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Mex Panther

That’ll Hunt: The best sipping tequila for your money, period

  • 26 November 2013

We buy things. We test them. Then we tell you which one’s best, or at least serviceable in a pinch. This is That’ll Hunt, a series that recurs whenever we get around to it. On tap: sipping tequilas.

They don’t tell you this when you’re starting out, but it’s easier to carve a turkey when you’re one drink in.

This holiday season, make that drink tequila — a.k.a. the sippin’ spirit of our national moment.

To help you navigate the blue agave waters – and to get ourselves three sheets frosty – we sat down with Philip Ward of Mayahuel, the NYC restaurant devoted to “correcting people’s misconstrued notions about agave spirits.” 

THAT'LL HUNT: El Tesoro Añejo
Rich. Decadent. Kinda like chocolate and aged at least 2-3 years in oak barrels (more than the usual term for añejo). This is the tequila that’ll hunt for every occasion: gifts, guests and carving the turkey alone in the kitchen. If you’re buying a gift or drinking for yourself this season, get El Tesoro Añejo. Buy it here.

The rest of what's tasty:

Tequila Ocho Extra Añejo
Ward favors Ocho, a small-batch tequila that “breaks rules.” Each individually numbered bottle designates the year it was produced and the exact agave field where it was harvested. “There’s a variation in the plants and soil each year,” he says, meaning your Ocho today won’t be the same as the one next year ... much like a fine wine. Buy it here.

“Bartenders hate the word 'smooth,' " says Ward. "Booze is supposed to taste like something." We agree. Fortaleza is a full-bodied blanco that kicks you in the buds. So basically it’s a tasty moonshine. If you like the high-test, this is for you. Buy it here.

Tequila Cabeza
For bolder flavors, either neat or in a mixed drink, Ward suggests Cabeza, a single-estate producer that specializes in “overproofed” spirits. “It’s 86 proof instead of the usual 80,” says Ward, who uses Cabeza as his restaurant’s well spirit. Hint: slightly bolder, but you’ll pleasantly adjust by the second sip. Buy it here.

Del Maguey Azul

Instead of tequila, try its spicier cousin, made from the mash of the maguey plant instead of agave. “This is the closest you’ll get to drinking ‘tequila’ 200-300 years ago,” says Ward, noting the earthy, smoky flavor of Del Maguey’s limited edition bottle. Buy it here.

The Specifics

El Tesoro Añejo

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