 ounces of tequila with 4 ounces of orange juice and a splash of grenadine. You can also try swapping out the blanco tequila for Don Julio's spiced añejo, which will give your sunrise more of a warm, smoky flavor. 

This brand is on the more expensive side of this list, averaging at around $50 for a 750ml bottle — or around 17 shots. Still, the quality of the spirit inside is just as good as others at an even higher price point. 

7. Tequila Tapatío

Tequila Tapatío shares its name with the arguably more famous hot sauce brand. Though unrelated, the name is a precursor that this tequila is going to get a little spicy. 

You'll notice an almost peppery flavoring upon the first few sips of Tapatío, followed by an earthy aftertaste. That one-two punch of flavor works well in various cocktails, allowing you to get inventive with spice. Try Tapatío in a Mexican Mule — a variation of the Moscow Mule. Mix one part Tequila Tapatío with two parts ginger beer. Add a splash of fresh lime juice and a lime wedge for a refreshing drink with a kick. This is also a great tequila brand to make a spicy margarita. 

If you're looking for even more of a kick, use Tapatìo 110 — aka, Tapatio's 110-proof blanco tequila. At $60, this spirit is more expensive than the rest of Tapatío's product line, but a little bit goes a long way with this high-proof alcohol.

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