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The great thing about good tequila is that it doesn’t have to cost a small fortune. You don’t need to travel too far up the shelf at the liquor store to find a serviceable bottle that works as both a tasty shooter and a solid cocktail base. There’s a nice range to choose from starting at $20 per bottle — each sure to hit every marker of smooth drinkability.
The three bottles below show a range of relatively cheap bottles of tequila that hit that perfect Paloma or marg-mixer. We’ve mostly erred towards Blanco (or plata) tequilas here to keep costs down. Generally speaking, if you dig the Blanco expression, you’ll really love that label’s Reposado and Añejo options.
Use this list as a starting point from which to build your tequila shelf.
Story: You might be wondering about the unique, spooky, skeleton riding a rooster on the bottle. Espolon means “spur” in Spanish. It’s a reference to the rooster, a popular Mexican symbol. Like a few other distillers in the world (including Copper & King’s), Espolon blasts rock music while its agave is fermenting. Who knows if this moves the needle, but this rocking distillery, founded in 1998, has won numerous awards over the past two decades.
Tasting Notes: This filtered blanco tequila is surprisingly smooth and light. It’s as well-rounded as a tequila that spent months in a barrel maturing, even though it didn’t. It’s sweet, subtly vegetal, with hints of spice and citrus. It’s as at home in a Margarita as it is in the form of an easy to drink shot. Only $25.99
Tasting Notes: Mint, agave, and echoes of vanilla open up this sip. There are bitter notes that tie back to a vegetal state and a slight chewiness. The taste is so damn smooth will remaining agave rich. It ends with a breath of fresh air and a note of spiciness. Only $43.99