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Is silver or gold Tequila better for Margaritas?

We love a Margarita here at Master of Malt. There’s really nothing better, especially as the weather finally seems to be warming up around our secret HQ on a nondescript industrial estate in Kent. But what we really want to know once and for all is which Tequila should we put in our drink, silver or gold?

We’re talking about a classic Margarita, so just lime juice, Cointreau, Tequila and a dusting of salt. Though there are some great variants out there such as the Blood Orange Margarita, the Mirror Margarita, Deano’s Margarita, Tommy’s Margarita, Gary’s Margarita, Janet’s Margarita or, most fabulous of all, the Margarita Azul.

Tequila, Cointreau, lime and salt – the classic Margarita

Gold or silver?

Silver Tequila

Silver or plata refers to an unaged Tequila where you really should be able to taste the minty, herbal flavour of the blue weber agave. Tequila aficionados insist on spirits that are made from 100% agave though cheaper Tequilas can be made with up 49% of their alcohol from corn sugar rather than agave. These are known, often a bit disparagingly, as mixto Tequilas.

While if you’re sipping neat, we’d always go for 100% agave, if you’re mixing for lots of people, is everyone really going to appreciate the difference through the strong flavours of lime juice and triple sec? There are some delicious, clean-flavoured mixtos on the market now which are perfect for parties.

El Sueño Silver

Banish all thoughts of the sort of head-banging, evil-tasting Tequilas you drank in your youth. Yes, this is a mixto but there’s proper fresh, herbal agave flavours here. This is probably the best budget Tequila on the market.

Ocho Potrero Grande 2023

Ocho produces single harvest and single field Tequilas. We were fortunate enough to taste with Jesse Estes, son of the late founder Tomas Estes, and you can really taste the difference. This one is fruity and sweet with flavours of mango and pineapple. Delicious neat or in a Margarita. 

Gold Tequila

While some gold Tequila get its colour from ageing in oak casks, many of the big brands are coloured and flavoured with caramel giving them a sweeter profile than classic silver.

You do also see gold-tinged Tequila that has spent time in oak, usually bourbon casks. These are labelled reposado, at least two months ageing, añejo, at least a year, or extra añejo, minimum three years in barrel. Short ageing gives Tequila a subtle sweetness and creaminess without blunting the agave character, while longer ageing gradually amps up the vanilla and toffee but always with a distinctive vegetal tang.

Magenta Reposado

A glorious 100% agave Reposado Tequila from the folks at Mijenta, who are committed to environmental sustainability. Lightly aged in a combination of American white oak, French oak, and French acacia casks it boasts layers of rich vanilla, vegetal agave, and nutty wood.

Sierra Reposado

Another high quality mixto here, it’s the multiple award-winning Sierra Reposado. It doesn’t just impress judges, it’s a great favourite with our customers too. This gets its colour from oak ageing not caramel offering up flavours of toasted oak, toffee and roasted fruit.

Cristalino Tequila

Just to confuse matters, there’s another category of Tequila called Cristalino which is incredibly fashionable in Mexico at the moment. These use a technique which is common in rum where the spirit is aged in American oak to give it flavour but it is then filtered through charcoal to remove the colour. For some reason!

1800 Cristalino 

1800 Cristalino is an añejo expression which has been filtered, resulting in a clear spirit that still packs a rich, full-bodied flavour profile. Expect black pepper, caramelised raisins and almonds, a touch of oak warmth, subtle vegetal salinity (think green bell pepper and lemongrass).

Maestro Dobel

A handsome premium cristalino Tequila from Maestro Dobel. This is blended from reposado, añejo, and extra añejo Tequilas, but it’s filtered before bottling so it’s crystal clear while retaining all that aged, creamy complexity.

So is silver or gold Tequila better for Margaritas?

Using a cristalino or a reposado Tequila gives your Margarita a bit more body whereas an añejo or extra añejo brings it closer to something like a Whisky Sour, very tasty, no doubt, but what we love in a Margarita is its clean, crisp taste. 

We’re going to lay our cards on the table and say silver Tequila every time. If you’re having a party, ignore the agave purists and buy a good mixto. Just make sure you use fresh lime juice – that is crucial. But if it’s just for you and a few close friends, then why not splash out on a 100% agave Tequila.. You can always sip it neat at a later date.

And finally, a top tip if you love the distinctive flavour of agave. Just a teaspoon of a smoky Mezcal like Quiquiriqui Matatlan is a great way of jazzing up your Margarita if you want to try something a bit different. 


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