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Kent Wang

Which tequila to use for mixing

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Does it make much of a difference to use 100% agave tequila when making a margarita or other mixed drink?

I've been using Sauza Anejo Commerativo (which is not 100% agave) but I'm wondering if maybe a silver will be more versatile for mixing.

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I pretty much use Herradura Silver for mixing in cocktails aside from Margaritas. I find the Anejo and Reposado will mask most of the other ingredients I am mixing with. Not to mention the extra cost.

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I went through a phase where I used reposado a lot. But I've backed down to silver for almost everything. As with rum, the clean flavor of the base liquor turns out to me more appealing the more you work with cocktails.

The problem is finding a good 100% blue agave that doesn't break your budget. Herradura is excellent, but really expensive compared to Sauza Commemorativo. One that I've found is El Grito. It's about 2/3rds the price of Herradura, and 100-proof, which is pretty unusual. I'm not sure I'd recommend it for sipping, but for mixing, it's pretty hard to beat in a cost/benefit calculation.

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Definitely 100% agave. Definitely blanco. I can't imagine a circumstances where I'd want a really diluted tequila flavor. Although somewhere (don't remember where) I saw a margarita recipe years ago which used (approximately) 2/3 blanco and 1/3 reposado. Excellent variation.

As for the whole "cost" thing, shop your liquor stores, people! :smile:

There's a place in Boston that sells El Tesoro Blanco for $19.99/bottle. Yay me!

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i, too, would have to agree that 100% pure agave is the best for margaritas. it is definitely worth the price. i've got a quick question: which do you prefer in your margaritas? grand marnier, cointreau, or regular triple sec?

yum...this is making me thirsty. too bad summer's just about over. :wink:

-honorspianist

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I went through a phase where I used reposado a lot. But I've backed down to silver for almost everything. As with rum, the clean flavor of the base liquor turns out to me more appealing the more you work with cocktails.

The problem is finding a good 100% blue agave that doesn't break your budget. Herradura is excellent, but really  expensive compared to Sauza Commemorativo. One that I've found is El Grito. It's about 2/3rds the price of Herradura, and 100-proof, which is pretty unusual. I'm not sure I'd recommend it for sipping, but for mixing, it's pretty hard to beat in a cost/benefit calculation.

Thanks for the tip on the El Grito.

My favorite tequila for cocktails has been the Herradura Silver but as you say, it's not cheap. I very much enjoy Herradura Silver for Margaritias using Cointreau and lime juice.

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I prefer a sweeter margarita so I use Cointreau.

Glad to hear the input; I'll just have to spring for the good stuff. I can't seem to find 100% agave blanco for less than $48/1.75 L of Milagro which comes out to $27 per liter.

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Unless a cocktail recipe calls specifically for a reposado or anejo tequila, I use a blanco (silver, plata) 100% agave tequila. I've been stuck on Herradura for a number of years now, and have recently been enjoying their 92 proof blanco. Others that I've tried and been favorably impressed with are the Partida and Gran Centenario blancos. Both are a little mellower for sipping than the Herradura.

Sauza Hornitos is an 100% Agave tequila and is usually in the $20-$30 range. It sort of falls half way between most blancos and reposados. It's got a little of the mellowness of aging; but, not as much color or wood flavor as many other reposados. It's a good general purpose tequila.

Others have recommended to me the Cazadores and 1800 blancos as reasonably priced 100% Agave tequilas. I haven't yet tried them myself.

I've been using Cointreau; but, my bottle is getting low, and I'm going to try the Luxardo Triplum Orange Dry next. Will report back.

Marty: Wow! $20 for El Tesoro Plata! That's quite a deal, it's usually more than double that around here.


Edited by eje (log)

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For quite a while, I used Sauza Hornitos as my standard mixing tequila. I could almost always find it on sale for less than $20 (sometimes much less), so it was by far the best buy for a 100% agave.

Then I moved, and price structures are different here. My standard tequila for mixing became Milagro (blanco -- I'm not so fond of their reposado), which is fine and usually pretty reasonable.

But a few weeks ago, I discovered 1800 100-proof blanco. I made a margarita with it according to my usual blanco proportions (4-2-1), and it I think it was the best margarita I've ever made (not the best I've ever had, but truly exceptional). It's got all those funky wet-cement notes (and I mean that in the best possible way) that blanco should have; it doesn't get lost in a margarita yet plays well with the other ingredients; and on top of all that it's amazingly smooth.

