Spirits & Liqueurs Tequila & Mezcal

Cabo Wabo Tequila Blanco Review

This blanco tequila is a solid mid-range choice for cirtus-forward cocktails.

Cabo Wabo Tequila Blanco bottle shot on solid green background

Liquor.com / Laura Sant

Our Rating

Overall: Our tasting panel’s overall assessment of the quality of the product,as well as its rank in comparison to others within the category

Value for Price: Our tasting panel’s assessment of this product’s quality-to-cost ratio within its larger category of competitors.

Mixability: Our rating of how well this product can be used as a component in cocktails.

Sippability: Our rating of how well this product tastes as a stand-alone pour.

Learn More about Liquor.com's Review Process

Overall Quality
Value for Price

Predating the modern explosion of celebrity-helmed spirit brands, musician and former Van Halen vocalist Sammy Hagar debuted Cabo Wabo tequila in 1996. Though the rocker sold his remaining stake in the business to Gruppo Campari in 2010, the producer continues to release affordable, mid-range tequila that works best in cocktails—though our tasting panel had mixed feelings about some of its other qualities.

Fast Facts

Classification: Blanco

Price: $34

Company: Gruppo Campari

Distillery: Destiladora San Nicolás

NOM: 1440

Still Type: Stainless steel pot stills

Released: 1996–present

Aged: Unaged

ABV: 40%

  • Solid mid-range tequila

  • Relatively inexpensive

  • Suitable for mixing

  • Not recommended for sipping neat

  • Vanilla and pepper notes overwhelm the agave

  • Fiery nose and initial alcohol heat can obscure subtler aspects

Tasting Notes

Color: Clear

Nose: Agave, ethanol, vanilla

Palate: Vanilla, petricol, black pepper, jalapeño, peppermint, lime

Finish: Heat quickly dissipates to make way for peppery finish 

Suggested uses: Citrusy cocktails like Margaritas and Palomas, Red Snapper

Similar bottles: Espolòn, Casamigos 

Our Review

The opinions of our reviewers varied, although they all agreed Cabo Wabo Blanco is a solid choice as a mid-range tequila for cocktails. However, as a solo sipper it may not be the best expression of the agave plant. Both Jacques Bezuidenhout and Jeffrey Morgenthaler sensed a strong burn on the nose, and Bezuidenhout says the vanilla notes overwhelmed the agave, which should be front and center in a blanco expression. 

“That fresh, bright agave we look for in an unaged tequila is subdued, but some pleasant black peppercorn and jalapeño flavors help make up for it,” says Morgenthaler. He found the finish pleasant, while Julie Reiner found it metallic and tannic. “The pepper notes take over, and you are left with a medicinal taste on your palate,” she says. 

All of our reviewers found this tequila suitable for mixing, particularly in citrus-forward cocktails like Palomas and Margaritas. “I tried it in an ice-cold Tommy’s Margarita and found it quite drinkable after a long day,” says Morgenthaler. Reiner notes that its pepper notes could also make it a good choice for a Red Snapper. Our reviewers don’t recommend it for sipping. “The metallic finish makes it an unpleasant tequila to drink neat,” says Reiner. 

Overall, Cabo Wabo Blanco is a good-value option for novice tequila drinkers. However, “if you’re not afraid of spending an additional $10–15 dollars for an unaged tequila, you can find something much more elegant and expressive of the agave plant,” says Morgenthaler.


Cabo Wabo Blanco is made with 100% blue agave at the Destiladora San Nicolás in Tequila, Mexico. The agave, which matures for eight to 12 years, is baked in wood-fired ovens, and the liquid is separated from the plant with roller mills. The tequila ferments naturally and is distilled twice in stainless steel stills. Like most blanco expressions, it’s unaged. 


In 1996, when musician and former Van Halen vocalist Sammy Hagar launched Cabo Wabo, the name most Americans associated with tequila at the time was Jose Cuervo. More than a decade earlier, inspired by Keith Richards and Patti Hansen’s wedding at the Finnistera Hotel in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Hagar booked a trip to the resort. He soon fell in love with the country, where he visited Tequila and tried 100% agave tequila for the first time. Hagar even wrote a Van Halen song called “Cabo Wabo,” released in 1988 and named for the “Cabo wobble” one might experience after a long night of drinking. 

In 1990, Hagar opened the Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas, and six years later he set out to source and launch an in-house tequila for his establishment. He enlisted the help of Juan Eduardo Nuñez, a third-generation distiller for Tequila El Viejito, and in 1999, made a deal with wine distributor Wilson Daniels to begin importing the tequila into the U.S. In a 2002 Salon article, writer Porter Fox called Hagar “Bono on agave,” and by 2006, his was the second-best-selling tequila in America behind Jose Cuervo. Although the musician is still somewhat synonymous with Cabo Wabo, Hagar sold most of the brand to Gruppo Campari for $100 million in 2007, before parting with the remaining 20% in 2010. 

—Compiled and edited by Audrey Morgan

Interesting Fact

Hagar may not be involved in Cabo Blanco anymore, but he teamed up with his pal, Food Network chef Guy Fieri, to launch Santo Spirit Tequila in 2019. The duo sell three expressions: blanco, reposado, and a “mezquila.” Hagar previously expanded into the rum category with his launch of Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum in 2011.

The Bottom Line

This mid-range blanco tequila is a solid choice for mixing into simple citrusy cocktails like Margaritas and Palomas, but our reviewers don’t recommend it for neat sipping. As our reviewer Jacques Bezuidenhout puts it, “If you walked into a dive bar and this was your choice you would be very happy.”