Although we may want to drink top shelf, our budgets don’t always allow it. But thanks to the popularity of the category, there are many budget tequila bottles under $30 to choose from. While these picks aren’t made for sipping, they are fine to shoot or use for cocktails. Knowing which budget tequila bottles are the best comes in handy, especially when you’re ready to make a batch of Margaritas or Palomas.
The most important thing to note when making a purchase is to make sure that your bottles say 100% agave. Otherwise you’re drinking a mixto tequila which only requires 51% agave to be included. As a result, mixtos don’t have the full agave flavors that make the spirit so great. Typically you’ll find your best options at the $30 and under price point with blancos or reposados. This is due to the lack of long aging which increases the production time and cost. Give these picks a try in your next at home cocktail!
Budget Tequila Picks
Released in November 2018, Tequila Mi CAMPO Blanco is a 100% blue agave tequila. Blue agave is harvested after 7 years of aging and then cooked for 38 hours. After the agaves are squeezed—NOT with a tahona—the cooked juices are fermented for 3 to 5 days in open stainless steel tanks. After distillation, the blanco rests for 3 weeks in French oak Napa Valley chardonnay barrels. Bottled at 80 proof.
Olmeca Altos is the result of a unique collaboration between Master Distiller Jesús Hernandez, a team of engineers from Kentucky and two acclaimed UK bartenders, the late Henry Besant and Dre Masso. The distillery is located 6,900 feet above sea level in the heart of Los Altos. Olmeca Altos is produced using the traditional tahona method with agave from the Highlands—60% comes from Olmeca Altos’ own estates and 40% from third party sources.
Milagro is a tequila brand that uses only agaves grown on the estate of Juan de la Torre, which is now a partner in the brand. His agaves were unaffected by the bacteria which caused a shortage in agave and tequila production in the mid ’90s. Most tequilas are distilled twice, but Milagro is distilled three times, twice in a pot still and once in a stainless steel column still.
Distilleria San Matias is one of the oldest tequila producers in Mexico, and its brand Pueblo Viejo is considered one of the leading brands in the Mexican market, now recognized in the US. The reposado is made from 100% agave grown in the Los Altos, Jalisco . It’s aged for 9 months in American oak.
Distiller Cirilo Oropeza claims that playing rock music to his vats of fermenting agave helps to “inspire” the yeast. Back on the US market after a multi-year hiatus, this tequila’s eye-catching new packaging is based on 19th century engravings and depicts Ramón the rooster, as well as the skeletal figures of Guadalupe and Rosarita, legendary heroes of Mexico’s struggle for independence. After all, who doesn’t love skeletons?
Cimarrón Reposado Tequila is produced at the Tequileña Distillery by Master Distiller Enrique Fonseca. Made using 100% estate-grown blue weber agave, it’s a blend of 80% tequila distilled from a double column-still and 20% tequila distilled from pot-stills. This rested tequila is bottled after aging 3 to 6 months in American white oak.
Tequila Corazón is distilled twice before being infused with oxygen and bottled. Corazón believes that this process helps to lift the delicate aromas and flavors from the 6 to 8 year old agave plants. These plants have been estate-grown and harvested in the Los Altos region of Mexico since 1886.
So now you know the best budget tequila for cocktails. And knowing is half the battle.
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