Spirits & Liqueurs Tequila & Mezcal

The Best Tequila Under $40

(photo illustration: Laura Sant).

You know who knows best which bottles to buy? The people who pour and sell drinks—that’s who. We asked dozens of top bartending and spirits industry professionals to tell us which bottles they love and why.

Heads up: The numerical order below is not organized by importance or quality; it’s an alphabetical list, not a ranking. Prices are averages and can vary from state to state.

  • Calle 23 Reposado ($34)

    “Sophie Decobecq is the mother of this line. She’s a biochemist and really loves the fermentation process, taking the yeast that grows on the agave to ferment her tequila. She loves what she does, and you can taste the love and passion in her work.”—Shannon Ponche, head bartender at New York City's Leyenda

  • Chinaco Blanco ($37)

    “Hailing from seashell-rich soil in Tamaulipas, it's somehow creamy, briny and intensely mineral at the same time. And it takes really well to fresh fruit, especially grapefruit and strawberry.”—Zac Overman, beverage director and co-owner of Seattle's L'Oursin

  • Casa Dragones Blanco Mini ($42)

    Yes, this 100 percent pure blue agave silver tequila is a little over $40, but it’s too good to leave off the list. After all, 375 milliliters of the crisp, smooth small-batch tequila is an ideal stocking stuffer.

  • Cimarrón Blanco ($27)

    “It’s earthy, vegetal, with pure agave flavors, and cheap AF.”—Adam Fortuna, assistant general manager and sommelier at Grand Rapids, Mich.'s Reserve Wine & Food

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • El Jimador Silver ($20)

    “Best in this price range, it’s well-balanced with a touch of pepper and earthiness.”—Hemant Pathak, bartender and bar manager at New York City's Junoon

  • Elvelo Blanco ($30)

    “This is a new tequila on the market—big and bold agave flavor and perfect to make cocktails.”—Cari Hah, bar manager at Los Angeles' Big Bar

  • Olmeca Altos Plata ($22)

    “It’s one of the few tequilas in this price range I enjoy drinking all day—great notes of pepper, super vegetal and most importantly low acidity.”—Max Green, owner of and head bartender at New York City's Blue Quarter and Windmill

  • Siembra Azul Blanco ($39)

    “David Suro teaming up with the Vivanco family to bring a great line of tequilas is a great gift to tequila lovers. Being completely transparent with their production shows how much they care about the future of tequila. It has a great rich mouthfeel and makes a killer Margarita.”—Ponche

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • Siete Leguas Blanco ($39)

    “It’s one of my favorite tequilas to drink neat—a great expression of what tequila should be.”—Jose Medina Camacho, bar manager at Birmingham, Ala.'s Marble Ring

  • Tapatío Blanco ($30)

    “It’s one of the best mixing tequilas. I love a good Paloma.”—Medina Camacho