Bartenders Tell Us Which Tequilas Are The Best Value For Your Money

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For a long time, there was a negative stigma surrounding tequila in America (the rest of the world has known how good tequila is for a long time). Here in the U.S., it was seen as the drink of frat boys, partiers, and middle-aged women guzzling high-proof margaritas. Tequila wasn’t a drink to be enjoyed and sipped like whiskey, Cognac, or rum. It was a spirit to be taken only in shot form, with a lime and a little salt. While you can still shoot tequila and no one would be mad at you for enjoying a margarita, today tequila is just as suited for slow sipping as it is a spirit anchoring your favorite cocktail.

With the increase in tequila quality hitting the mainstream market came an increase in price. Luckily, there are still reasonably priced tequilas that deliver the goods (especially for mixing drinks). That’s why we asked some of our favorite bartenders to tell us the best value tequilas on earth.

Ann-Marie Verdi, beverage director and co-owner at The Bellwether in Studio City, California

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El Jimador Blanco. We do a lot of infusing here at The Bellwether, so this mild tequila easily takes on the flavors I’m looking to get into it. It mixes well on its own and for about $20 a bottle, you just can’t beat it.”

Price: $20

Eric Trousdale, beverage director at Arbella in Chicago

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Lunazul and Cabrito Blanco. Both are around 14$ for a 750ml at my local liquor store. My go-tos for making a pitcher of Palomas to bring to a friend’s barbecue, though both are smooth enough to do shots of.”

Price: Lunazul $20, Cabrito Blanco $25

Shawngina “Gigi” Walls, bartender at Hilton Garden Inn Raleigh-Cary in North Carolina

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Jose Cuervo, because most customers prefer it. I believe they like it because it’s not white, and most white liquors are strong.”

Price: $15.99

Charity Johnston, bar manager at ROKU in Los Angeles

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Altos Tequila. It’s a farm-to-glass product with hints of fruit and I love its herbal tones.”

Price: $25

Claire Sprouse, bartender at Sunday In Brooklyn in New York

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“You can’t rush a good tequila — it has a deep cultural history and requires a lot of care and patience. Two of my ‘good deals’ in this category are 86 Co. Cabeza and Pueblo Viejo Blanco. These are made properly, taste delicious, and won’t break the bank.”

Price: Cabeza $35, Pueblo Viejo Blanco $19.99

Eric Ochoa, bartender at Over Proof in San Francisco

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Tapatio Blanco Tequila. It’s a tequila produced by a family who have been distilling tequila since the mid-1800s. Tapatio Blanco can’t be beat in terms of quality and value. For around $30 (for a Liter), you’ll treat yourself to a well-balanced tequila with hints of white pepper & citrus. Great for margaritas or on its own!”

Price: $30

Jillian Voss, beverage manager at Dead Rabbit in New York

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“I really love Siembra Azul Blanco for a well-made and reasonable priced tequila. It’s fruity, earthy and finishes with bright flavors of citrus and cucumber, with a bit of peppery spice. It’s very versatile in cocktails and beautiful to sip on as well. Doesn’t hurt that the production methods are classic and the guys behind it contribute to the community and are heavily involved in TIP (Tequila Interchange Project, David Suro).”

Price: $35

Trevor Bierwirth, beverage director at SideDoor in Chicago

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Arette Tequila – it has an exceptional craft quality while maintaining a consumer friendly price. Really full bodied and smooth, works exceedingly well in cocktails, but can stand on its own.”

Price: $30

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