6 Tequilas That Are Too Good For a Margarita

on 15/02/11 at 11:44 am

Spirits

Tequila sales are off but aficionados will still appreciate these richly flavored oak-aged reposados.

Tequila sales quadrupled in a decade, prompting more than 120 Mexican distilleries to offer some 900 brands, with four out of five bottles ending up in the U.S., usually in a margarita.

With sales growth slowing in the past couple of years, especially among the cheaper brands, it’s time to take stock of this distinctive spirit from the blue agave.

During the boom years, some tequilas achieved questionable cult status, with a few, like Gran Patron Burdeos, selling for $600 a bottle. With sales leveling off, a big part of marketing the drink has become the quirky bottles, from the Aztec pyramid of Sol Dios and folkloric Day-of-the-Dead skull of KAH to the heart-shaped Corazon Maya and squatting bandito ceramic jug of Pancho Pistolas.

Mexican regulations allow a spirit to be called tequila if it contains a minimum of 51 percent agave-derived sugar. Premium tequilas, made with 100 percent agave, are showing modest growth, with a 1.3 percent increase in 2009 to 11.2 million cases, according to industry publication StateWays.

I assembled a range of reposados, that is, tequilas aged in oak barrels for a minimum of two months but less than a year. They fall between the entry-level blancos, which aren’t aged at all, and the richly flavorful anejos that spend one-to-three years in the barrel.

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