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There’s a reason bar industry experts gravitate towards reposado tequila. Meaning “rested,” reposado sits for at least two months, but generally less than a year, in the barrel. Most oftentimes, they’re American oak casks that once held whiskey. “It’s like the VSOP of tequila, aged but not too aged, with some wood but not overly decadent,” says Ivy Mix, owner of New York's Leyenda and author of "Spirits of Latin America." She quotes Carlos Camarena, master distiller of Jalisco La Alteña distillery, where Tequila Ocho is made: “He says aging is supposed to be like a picture frame, and in this case, the picture is of agave. You don’t want the frame to overtake the picture but to bring out [the] best attributes and highlight them.”
A reposado that is aged correctly is a tequila that can do it all. “You might get more spice or sweet aromatics, so it’s really good to sip neat,” says Walter Easterbrook, founder of Arte Agave, a festival for agave-based spirits. “But it’s also versatile in cocktails. It’s not overly aged, so it isn’t going to take away from the other flavors in a drink like an añejo can. Reposado can help enhance the fresh fruits or different syrups I want to play with.”
If you're looking for a versatile reposado tequila, our favorite is the Mijenta Reposado because it's high-quality and rich in flavor that's great for sipping and mixing.
Here are some of the pros’ picks of the best reposado tequilas to drink right now.
Best Overall: Mijenta Reposado
Region: Jalisco Highlands, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Pepper, Vanilla, Almond, Eucalyptus
“I love tequilas that are all-natural, with no artificial coloring or additives, and Mijenta gives you that and more,” says Felix Salazar, mixologist at Coctelería Perla Negra in Harlem. “The quality of the spirit speaks for itself.” The handiwork for maestra tequilera Ana Maria Romero, this reposado comes from mature, high-altitude agave grown in red clay soils where it gains floral intensity and complexity. Its “exceptional” aging process, in both American and European oak, results in a spice-forward, savory spirit, which is packaged in an eco-friendly bottle with a recycled-paper label. Given all that, what’s not to like? Salazar admires this reposado’s “great taste and elegant finish” so much that he claims sipping on it is “almost a religious experience.”
Read Next: The Best Tequilas
Best 100% Agave: Villa One Reposado
Region: Jalisco Highlands & Lowlands, Mexico | ABV: 40% |Tasting Notes: Anise, Vanilla, Marshmallow, Butterscotch
Pop star Nick Jonas and fashion designer John Varvatos teamed up to produce this smooth, sweet sip from 100% Weber blue agave sourced from both the Jalisco Highlands and the Lowlands. Bartender John Mistretta of The Cabin NYC calls it “a personal favorite” for its “great combination” of elegant vanilla and butterscotch notes and super clean finish “with little to no burn.” Though it’s great in cocktails, including Mistretta’s Shaky Leaf, a spicy, Aperol, pineapple, and ancho-infused elixir, that signature suave finish makes it great on its own. “My preference is to drink it on the rocks with an orange peel,” says Mistretta.
Best for Sipping: G4 Tequila Reposado
Region: Jalisco Highlands, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Orange, Butter, Oak, Cinnamon
Both long-time tequila fans and those who are new to the category will love this reposado from Destileria el Pandillo, where the fourth-generation Camarena family uses a special tahona, or millstone, made from recycled metal parts to break down the agave. Their innovative ways don’t stop there; they also distill their tequila using a blend of neutral rainwater and mineral-laden spring water for an approachable yet structured spirit.
Aged in both American and French oak, G4 Tequila's reposado offers buttery, orange flavors but with a mineral-driven backbone and a cinnamon finish. Sip it neat and enjoy the craftsmanship.
Best Under $50: Herradura Reposado Tequila
Region: Jalisco Valley, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Cooked agave, Vanilla, Black pepper, Caramel
A “favorite go-to” for Easterbrook, Herradura's popular tequila, produced by a distillery known for its environmentally-friendly practices, launched the entire reposado category back in 1974. Today, it is easy to find and remains inexpensive.
With a super smooth mouthfeel and a pleasing cooked agave flavor, this tequila is overlaid by rich, creamy vanilla notes from a full 11 months spent in American oak. “It’s a very well-rounded reposado that you can sip neat, throw on rocks, or mix into an amazing cocktail,” says Easterbrook. “It hits all the points I like. It’s not too sweet or too spicy; it’s perfectly balanced.”
