Learn about the different types of tequila and what's best for your next margarita.
Blanco, reposado, anejo – there are so many different types of tequila and they each have their own flavor profiles and favorite pairings. But how do you know which one is best for your favorite margarita, paloma or other tequila-based drink? Our expert mixologist Joey Torkelson walks us through the different types of tequila, how to use them on your menu and some delicious recipe ideas.
Q: What are some different types of tequila? What flavor notes would a customer expect from each kind?
I recommend using the acronym BRA to keep your tequilas in line: Blanco, Reposado and Añejo.
Starting with blanco – or silver/white – tequila, this is the type of tequila that has aged the least so it's very agave-forward. Here you’ll have value-driven tequilas like Jose Cuervo Tradicional (blue label) and Teremana, which are perfect for margaritas. Blanco tequila can get into a higher price range with Patron Silver, which has a clean taste and Tequila Ocho Plata, which recently scored 93 points in Forbes – it has nice, clean grassy notes that takes it over the top for sipping, but it’s also great in a margarita!
Next there’s reposado, which means rested. Reposado tequilas have had a few months to a year to age, taking on a darker color and the flavors of the wood its aged in. Reposado is seen more as a sipping tequila, with top of the line brands like Clase Azul, Don Julio 1942 and Casamigos.
Then there’s Añejo (or aged) and Extra Añejo (ultra-aged) tequila. Añejo tequila is aged one to three years in barrels, taking on an even darker color and richer taste than reposado. Obviously extra añejo is aged even longer – anything after three years is considered extra añejo.
Q: What’s the difference between tequila and mezcal?
Tequila and mezcal are both made from agave, but have totally different flavor profiles. Mezcal has a distinctly smoky flavor that sets it apart from not only tequila, but most spirits. Read through our mezcal versus tequila article to learn more about tequila’s smoky cousin.
Q: Which type of tequila is the smoothest?
I like to look at each category and choose accordingly. Smooth tequila is like fine wine. It depends on your mood and whether you’re looking to sip or blend into a cocktail.
Q: What kind of tequila do you use for margaritas?
If I am making a margarita for myself, I will tend to utilize blanco. For friends, I will choose reposado. Why? When using the blanco, it has zero bite therefore, people drink it quicker. When you use reposado, there is a bit of a bite and strength to it which slows people down.
Q: Which flavors pair well with each kind of tequila?
They all pair well with Island Oasis – it really comes down to personal preference and what works the best behind your bar. These are some of my favorite margaritas which pair Island Oasis Margarita Mix with other Island Oasis mixes:
Want more pro bar tips from Joey? Visit the Island Oasis Margarita of the Month page for monthly tips and recipes.