I know that there are other tequilas out there that make better margaritas, but for less than $30, the 1800 is my new standard.

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I'm currently using the Corralejo Blanco as my basic mixing tequila at my bar. It's all agave and has all of the appropriate flavors that go along with that. So much better than the Cuervo blanco. I'm a huge fan of the Siembra Azul line of tequilas that are imported by local Philadelphia restaurateur David Suro. They're a little pricier, but the flavors are astonishingly pure. For something that is guaranteed to be available nationwide, I'd go with the Sauza Hornitos products. Always reliable and taste great either mixed or on the rocks. The Anejo is tasty enough to drink neat in a snifter.

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Death & Co uses primarily Herradura Blanco in their shaken drinks and El Tosoro Reposado in stirred drinks. They have the best tequila cocktail section of any menu I've ever seen, so I would certainly trust their expertise.

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First and formost you get what you pay for. Don't buy the stupid little glass bottled 750 of heradura find the cheaper liter bottle. heradura silver in the liter is probably the best value for quality to price comparison. Siete Leguas and El Tesoro are a bit more expensive but perhaps the two tastiest tequilas back to front and damn cheap compared to some of the overpriced posers in their henious packaging.

If its not 100 percent blue agave don't buy it.

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First and formost you get what you pay for. Don't buy the stupid little glass bottled 750 of heradura find the cheaper liter bottle. heradura silver in the liter is probably the best value for quality to price comparison.

If its not 100 percent blue agave don't buy it.

Couldn't agree more. The only problem I have with herradura is that even the blanco sees a month and a half in oak, so it's not quite as punchy as I like my blancos.

I will also say that it's getting harder and harder to find tequila bargains anymore.

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I'll second the comment on the 100 proof 1800 blanco (called "Select Silver") -- it makes an absolutely outstanding Margarita and the price point is spot on too.

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I will also say that it's getting harder and harder to find tequila bargains anymore.

I don't think there ever has been, or ever will be a bargain-priced 100% agave tequila. It's not likely we'll be seeing a "Rittenhouse bonded" of tequila, and there are some very good reasons why.

Have a look at something like Rittennouse and consider what it takes to make is from the ground up: Figure it takes maybe 5-6 months from the time the rye is planted until it's harvested, distilled and into the barrel. Add six years of aging, and you're ready to bottle the stuff. Figure that end-to-end it's probably a 6.5 year production cycle. Around 6 months of that, when the rye is still in the ground, is the high risk part where Mother Nature could make something go drastically wrong. That said, it's unlikely that Heaven Hill owns the rye fields, so the risk isn't even theirs. If one field fails, it doesn't impact them because they buy their grain on the open market.

Consider a 100% agave blanco tequila, on the other hand: The agave plants need to grow for an average of 8 to 10 years before the piñas can be harvested. This is a long risk period where things can go wrong, and it's more likely that the producer owns the plantation since the growing period is so long. So, figure that the end-to-end- time for 100% agave tequila is more like 8.5 to 10.5 years -- that's two to four years longer in total than it is for Rittenhouse, and the risk period is 8 to 10 years longer.

This, among other reasons, is why Herradura silver costs around $25/liter and Rittenhouse bonded costs only around $21/liter (calculated from a 750ml price of $16). It's interesting to consider that it takes around 30% longer to make Herradura than it does to make Rittenhouse, but it's only around 20% more expensive.

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I will also say that it's getting harder and harder to find tequila bargains anymore.

I don't think there ever has been, or ever will be a bargain-priced 100% agave tequila. It's not likely we'll be seeing a "Rittenhouse bonded" of tequila, and there are some very good reasons why.

Maybe I should have clarified: there certainly won't be on a nationwide basis. That said--and I work as a territory manager for a wine importer, so I get to go into lots of stores in many states--for about a 2yr period, El Tesoro blanco was $15-$20/bottle in several stores in Massachusetts. I've also been able to find those Herradura liters for as little as $20. In essence, when big distributors need to make a "number" for a big supplier, they generally target a couple stores and dump. That's what I've been missing, that random regional bargain...

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I have been working the Chinaco Verde Silver/Blanco. I really like it. It it very hard core but you cannot beat the price point for 100% Blue Agave.

Rock it in A la Paloma, it is such a work horse.

