This 12 months, up the ante in your apéritif and digestif recreation with agave. No disrespect to palomas, however the most effective sipping tequila is nice for a lot greater than making icy combined drinks. Advanced notes on the nostril and palate—assume honey, toast, and caramel—accompany many sipping tequilas. Think about them on the after-dinner fireplace, in lieu of your favourite pony of port.
We’re speaking tequila, and, no, we don’t imply margaritas. Excessive-quality sipping tequilas, rooted in Mexican custom and reliant upon generations of information and care, are simply as compelling as that cup of single malt. Trying to spherical out your bar cart? We’ve consulted award-winning bartender Jena Ellenwood and superior sommelier Jennifer Estevez for perception into tequila’s many complexities to uncover among the greatest bottles round. Choose your tequila lean and crisp? Advanced and nutty? Someplace in between? No matter your palate, your desire for ice, or your candy tooth, there’s a sipping tequila that’s best for you (and for all the chums you’re purchasing for). Salud!
Options to Maintain in Thoughts
Kinds of Sipping Tequilas:
Any high-quality tequila is usually a sipping tequila, however aged spirits are sometimes most well-liked for this sort of ingesting as a result of they’re richer in type. Impartial tequilas, with fewer particular person taste elements, are sometimes higher in combined cocktails for this very motive. Blanco tequila is aged with or with out wooden, for a most of 59 days, says superior sommelier and CEO of selling and communications for OMvino Jennifer Estevez. From there, tequilas are aged longer: A minimal of 60 days in oak for reposado; one 12 months in oak for añejo, and three years for further añejo.
Smoothness comes all the way down to what presents on the palate, says award-winning New York bartender and cocktail educator Jena Ellenwood. “Is it spherical, full, lush, creamy? We’re speaking texture, or ‘mouthfeel’ right here,” she says. “When purchasing for a sipping tequila, I would like one which makes me wish to shut my eyes and sit with it coating my palate.” She says smoothness usually represents a spirit with balanced pH, alcohols, and sugars.
The flavors obvious in tequila can range significantly, says Ellenwood. “The agave plant comprises extra chemical compounds than some other fruit or grain that people distill or ferment with,” she says. “Meaning there are extra alternatives for variation in taste.” Some to anticipate embody inexperienced herbs, mint, inexperienced pepper, ripe fruit, and cinnamon. “No two tequilas style alike!”
Ageing performs a big position in growing a tequila’s taste profile. “The longer the interval of barrel-aging and the newer the barrels that the spirit is aged in are, the extra spice and vanilla you’re going to get on the nostril and the creamier the feel will likely be on the palate,” Estevez says. “The flavors of fruit and veggies in ageing spirits usually get a dried attribute, just like wine, however with spirits the method tends to be a bit bit slower, as a result of the upper alcohol ranges usually act as a preservative.”
Our High Picks
Finest Total: Clase Azul Reposado
The blue and white ceramic bottle that homes this benchmark tequila might be already acquainted to you. Clase Azul’s easy, honeyed taste is simply as resonant as its iconic bottle. Produced in one of many state of Jalisco’s highest factors, this distillate comes from agave that has grown for six to eight years. The tequila itself spends eight months in bourbon barrels, yielding a sipping tequila that’s as refined because the bottle it is available in. This is likely one of the best tequilas available on the market, hands-down.
Finest Worth: Tromba Blanco
At underneath $40 a bottle, this floral and citrus-forward tequila is a superb entry level. Smooth and forgiving flavors make this tequila excellent for sipping earlier than dinner, as a better-than-Champagne apéritif. Made primarily within the Jalisco area of Mexico, this is a superb cool-weather sipper that guarantees to warm you from the within out.
Finest Reposado: Severo Reposado
Reposado, or “rested”, tequila have to be matured in massive, white oak barrels for no less than two months earlier than launch. Maturation time, although, relies on the person producer. Within the case of Severo, the golden-yellow tequila spends 10 months in American oak barrels, for a barely nutty, caramelized expression that lasts lengthy on the palate.
Finest Añejo: 1800 Añejo
Lengthy a standard-bearer within the vast world of agave, 1800 has produced world-class tequila from one hundred pc agave since its namesake 12 months. Añejo tequila should spend 12 months in oak barrels, and this spirit spends a minimal of 14 months in barrel, yielding toasty, complicated notes that may maintain as much as every thing from an after-dinner cigar to an assertive steak.
Finest Sustainable: Tequila El Tequileño Reposado Gran Reserva
This one hundred pc additive-free tequila is extra than simply scrumptious. Ninety-eight % of all byproduct created within the making of the El Tequileño line of tequilas is reused on the distillery and within the agave fields. Tony Salles, a third-generation grasp distiller, is chargeable for this explicit mix, which advantages from volcanic spring water from the Volcan de Tequila and which presents up notes of honey, cacao, and grass.
Finest Specialty: Løs Sundays Coconut Tequila
Consider it or not, flavored tequilas could be nice for sipping, too. This coconut model from Australians Mitchell Hayes and Oliver Williams, Løs Sundays is made in Jalisco from a mix of highland and lowland Blue Weber agave and is infused with coconut extract on the finish of distillation. It’s a light-weight, playful sipping tequila that coconut lovers are positive to get pleasure from. And in case you choose your coconut combined right into a cocktail, use this spirit for distinctive margaritas, and more.
Finest Cristalino: Volcán De Mi Tierra Cristalino Tequila
Cristalino is an añejo tequila that has been filtered so as to take away coloration and particulate. The result’s a sipping tequila that drinks like probably the most complicated, oak-aged tequilas with out impurities disturbing the spirit’s readability. This stellar expression presents up notes of tobacco, vanilla, and dried fruit.
Finest Splurge: Patsch Extra Añejo
Whether or not you’re searching for a tequila to reward that particular somebody otherwise you merely need a bespoke bottle on your personal attractive bar, Patsch’s Further Añejo is the splurge for you. The hand-painted, hand-blown glass bottle comprises an additional añejo tequila that has aged an astonishing seven years. It’s deeply pigmented, richly flavorful tequila with actual endurance, and though it’s costly, it’s price each penny.
Ask the Specialists
What’s tequila, precisely?
The spirit can solely be produced throughout the Mexican state of Jalisco and designated municipalities in Michoacan, Nayarit, Guanajuato, and Tamaulipas. (Agave-based spirits made exterior of those designations are thought-about mezcal.) Tequila have to be made utilizing solely Blue Weber agave, says Ellenwood, “a plant that takes between 7 to 10 years to mature.” As soon as mature, she says, the leaves are stripped and the hearts—generally known as piñas—are steamed, roasted, or baked earlier than being pressed, mashed, or shredded to yield juice, which is then fermented. Agave liquid undergoes at the very least two distillations earlier than turning into tequila. The totally different types of tequila, says Estevez, are “primarily outlined by ageing and time spent in oak,” with the exception being Cristilano, a classification of tequila whereby tequila is filtered by charcoal to take away coloration and impurities.
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