Tequila’s nuanced flavors and range of expressions continue to make it a popular go-to on restaurant and bar menus. Whether sipped neat or shaken in a classic cocktail, bartenders often turn to the agave-based spirit for its versatility and ability to showcase a region’s unique terroir.
With no shortage of tequila options on the market, finding the next great bottle can be a challenge. Turning to the experts, VinePair asked bartenders to share their recent favorites. From seasonal releases, to celebrity brands, to a few classic bottles every bar should have on hand, keep reading for the tequilas that bartenders are currently crushing on.
The Best New Tequilas Recommended By Bartenders:
- Casa Dragones Barrel Blend Añejo
- Cazadores Añejo Cristalino
- Fortaleza 2020 Winter Release Reposado
- G4 Extra Anejo
- Fortaleza Blanco
- Teremana Blanco
- Penta Tequila Diamante Reposado Cristalino
- Volcan Reposado
- ArteNOM 1414 Reposado
- Clase Azul Reposado
- Cincoro Tequila
- Tequila Casahuin Blanco
Keep reading for details about all of the recommended bottles!
“Casa Dragones Barrel Blend Añejo is a great new choice. The blanco has been a favorite tequila of mine, so when the añejo was released, I had to put it on our back bar. The oak aging gives the agave some really wonderful dessert flavors of vanilla and fall spices. The tequila drinks like a fine sipping whisky. All you need to do is pour it over ice, sit back, and enjoy!” —Tom Garvin, Beverage Director, Tribeca’s Kitchen, NYC
“We are loving Cazadores Añejo Cristalino ($40) behind the Perdida bar right now. It is a fun añejo with a lot of complex flavor notes. It is aged in oak for more than two years, but unlike traditional añejos, it is still clear in the glass. The almond and vanilla notes really complement a lot of the wood fire dishes that come out of our kitchen.” —Joseph Dyman, GM and Lead Bartender, Perdida, Denver
“Do I have to pick one? Fortaleza is a favorite producer of mine. I’ve been to the distillery many times, and the integrity behind their production is phenomenal. While their blanco is a standard sip for me, the 2020 Winter Release Reposado is a very cool bottling and worth tracking down for hardcore agave lovers. I’ve also recently picked up a bottle of G4 Extra Añejo made by the venerable Camarena family (G4 representing four generations handing down the heritage). This is a sleeper brand made with the utmost integrity. Every expression is a great value, including this extra-aged bottling.” —Charles Joly, World-Champion Mixologist & Co-Founder, Crafthouse Cocktails, Chicago
“Fortaleza Blanco: great price point, clean, sweet smelling, smooth tasting, and has just the right tequila bite to keep you coming back. We use it in Margaritas or when someone wants a twist on a whiskey drink, like a tequila Old Fashioned or Negroni.” —Sam Levy, Fern Bar at The Barlow, Sebastopol, Calif.
“Teremana Blanco: With its crisp and citrusy flavors, this small-batch blanco makes for a versatile tequila [in a] cocktail or enjoyed on its own. Its smooth and refreshing profile lends well to the tropical weather of Miami. Not to mention, being founded by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, it makes for a storied connection with his roots in the Miami area — with him having played college football at the University of Miami.” —Justin Wilson, Director of Outlets, SAAM Lounge in SLS Brickell, Miami
“One of my favorites right now is Teremana. It is truly a high-quality tequila that is completely transparent about [its] production from ground to bottle.” —Alex Jump, Bar Manager, Death & Co, Denver
“As the market is growing for more unique and artisanal spirits in the U.S., bartenders are shifting their focus to more terroir-driven products. At Palm&Pine, I believe in gracing our bar with small-batch spirits, especially in the agave categories. One of my favorite tequilas released very recently is the new offering from Penta Tequila. It’s not necessarily a cocktail-friendly spirit, but is a favorite sipper to pour for our guests when looking for something exceptional. I really like Penta’s approach to distillation — blending the art of winemaking with the history of traditional tequila-making methods. Penta Tequila’s Diamante Reposado Cristalino is aged for seven months in oak barrels and filtered with charcoal to remove the barrel-aged color, producing a tequila that highlights the personality of a reposado with a unique clarity and character. … I love the Cristalino because it plays with our curiosity for a neutral-colored Reposado, but then embraces our love for aged and rested spirits with its delicate layers.” —Jason Dumas, Bartender, Palm&Pine, New Orleans
“Volcan Reposado: a tequila that truly focuses on the terroir of the highlands of Mexico. This brand preaches its love for the process, and it shows in the juice. Plenty of fresh agave notes, but the pineapple is what really sticks out when tasting. We found use for it in a fall Negroni that took on some of the barrel flavors and paired it with Cynar, pear liqueur, and dry vermouth.” —Gary Wallach, Food & Beverage Director, Arlo SoHo, NYC
“Not necessarily ‘new new,’ but ArteNOM 1414 Reposado is definitely my favorite and deserves a spot on any bar. Produced by the Vivanco family who have decades of experience in agave production, this is a masterful example of terroir in tequila. Beautifully rounded, oily, [and] floral — with hints of green spice and balanced vanilla when needed — it is just an absolute stunner in the tequila world.” —Westin Galleymore, Spirits Director, Underbelly Hospitality, Houston
“This one is easy. Without a doubt, Clase Azul Reposado has been killing it everywhere in the last few years. I see it everywhere I go, from the nightlife industry empires, to the Hamptons, and all small venues and restaurants in between. This tequila is super smooth and tasty. Salute!” —Pedro Fernandez, Head Bartender, Amali, NYC
“My favorite new tequila is Cincoro. While the bottles are incredibly beautiful, the tequila is even better. Rivals anything out there; absolutely delicious!” — Eric Vanderveen, Bar Manager, The Empire Lounge & Restaurant, Louisville, Colo.
“It isn’t often that we add new tequila brands to the back bar here in Los Angeles. The category is undergoing a massive expansion, and it’s harder than ever to pierce the veil of marketing language surrounding many of these brands to discover whether or not they are being produced in a way that is consistent with our values. Our chief concerns in that regard are: ‘Is this brand manufactured in an ethical way (i.e., are the jimadors and other workers being appropriately compensated?)’ and ‘Are agaves being sourced in a fashion that is sustainable?’ … To that end, I’d like to nominate Tequila Cascahuin. In operation since 1904, the Cascahuin distillery produces some of our favorite other brands alongside their own marquee line of products. Cascahuin Blanco is an excellent, mineral-forward blanco tequila well suited for cocktails. The more premium-priced bottlings like Cascahuin Tahona or 48-proof have enough depth to be worth contemplating alone in a glass or over ice.” — Matthew Belanger, Head Bartender, Death & Co, Los Angeles
Published: March 26, 2021