The Best Tequila for Making Margaritas
What is the best tequila for margaritas? It depends on the margarita! Each of our top tequila brands has a unique flavor profile that fits your perfect 'rita.
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In its most pure form, a classic margarita is simply tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice. And when it’s that simple, you want the ingredients to shine, which is why it’s important to use the best tequila for margaritas.
Choosing the best tequila for margaritas is mostly a matter of preference, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First, it’s important to know the different styles: Blanco, joven, reposado, añejo and extra añejo. And of course, there’s tequila’s smokier cousin, mezcal.
Blanco is the most agave-forward tequila and the best for margarita recipes, palomas and other tequila cocktails. Reposado is also great for margaritas, thanks to its smoother taste and fuller body. Joven is often a mix of unaged tequilas (or occasionally aged and unaged). It’s inexpensive and can be a winner in cocktails. Save aged tequilas, like añejo and extra añejo (añejo means “aged”), for sipping.
When buying tequila, look for one that says 100% de agave or puro de agave. The tequila brands labeled tequila mixto or oro have been cut with an inferior natural cane spirit. Not only will the flavor be less complex, but it’s probably made with artificial coloring, too.
Here are our favorite tequila brands for margaritas.
Casa Dragones Blanco
Olmeco Altos Plata
Made with 100% blue agave from the Los Altos region of Mexico, this classic tasting tequila has herbal notes and a light fresh citrus aroma. You’ll maybe taste lime, lemon and that distinctive agave flavor, with a nice long-lasting pleasant finish. Olmeca Altos Plata has won gold and silver medals at several international spirits competitions, and with good reason. It’s a real stunner for the price.
Don Julio Blanco
In the world of tequila, this brand is synonymous with top-shelf quality. Don Julio Blanco is double distilled and additive-free, and it doesn’t have an astringent or overpowering taste like some lesser blancos. It’s more light citrus, like lemon, lime and grapefruit. You’ll want to savor this tequila, so if making a margarita, keep it simple: 1 1/2-2 oz. Don Julio blanco, fresh lime juice and 1/2 oz. agave syrup. Combine in a shaker with ice, shake and serve over ice with a lime wedge garnish. Or add grapefruit juice instead of lime for a paloma.
Made by the grandson of Don Julio González of the iconic Don Julio tequila brand, Lalo is based in Austin, Texas but distilled in Jalisco. This blanco tequila is smooth and soft, completely additive free, and filled with floral and crisp flavors. While this makes a tremendous margarita, sip it alone first to get a sense of what you’re drinking.
El Jimador Silver Tequila
This is a good budget-friendly tequila with a fresh, crisp taste and citrusy flavor. It’s made with 100% blue Weber agave, double distilled and not aged, so it’s crystal clear. El Jimador is one of the most popular brands in the U.S., thanks to the price and that it makes a fine margarita.
Another good tequila for the price, Cimmaron is additive-free, transparent in color and filled with classic tequila taste. The flavor includes citrus, some baking spice notes and clean minerality. You can’t go wrong with this one for a perfectly zesty margarita. And at this price, you’ll likely want to keep a bottle on the shelf for quick-fix cocktails.
You’ll likely find Fortaleza Blanco at any agave spirit-focused bar in the country. Favored for its rich cooked agave aromas and peppery, herbal, spicy finish, it’s complex yet made for easy sipping. There’s a subtle fruitiness that blends well in a margarita or other tequila cocktails.
Teremana Blanco Tequila
With notes of citrus and vanilla, Teremana’s Blanco Tequila has a smooth finish that’s begging to be mixed into a margarita. Teremana produces small-batch tequila that is hand made in Jalisco, Mexico and is owned by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. If you’re new to mixing drinks, consult our margarita guide for expert tips.
Tequila Ocho Plata
Founded by a fifth generation agave farmer and third generation tequilero, Tequila Ocho Plata is a smooth and pleasant spirit that’s great for sipping but equally good in margaritas. Unaged, each vintage tastes slightly different because the agave harvested is grown in different fields. Because of its floral aroma, sweet agave notes and peppery finish, it pairs particularly well with citrus, like lime.
Exotico Blanco Tequila
Exotico Blanco Tequila is a well-priced spirit with a crisp, herbal flavor and hint of pepper and spice. Use it to take your cocktail to the next level, along with these other margarita recipe upgrades.
This blanco tequila has long been heralded as one of the best—especially for margaritas—from agave spirits experts, bartenders and tequila lovers. Aged in American white oak barrels for 45 days, Herradura Silver has a slight woodsy aroma, plus vanilla, fruit and grassy citrus notes. It’s smooth with a clean finish, and a staple on bar shelves far and wide.
Casamigos Reposado Tequila
Reposado means that the tequila has been aged in oak barrels. Casamigos Reposado Tequila is aged in casks previously used to barrel whiskey, which gives it a caramel flavor. This tequila also has some star power: George Clooney and Rande Gerbere originally founded the Casamigos brand!
Casa Noble Blanco Tequila
Casa Noble Blanco Tequila is a tequila made from 100% USDA-certified organic blue agave. This tequila is triple-distilled, giving it a very smooth flavor with hints of honey, citrus and of course, agave. Learn how to make a margarita—blended, on the rocks and virgin.
Clase Azul Reposado
Clase Azul Reposado is an “ultra-premium” spirit aged for eight months in oak barrels. The real selling point for this tequila (and a great conversation starter) might be its unique bottle. Each one is hand-painted by artisans from a village in Mexico. Here’s what to mix tequila with when you’re not in the mood for a margarita.
Hornitos Añejo has a lovely amber color and complex flavor profile with a light citrus finish. While most añejo tequila is better for sipping, Hornitos is the perfect choice for something like margarita sangria.
El Padrino Blanco Tequila
El Padrino Blanco Tequila is slow-fermented for up to 60 hours and then double-distilled for a smooth taste. This tequila has a unique flavor profile featuring—wait for it—banana and cinnamon.
1800 Blanco Tequila
1800 Blanco Tequila features delicate floral and fruit notes, and its clean taste makes it an excellent base for margaritas. You’ll never buy one of those plastic “juice” limes again after you try our fresh lime margarita recipe.
Espolòn Reposada Tequila
Espolòn Reposada Tequila is aged in new American oak barrels for three to five months, which gives it hints of oak in addition to agave flavor. The bold artwork on each label, based on work by Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada, shows parts of Mexican history.
Next, check out our list of essential margarita tools.