Sure, you could celebrate Cinco de Mayo by having a Dos Equis or Corona, but really… where’s the fun in that?
Tequila is the drink of choice on the Mexican holiday—and the number of choices is growing exponentially these days. While most people will stick with a margarita (or four) as they devour their tacos and queso, the quality of that magical (and often cursed) elixir from the blue agave plant is on the rise. And there are many offerings that are better imbibed without a mixer.
Looking to try something a little different this year? Here are a few tequila offerings that stand out from the pack.
Grand Mayan Ultra Aged
The hand-painted ceramic bottle catches your eye, but it’s the tequila within that you’ll remember. A blend of three, four, and five-year-old tequilas, the $90 Ultra Ages blends agave, big oak, and a sweetness that brings chocolate and caramel to mind. There’s a slight pepper to the finish, but none of the tequila burn you expect. It’s a rich, full-bodied experience.
Tromba is becoming a well known name among tequila fans and for good reason. It has a refreshing, light vanilla flavor with a smooth oaky taste overriding it. You’ll also pick up hints of pineapple. Tromba’s an unusual take on the drink. While the drink is produced in Mexico, the company itself is actually based in Toronto.
Patron Extra Añejo
Some tequila snobs look down on Patron, but those who do are missing out with this new release, which dropped last fall. It’s aged in oak barrels for more than three years before heading to store shelves. That’s three times longer than regular añejo tequilas. It carries notes of banana, honey, and vanilla on top of the typical agave and oak.
Casa Noble Selección del Fundador Volume II
Got a little extra spending money this year? This is a triple-distilled extra añejo which was aged for eight years in French white oak barrels. It’s a complex, layered tequila that imparts rich, buttery vanilla flavors, followed by a spicy floral note and hints of cinnamon. It’s not cheap, though. Bottles are priced at $1,500.
Cooper & Thief 2016 Sauvignon Blanc
Wait… A white wine? What’s that doing on a tequila list? Cooper & Thief took a page from the craft beer industry’s book and aged this light white wine in tequila barrels for three months. The result is a unique take on the varietal, light and crisp, but with strong vanilla and oak hints. If the idea of straight tequila is a little daunting and you don’t want a watered down beer, this is a good alternative to consider.