Toby

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i will put in an extremely self-interested plug for Tequila Don Julio...they make a fine 100% blue agave blanco

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Well, I'm mostly echoing other sentiments here in saying that there is really no point in buying tequila that is not 100% de agave, and no mixto exists that will not mar your drink with off-flavours.

For most tequila recipes, blancos are definitely the way to go, because the lively, spicy flavour of the unaged liquor has more backbone in a drink (same way we prefer a London dry to a sipping gin for mixing), and is more harmonious with the ubiquitous fruit flavours in tequila cocktails.

But there are a few exceptions of tequila cocktails which are modeled after whiskey cocktails, and using an anejo for a tequila old-fashioned can be quite rewarding if you're a sucker for barrel-aging. This is not a sub you can make in just any recipe, but it's good to be aware of.

As far as decently priced mixing tequilas, I've had great success with Cazadores silver, which I think has more refinement than most tequilas in its price range, but if I'm looking for an even more budget option, 1800 will still make a decent drink, but it is considerably hotter and rougher, so it's not my go-to.

Most of the tequilas named in this topic are excellent, but I can never come across good prices on El Tesoro or Don Julio, and haven't tried Corralejo yet (really should get around to that). Herradura isn't quite to my taste... it's just not as exciting as other blanco tequilas, though there's certainly nothing wrong with it.

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Just made a margarita with El Jimador Blanco an inexpensive 100% agave, and Controy a Mexican orange liquor at 40% but I think the key was juice from the fruit of a lemon/lime tree growing behind the house with a touch of sugar and some salt on the rim. This is the first time in a long time that I have made a margarita but I'm back home again. It was super.

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Just made a margarita with El Jimador Blanco an inexpensive 100% agave, and Controy a Mexican orange liquor at 40% but I think the key was juice from the fruit of a lemon/lime tree growing behind the house with a touch of sugar and some salt on the rim. This is the first time in a long time that I have made a margarita but I'm back home again. It was super.

Amen! I was beginning to wonder if I was the only person who had ever heard of El Jimador...it is sort of an "under label" of Herradura and is indeed, imo, comaprable to Rittenhouse BIB in terms of qpr--100% agave and about $17 for a 750 ml, buying it in the 1.75 knocks that down to about $12-14 for the same volume. Not the Tequila afficionado that some here are but it makes a damn tasty Margarita.

Kent, take a hard look at the labels next time you are at Specs...there are quite a few 100%ers cheaper that Milagro, tho nothing wrong with it.

I confess I have not ever bought the nicer Tequilas with my own money, because frankly it is not as versatile for my taste and wallet, and I'd rather buy whiskey with that money. $$$ do buy superior Agave spirit though.

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Amen! I was beginning to wonder if I was the only person who had ever heard of El Jimador...it is sort of an "under label" of Herradura and is indeed, imo, comaprable to Rittenhouse BIB in terms of qpr--100% agave and about $17 for a 750 ml, buying it in the 1.75 knocks that down to about $12-14 for the same volume. Not the Tequila afficionado that some here are but it makes a damn tasty Margarita.

For a while, El Jimador was mostly selling (and may still be in some places), non-100% product. I know I did a double-take a few months back when I spotted their labels sporting the 100% distinction. The EJ Blanco is my current house pour.

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I purchase mine in Mexico. It seems to be the big 100% brand priced at the low end. I keep the bottle in the freezer and drink it straight in canas. I think it is really good stuff and the price is right.

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I need to write down these suggestions and take them to the liquor store next time I go. Previously, I had looked at some of the cheaper ones, but had trouble finding ones labled 100& agave. So, I always stuck with Herrudura Silver in the squat, square bottle. Makes a fine margartia, but 'tis a bit pricey. Infact, I stopped buyin tequila and focused more on drinks I could make with less expensive spirits.

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In addition to the longer growing time to maturity for agave plants, I understand, based on an article I read some while back, that the agave growing market suffers from a periodic "boom and bust" cycle where more farmers plant agave as the market for tequila (and agave syrup, etc., but that's another area) grows, but then more pile in as those young plants start maturing, and in a couple of years, mira!, you have a glut of mature plants, the price goes through the floor, some farmers go bust, and it all goes round again. Grain beverages, even if you're specially sourcing your feedstock, take part in a huge, global grain market that tends to keep prices low and steadier.

Had a great anejo at dinner the other day, it's hard to have to decide between blanco and aged for the next splurge!

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