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A while ago I was told that I should choose my tequilas carefully since ones are meant to be drank on their own(not chased, not mixed) and others (supposedly cause they're lower quality) can and should be mixed. So now that the scope of the site has been changed I feel like I can now ask this here.

So what are the characteristics I should look for in a tequila(other than price) to learn how to differentiate a good-for-drinks tequila from a drink-it-on-its-own one?

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Generally, the longer it's barrel aged, the more drinkable it is. Anejo tequila is aged longest (I believe at least a year, but keep me honest). Reposado is aged a bit less (6 months or so), and Blanco is generally not aged for any significant time.

You can usually see it in the color of the tequila as well, (though many cheap tequilas are pretty amber in color, but certainly not aged very long or well, so this isn't a great measure of how good it is). Blancos, as their name suggests, tend to be clear in color, Anejos can have a very deep, nearly brown color. Reposados start to show some of the characteristics of a good tequila (pepper, etc), and Anejos can be downright complex.

I suggest that you don't drink Blancos straight. Reposados can be good sipped and are great mixed, and are a good price point. Most Anejos would be wasted as a mixed drink, and should be sipped.

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Tequila has come a long way from when it was 1st manufactured, back in the day the traditional way to drink tequila was in a shot glass because it actually did taste like you were drinking paint stripper!... this is not the case anymore, now some tequila is drank from wide mouth cups and sipped like wine or a really nice bourbon. Contrary to popular belief tequila doest always give you the craziest hang over, at least not the newer tequilas since they are better quality, that is, if you are drinking real tequila. Real tequila is made from the agave plant and depending on the region grown in Mexico ( south, north) will have a slight different taste. Sometimes you may find tequilas that say mixto or mixed, stay away from these types since they are not pure tequila and should not be drank without mixing it in a cocktail or mix drink. This mixto tequila will not taste as good and will give you a crappy headache the next day. There are different types of aging process for tequilas. There is the silver, gold or aged and extra aged, all have distinct flavors and undertones. Here is a good link with some tequila information and history also for tasting. So if the bottle says mixed or mixto then it's for mixing and should not be drank alone unless you want to feel like a truck hit you the next day. Any other kind of real tequila should be ok, it all depends on taste and preference. Just remember that the first swig you take is suppose to burn, lol enjoy!

This is just my opinion, but on a personal note, patron is over hyped and you can find way Better quality tequilas at a better price. I personally like casamigos the brand by George clooney it's actually pretty good, also Don Julio and Herradura are good.

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    If you can find Cabo Wabo, Sammy Hagar's Blue Agave tequila, it's very smooth and drinkable straight or in cocktails :-) – Rory Alsop Apr 8 '16 at 18:19
  • I used to be skeptical of tequila before I started drinking it, now I have learned to appreciate it. Just like any other drink you need to find what you like about, I usually take small sips and try to swish and taste it with my whole tongue, I do this with my mouth closed this prevents the over powering taste of alcohol mask the flavor once I find the notes and taste I swallow it and open my mouth a little and breath through my mouth you will taste some undertones, once you know what you like about it you begin to enjoy it better, plus you get the added bonus of looking like a BOSS! – Mr Hons Apr 8 '16 at 20:15
  • Good answer but I disagree with advertising brands. – paparazzo Apr 11 '16 at 21:42
  • I agree with @Paparazz. But I think mentioning brands is ok in reference to awards, official rankings and reviews. Also in terms of taste, texture, ingredients etc. Not personal preference. – Quizzical Creature Apr 15 '16 at 13:02
  • Wait, I didn't get it at 1st when paparazzi said it but since you just backed it up, are you guys saying I should not mention any brand names unless it's a probable fact? Is so let me know so I can edit. – Mr Hons Apr 15 '16 at 14:21
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A general rule when it comes to liquor is that if it's a cheap, generic version of it's type then it's probably better mixed into a cocktail. This is because the cocktail masks the poor quality of the liquor, but you still get the kick of the alcohol.

On the other hand, if it's a high quality version of the liquor then the reason you should buy that liquor is for its own merits. For instance, I'd never buy a 100 dollar bottle of Scotch and mix it with ginger-ale, would be a big waste of money.

That said, alcohol is subjective so if you like drinking a cheap tequila straight that's your prerogative. In general, which you mix and which you drink straight is a matter of your own taste and research on what's a 'good' tequila.

  • My general rule is if I won't drink it neat I won't mix it in a cocktail. – Wayne In Yak Apr 18 '16 at 13:58
  • Is that a thing (scotch and ginger-ale)? – Oliver Dec 28 '18 at 3:20
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For the most part more expensive tequila is better. For drinking go with 100% agave. For drinking most people prefer gold.

For margaritas mid to low end tequila seems to be just fine (I can't tell the difference). I think fresh squeezed lime does more for a margarita than expensive tequila. Most people prefer silver in margaritas. I went to a party once and the guy was serving Patron and a margaritas mix - I was like dude time to skip the mix.

The big names are good but they also charge a premium.

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