Margaritas have been a go-to warm weather thirst-quencher in Mexico and beyond since at least the early 20th century. It’s a classic daisy-style cocktail, meaning it’s a sour sweetened by fruit liqueur, as the traditional Margarita recipe consists of tequila, lime juice and triple sec. And countless variations abound — frozen, stirred, pick your fruit, pick your chili pepper — regardless of whether the glass is rimmed with salt or not. Margaritas can technically be made with any style of tequila, but clear blanco expressions, sometimes known as plata, are the most refreshing choice for summery conditions. Here are 11 of the best tequilas for Margaritas, all made from 100% agave grown in the Mexican state of Jalisco, the home of tequila production.
The name Cierto translates to “true” in English, which also fits the flavor profile of this pure agave beauty from master distillers extraordinario Sergio Mendoza and Enrique Fonseca. The distillate is rested in stainless steel before bottling, which amplifies the roasted agave, slightly herbal and bright citrus flavors that harmonize with the sweet and sour foundation of a classic Margarita.
This brand from Eduardo ‘Lalo’ González, grandson of Don Julio González (sí, that Don Julio), is only available as a blanco. González says he has no plans for any other expression because he believes this one — made with only water, Champagne yeast and roasted, mature agave — stands alone as an ambassador of sorts for the blanco category. Its bold, peppery, tart flavor profile adds extra zing to cocktails.
This tequila is hands down one of the best spirits bargains across all categories. It’s a high quality 100% agave for less than $30 a liter! If you’re having a party where Margaritas are on the menu (or it’s BYOT), this bright, roasty-flavored tequila is a flawless choice so you can spend extra scratch on limes and avocados for the guac.
Fortaleza is an independent brand that was founded by Guillermo Erickson Sauza in 2005. It’s a fan favorite of numerous tequila aficionados around the world and is still produced in a tiny private distillery using laborious roasting, crushing and distillation methods on small copper pot stills. This rich, earthy and satisfying blanco sings in a Margarita. For extra oomph at a higher ABV, try the Fortaleza Blanco Still Strength.
This eco-friendly brand, the first tequila to earn a B Corp certification for its sustainability initiatives, also happens to make a delicious base for cocktails. The grapefruit peel, grassy, peppery, somewhat bittersweet chocolate flavors are a natural match for all Margarita ingredients, even the salt.
In Defense of Mixtos, The Most Unloved of All TequilasCheap? Yep. But there’s quality and history to be found in this agave spirit.
The Tommy’s Margarita is a variation perfected by Julio Bermejo at his family’s San Francisco restaurant, Tommy’s, in the early 1990s. He wanted to spotlight the natural integrity of 100% agave tequilas, so he swapped out the triple sec for a touch of agave nectar for sweetness. This brand was founded by the late, great agave maven Tomas Estes with master distiller Carlos Camarena, and it shows how crisp, fresh and delightful the Margarita riff can taste.
Brand founder Sophie Decobecq has a background in biochemistry that informs the meticulous fermentation techniques used to make this and all her tequilas. Agave heads love this additive-free expression for its authentic character representation of Jalisco Highlands-grown agave with an elegantly zesty finish.
Made with both Highland and Lowland estate-grown agave, this tequila makes an intriguing case for using a combination of terroirs to create new taste sensations. The brand gets its name from the 1966 surf documentary Endless Summer and fittingly rides all the flavor waves — citrusy, earthy, salty, chocolatey and even slightly floral — making it a fun choice for a Marg.
Made in the mountains of Los Altos (the Highlands) of Jalisco, Tromba is produced under the stewardship of Marco Cedano, who has been crafting premium tequilas since the late 1980s. This spirit has a clean, herbaceous and slightly tropical taste that provides a refreshing backdrop for a juicy, shaken cocktail.
Yes, this is the Guy Fieri brand. No, I haven’t been kidnapped and held hostage by an agent of Flavortown. It’s not just Fieri’s hair that stands out amongst other celebrity tequila label owners. Because he worked extensively in the hospitality industry before delving into consumer products, it’s one of the precious few that doesn’t bill itself as “smooth” — in other words, it still tastes like roasted agave, not melted vanilla ice cream. It’s unexpectedly crisp on the palate, with a finish that brings flavors of grapefruit peel and a subtle hint of pepper. Give it a shake!
As the name suggests, this brand is inspired by the moon and stars. For the Adobe Brick Project conservancy program, Astral’s sustainability initiative, the facility converts its distillation waste — soil washed off the plants, spent fibers and liquid runoff — into adobe bricks to build much-needed homes for local communities (which equals about two bricks for every bottle sold). Plus, the stars align in its balanced flavor profile, too, making a scintillating base for a round of Margaritas.
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