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We Asked 11 Bartenders: What’s the Best New Tequila That’s Earned a Spot on Your Bar? (2024)

Tequila is a liquid goldmine for the curious drinker, and every month seemingly delivers a cavalcade of new options to try at bars and liquor stores. Drop by your neighborhood bottle shop, and you may see a new blanco from a spunky, fresh-faced label looking to penetrate the market with new juice. You may also run into a reposado from a decades-old brand that finally landed American distribution. Keep digging, and you may even find a familiar, reliable brand dipping its toe into the world of cristalino.

It can be tough to keep up with this steady barrage of new tequilas to try. Fortunately, bartenders love to geek out about what’s new in the marketplace. Those behind the stick are usually the first people to try new stuff, and if there’s a new tequila capturing their attention, they’ll likely be happy to tell you about it if you ask — when they’re not in the weeds, natch. That’s why we asked 11 bartenders to pick their favorite new bottle they’ve added to their bar program. While answers may turn you on to something new, they also simply reinforce the fact that there has never been a better time to be a tequila enthusiast in the United States.

The best new tequila, according to bartenders:

Cambio Tequila Blanco
Tequila Chamucos Blanco
Mijenta Blanco
Lalo Blanco
Don Julio Reposado
El Pintor Blanco
Tequila Komos Reposado Rosa
Cazcanes No. 9 Blanco
Tequila Amatiteña Origen Blanco

“The best new tequila that’s earned a spot on our bar is Cambio Tequila Blanco. It hasn’t even been out for three months, so this is very new on the market. The founder of Cambio is doing something completely different that nobody else is doing as far as distilling [and] production goes, and it really shows. It’s very clean and unbelievably smooth.” —Gabriell Pickney, food and beverage manager, The Emily Hotel, Chicago

“A tequila that has truly earned a spot on my bar is Tequila Chamucos Blanco, from the Los Altos region in Jalisco. It has the perfect amount of funky aromatics and a peppery finish. It’s a blanco that is just as fun to sip neat as it is to enjoy in a cocktail. Maybe it’s the open-air fermentation or the classical music being played during [fermentation], but this tequila has stolen the hearts of myself and the majority of the Lolita staff.”—Marshall Minaya, beverage director, Madame George, Valerie, and Lolita, NYC

Mijenta Blanco has not only secured a spot on our back bar but also on our cocktail list. Its herbal nose, floral and mineral palate, and light tropical fruit finish make it the go-to choice for classic Margaritas. Additionally, it stars in our very popular Vuela Vuela cocktail, a unique twist on two Latin American cocktails: the Paloma and the Chirulin. This cocktail features a split base of Mijenta Blanco and mezcal infused with ají panca, cinnamon syrup, and grapefruit juice, and is house-carbonated for a fizzy finish.” —Natasha Bermúdez, bar director, Llama San, NYC

“I’ve been really impressed with Lalo from the get-go. They have a phenomenal team and the tequila itself is excellent. The brand is authentic and humble while being sexy and exciting, and the reception nationally has been like a shooting star. I’m a big fan.” —H. Joseph Ehrmann, proprietor, Elixir, San Francisco

Don Julio Rosado is a great new addition to our bar. This expression of Don Julio is a reposado tequila and one of their newest on the market. It has been finished in ruby port casks and has a delightful pink color. It is very smooth with distinct notes of cherry and caramel. I would recommend sipping this tequila neat or on the rocks.” —Clark Ruble, food and beverage manager, Hoja Taqueria at Generator, Washington, D.C.

“When El Pintor was brought in for an introduction and tasting at The Jones, I was just expecting another blanco tequila. However, I was instantly impressed with everything El Pintor had to offer. The nose brings vegetal and cooked agave notes and then drinks extremely clean and precise with notes of cooked agave, black pepper, and vanilla while having a creamy, smooth texture. One would be hard pressed to find a Tahona blanco in this price range that drinks as well as this. Great for a cocktail, but at 84 proof, El Pintor is bold and complex enough to stand on its own.” —Charles Friedrichs, bar manager, The Jones Assembly, Oklahoma City, Okla.

“Everyone who drinks alcohol at any level knows the name Don Julio. It has become mainstream, but wasn’t always so. The son of the famous Don Julio Gonzales, Eduardo Gonzalez, is continuing the original family legacy with a confirmed additive-free, delicious tequila by the name of Lalo (which is also his nickname). The label and bottle are easy and appealing to the eye and on the back bar. It tastes delicious in a plethora of ways: neat, on the rocks, in a cocktail, or [in shots]. With its price point, it has easily become a fast favorite, especially with how new it is in the market. It’s also additive-free, and I personally love a pandemic success story when it comes to launching an alcohol brand.” —Rhys Williams, former bartender, Radio Star, Brooklyn

Tequila Komos Reposado Rosa. The Tequila Komos line of tequila was started by ex-master sommelier Richard Betts in partnership with the Orendain family [of Destilleria Orendian]. Each of the expressions pulls from Richard’s experience in both the wine world and tequila world and each expression is aged in a different style of oak and ex-wine barrels. The Reposado Rosa is the one that leaps out to me in terms of uniqueness, flavor, and versatility. It’s aged for just over two months in French oak ex-Napa Valley Cabernet barrels, and they actually leave some of the leftover skins of the wine in the barrel so the tequila picks up a natural tannin and rosé hue. This grants a unique depth to the reposado that makes it stand out in the category with notes of dark chocolate, plums, and dark cherries. It’s great on its own but also makes a phenomenal cocktail.” —Adam Fournier, bar director, Spago, Beverly Hills, Calif.

“We all know ‘additive-free’ is a buzzworthy phrase right now, and it’s about time! But there are many important things that should also factor in the decisions on what tequila to support. For me, one often overlooked criteria I have recently been focusing more on is water. It makes up a very large percentage of the final product and we just don’t talk about it enough. Cazcanes No. 9 Blanco is a newer additive-free producer that sources natural spring water for their tequila. The water starts off as rain high up in the peaks of the San Pedro de los Landeros Mountains. It slowly travels through natural minerals deep within the volcanic mountains before emerging at the Navichi springs. So far, I have been incredibly impressed with the steps this company has taken to produce their tequila, and I would keep an eye on them.” —Kate Gerwin, owner, Happy Accidents, Albuquerque, N.M. 

“[When I first] encountered Lalo Tequila, additive-riddled tequila was the norm, so I was skeptical. I met [distiller Eduardo “Lalo” Gonzalez] and we hit it off immediately. I tasted the tequila and was absolutely impressed by its clean taste and the grassy notes I love in a blanco. I immediately added it to the Nickel City back bar and it has remained one of the few tequilas we always carry at our whiskey-heavy space.” —Travis Tober, owner, Nickel City, Austin, Texas

Tequila Amatiteña Origen Blanco, produced by NOM 1477. It’s currently one of my favorite tequilas to share with guests at Superbueno. This high-proof tequila is unique: It undergoes open-air, spontaneous fermentation in wooden tanks, which is similar to the production of some of my favorite uncertified mezcals on the market. The nose on this tequila is super interesting, with what feels like smoke from the cooking of the agaves, plus prominent notes of burnt lemon peel and bits of fermentation aromatics. A creamy, slightly funky, and spicy mouthfeel makes the experience even more amazing.” —Michael Aredes, bartender, Superbueno, NYC

*Image retrieved from New Africa via

The article We Asked 11 Bartenders: What’s the Best New Tequila That’s Earned a Spot on Your Bar? (2024) appeared first on VinePair.

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