Best Splurge: Clase Azul Tequila Reposado
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Banana, Pear, Pineapple, Agave
"I’ve always gravitated towards this reposado,” says Easterbrook. Clase Azul's ultra-premium tequila is made traditionally, with agave cooked in stone ovens and twice distilled in copper pot stills, then aged eight months in oak barrels.
Dark amber in color, it leans more toward the sweet side, so it’s great for drinkers who like the fruitier aspects of the agave. “Bananas, pears, and pineapples is what I get,” says Easterbrook, who prefers to sip it neat. If you’re searching for a showpiece to jazz up your bar, this tequila's uniquely shaped, hand-painted ceramic bottle looks stunning on the shelf.
Read Next: The Best Añejo Tequilas
Best in a Paloma: Santera Tequila Reposado
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Brine, Vanilla, Caramel, Orange
Aged seven months in American oak, this reposado from Santera Tequila is produced by Casa Maestri Distillery, a woman-owned operation in Tequila, Jalisco. Made from 100% Weber blue agave steam-roasted in a traditional brick oven, its relatively long rest in the barrel gives it a perfumey, citrusy character, which mingles with the salty-sweet agave.
Smooth and velvety, the tequila winds down with a dry and pleasant bitter note, with a touch of vanilla and dark-blonde caramel on the finish. Mixed into a fresh-fruit Paloma, it lends a delicious brûléed quality to the fresh grapefruit juice, while augmenting the zing of the citrus peel.
Best in a Bramble: Don Julio Reposado Tequila
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Cooked agave, Vanilla, Oak, Caramel
Great for any type of cocktail, this classic reposado is aged eight months in American white oak and is produced by Don Julio, which has been making tequila since 1942.
“This one goes down nice and easy,” according to Easterbrook. “It’s super smooth, but it stands up to mixers and sweeteners.” One of his favorite ways to use a reposado like this is in cocktails with muddled fresh berries and herbs: cilantro and blackberries, mint and strawberries, or any other combination. “It’s an amazing, delicious marriage,” he says.
Best for Margaritas: ArteNom 1414 Reposado Tequila
Region: Jalisco Highlands, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Cooked agave, Vanilla, Caramel, Black pepper
"Some tequilas are so light that they just get lost if you make a drink with them,” says Easterbrook. Bold and full-bodied, ArteNom's reposado doesn’t have that problem. “When you add it to a drink, you can still get that agave flavor,” he says, “and it stands up to the sweetener and citrus.” That makes for the perfect Margarita, which, after all, is a marriage of the three. “You’re getting sweet, sour, and tequila all in one sip,” says Easterbrook. “It’s just delicious.” Still, it doesn’t lack versatility, so you can use this one in any version of the cocktail you choose to make: on the rocks, up, with a salt rim, or even frozen and with flavorings.
Read Next: The Best Margarita Machines
Best for Stirred Cocktails: PaQuí Tequila Reposado
Region: Jalisco Highlands, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Flowers, Tangerine, Clove, Oak
The name of this one means “to be happy” in Aztec, and according to Le Chick Miami bartender Niko Mantzaridis, that’s appropriate for this balanced reposado. “I love whiskey and tequila and PaQuí Reposado is the best of both: bright agave fruit with just the right amount of oak,” he says. With its fruity and floral notes, touches of clove and mint, and a pronounced oak finish, it’s “really fun” in a Tequila Manhattan, says Mantzaridis, where it “adds complexity.”
Amanda Sasser, owner of The CanTiki in Glendale, California, agrees that PaQuí has a lot to offer. She finds layers of citrus, tomato, and bell pepper in it intermingled with “that gorgeous floral agave smell,” giving it a balance that helps it “hold its own” with “a lot of prominent flavors.”
Best from Outside Jalisco: Corralejo Reposado Tequila
Region: Guanajuato, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Black pepper, Honey, Nuts, Smoke
"It’s super good,” Easterbrook says of this reposado from Corralejo. “You get a really great combination of sweet and spicy characteristics. For the price, it has good complexity.”
At the same-named distillery located in Guanajuato, Mexico, this tequila ages for four months in a curvilinear cellar amid a range of French and American oak barrels, which lend notes of peppercorn and honey to the natural agave flavors. With a nutty aroma resolving in a sweet palate and bitter spice finish, it’s terrific neat or on the rocks.
