Tequila is a Mexican distilled spirit made from the blue agave plant, and it comes in different types that have their unique flavors. While blanco, reposado, and añejo are all tequilas, they differ significantly in taste. So, how do you choose which one to buy, and can you substitute one for the other? Here’s a breakdown of the different types of tequila and when to use them.
Blanco, also known as silver tequila, is unaged, and it has a strong agave flavor with hints of pepper and citrus and a spicy finish. Blanco is perfect for cocktails like Margaritas or highball drinks like Ranch Water.
Reposado, which means "rested" in Spanish, is aged in oak barrels for two to twelve months. It has a smooth flavor with notes of oak, vanilla, and caramel, making it ideal for cocktails. Reposado adds a sophisticated nuance to classic Margaritas and other upscale spins like Hennessy Margarita, Grand Marnier Margarita, or Tequila and Ginger Ale.
Añejo, which means "old" or "vintage" in Spanish, is aged in oak barrels for one to four years, giving it a rich and dark flavor with notes of vanilla and cinnamon. Añejo is best enjoyed neat or on the rocks.
In addition to the three main types, there are other types of tequila, such as joven, which is a mix of unaged and aged tequila, and cristalino, which is filtered añejo tequila with the bright notes of blanco.
When shopping for tequila, look for mid-priced brands in the range of $22 to $35 for a 750 ml bottle. Espolon Blanco, El Tesoro Blanco, and Patrón Silver are good choices for blanco, while Milagro Reposado and Suerte Reposado are excellent options for reposado.
Choosing the right tequila comes down to the occasion and personal preference. Blanco is great for cocktails, reposado adds sophistication to drinks, and añejo is best savored neat or on the rocks.