10 Best Sipping Tequilas to Enjoy Right Now

Tequila continues to be one of the most popular spirits categories around. Whether you’re looking for a popular tequila to mix into a margarita or Tequila Sunrise, or simply want to pour a shot of the best tequila, there are thousands of tequila options out there for every drinker. And as the demand for “premium” bottles intended for savoring has soared over the last few years, you may be wanting to add the best sipping tequila bottle to your at-home bar for relaxed evenings.

Some of these higher-end bottles are aged or filtered to maximize smoothness, while others are rare or otherwise special in some way. According to the drinks market analysis firm International Wine and Spirits Record (IWSR), consumers have been gravitating toward higher-priced tequila bottles for a while, and that trend is only expected to accelerate. As of 2016, the segment they categorize as “super-premium and above” accounted for a mere 13% of global tequila volume. By 2026, that’s anticipated to reach 40% of category volume.

“Over the years, tequila has evolved from being a low-price shot to a more premium option used in cocktails and high-end sipping,” says Brandy Rand, chief strategy officer at IWSR. “Tequila has an association as an affordable luxury, and many brands are aligned with celebrities, leading to lifestyle-oriented marketing.”

The category also has grown as consumers learn more about tequila and seek to experiment with different expressions, and as consumers value tequila’s connection to Mexican heritage, creating a sense of place, she adds.

Which Type of Tequila is for Sipping?

In theory, any tequila made from 100% blue agave can be suitable to sip, as long as it’s a bottle you enjoy. For more information about what makes a good tequila, check out our beginner’s guide to tequila.

Many people prefer the crisp, bright flavors of a blanco (or plata/silver) tequila served neat. This style of Tequila is unaged and bottled within 60 days of distillation.

However, others gravitate toward agave spirits with some barrel-aging time as sipping tequila, like a reposado or añejo. Similar to aged whiskeys or aged rums, barrel-aged tequilas develop inviting vanilla, fruit and spice tones, making them ideal to savor slowly.


Is Reposado a Good Sipping Tequila?

In brief, reposado (“rested”) tequila is aged at least two months in oak, añejo is aged at least one year and extra añejo is aged a minimum of three years. Usually, the longer barrel time equates to deeper color and more intense flavor. 

Some purists staunchly believe that reposado is the ideal sipping tequila because barrel-aging smooths out some of the tequila’s natural peppery notes and amplifies honey notes, without hiding the character of the agave. But others appreciate the rich complexity of añejo, as longer aging coaxes out vanilla or even deep toffee notes alongside dried fruit and spice, which can unfurl further flavor as it sits in the glass.

In addition, some producers experiment with special cask finishes on top of standard aging times. Barrels that previously held sherry might add nutty or dried fruit tones, while ex-bourbon casks can layer on more intense vanilla and spice. These finishes add complexity and nuance, which can add to sipping appeal.

In other words, it’s about flavor, not age. The best sipping tequila is one that’s multi-dimensional enough to enjoy slowly.

Which Type of Tequila is the Smoothest?

When talking about whether a spirit is “smooth,” that usually indicates that it’s less fiery or less harsh than others. Alcohol heat isn’t necessarily always bad, and it can be tempered by adding ice or even a splash of water.

Those seeking a “smooth” tequila likely will want to bypass overproof bottlings, which are fiery by nature, and may want to seek out tequilas in the reposado and añejo range, where soothing honey, vanilla or caramel can make alcohol burn seem to recede a bit. Extra añejos can be delicious, but extended barrel time can draw out extra tannins. If overdone, that can create the perception of a little more harshness on the palate.

Perhaps the smoothest of all is cristalino, a relatively new tequila category. Named for its “crystal clear” appearance, cristalino is made by aging tequila, then charcoal-filtering out the color and flavor so it’s clear (or close to it), creating a lighter flavor. Some versions have sweetener added, usually agave nectar, which also helps take the edge off alcohol burn.

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