Best from Tequila Valley: Fortaleza Tequila Reposado
Region: Jalisco Valley, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Lemon, Vanilla, Cardamom, Tropical fruit
"Valley tequilas have this ka-bam quality,” says Mix. This one from Fortaleza delivers the personality in spades. “Off the nose, you get overripe tropical fruit aromas,” she describes, “and then the palate pops” with flavors of lemon, a bit of cardamom, and plenty of black pepper, which “cuts through” the cinnamon and vanilla of the barrel. A bottle of it provides all of the characteristics you want in a reposado. “The beautiful thing about fall is we can make richer, citrusy cocktails, like a sour, but with some robustness,” says Mix. When you’re mixing an autumnal sour, this is the tequila to reach for.
Best from the Highlands: Lobos 1707 Tequila Reposado
Region: Jalisco Highlands, Mexico | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Coffee, Wine, Cherry, Spice
In a 300-year tradition, the Osorio family that makes this reposado blends a small amount of extra añejo tequila into it and ages it in Pedro Ximénez barrels. Mixologist Juan Arboleda of PKGD Group is a fan of this signature solera process. “It brings out the flavors of the wood and the wine,” he says. “The result is an incredibly smooth, robust, and bright tequila that leaves a lasting impression.” He’s particularly enamored of its “spicy aromas” and the way it pairs well with citrus flavors and the apple and baking spice flavors of fall. Yet, he’s quick to call it “incredibly versatile” for sipping on the rocks or enjoying in a wide variety of cocktails.
Agave spirits seem to be more popular than ever and we've found ourselves rich with choices. The reposado category continues to expand and the glut of brands can be overwhelming. All of the picks on this list are high-quality and thoughtfully-produced reposado tequilas, and you really can't go wrong with any of them. If you're looking for a floral sipper that is all-natural, and with no artificial coloring or additives, Mijenta Reposado (view at Drizly) is your bottle. For a buttery rich, citrus and spice tequila to have on its own, the G4 Tequila Reposado (view at Drizly) delivers.
What to Look For
One great reason to barrel age a tequila is to mellow the rough edges that are sometimes left in the spirit after distilling. Reposado should have personality but be easily sippable.
Every tequila should have the letters “NOM” followed by a number on its label. This “Norma Oficial Mexicana” is the officially designated number for the distillery where the reposado was made. With this information in hand, you can research the distilling practices that went into the bottle. If you’re a fan of traditional methods, for instance, the NOM helps you identify distillers that use brick ovens to cook their agave and a tahona, or volcanic-rock grinding mill, to crush it.
The fruity, spicy notes of agave are what makes a tequila. Purists love to taste that raw material in the bottle. No aging process should erase that.
What's the difference between reposado and other expressions of tequila?
As opposed to blanco tequila, which is unaged, and añejo tequila, which is aged for a year or more, reposado tequila is aged at least two months and up to a year in barrel. That mild amount of aging results in a smooth, golden, and incredibly versatile spirit.
How is it different from mezcal?
Essentially, all tequila is mezcal, but not all mezcal is tequila. Mezcal is a general category for all agave-based distillates. Tequila is mezcal that must be produced using the blue agave plant within the Mexican state of Jalisco and four of its neighboring states. Beyond the legal definition, reposado tequila is not produced, as is mezcal, by pit-roasting the agave. Therefore, it does not have mezcal’s signature smokiness.
What's the best way to drink it?
With reposado, you’re getting a spirit that has been mellowed by a bit of aging, but not so much that it can’t play nicely with a wide range of other ingredients in a cocktail. So the answer to this question is: However you want to drink it! Reposado is ready for neat sipping, rocks, or cocktails of all kinds. Try it in a margarita, where it adds a bit of lusciousness.
Why Trust Liquor.com?
Betsy Andrews has been writing about wine and spirits for two decades. While reporting for Food & Wine and Travel & Leisure, she spent quality time in Jalisco’s agave fields, watching piñas be harvested, and in distilleries watching them be rendered into the elixir that is tequila. Drinking at the side of master distillers, crawling the bars of Guadalajara and Tequila, she acquired a taste for, and a keen interest in, Mexico’s premiere spirit—especially the añejos and extra añejos, which are always how she likes to end a meal.