Attention: Tequila is not just for bar shots. It’s a rich and potent spirit that’s separated into multiple categories based on complexity: blanco, reposado, añejo and extra-añejo. Like Champagne or cognac, tequila must be made in a specific region, mainly in the Mexican state of Jalisco where the volcanic soil is ideal for growing agave. Clear blanco tequila is fine for shots and everyday cocktails, but cask-aged reposado, añejo and extra-añejo tequilas are better served by sipping or mixing in sophisticated cocktails that highlight their long-developed flavor and aroma. Forget lackluster tequila concoctions and upgrade your agave experience with five elegant tequila cocktails you should be drinking instead.
This bright cocktail gains its rosy complexion from fresh blood orange juice and rosé Champagne. But at its base lies reposado tequila, which is aged for a minimum of two months in wood casks to mellow. The soft oakiness of the reposado pairs well with layers of citrus and St-Germain in this cocktail, an elegant choice for any occasion. Get the recipe for the Colletti Royale.
Ancho chile liqueur is the not-so-secret ingredient behind this margarita’s sweet-smoky edge. Native to Puebla, Mexico, the mild to medium-hot ancho chile is a fitting companion for tequila, and lime juice helps brighten the dried chile’s intense darkness. Get the recipe for the Ancho Margarita.
Channel Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortés himself with this rich reposado-based coupe. Layered with Manzanilla sherry, creme de cacao and ancho chile liqueur, this complex tequila potion might make you bold enough to conquer the Aztec Empire all over again. Get the recipe for the Conquistador.