How To Choose The Best Type Of Tequila For A Cocktail, According To An Expert

Choosing the right tequila for your cocktail can often be perplexing, so we tapped tequila maestro David Yan González, Director of Tequila Operations at 818 Tequila, to help demystify this process. "All three types of tequila — blanco, reposado, and añejo — have their own distinct flavor profiles," González told Tasting Table. Blanco tequila, he says, is a perfect match for cocktails brimming with citrus or fruity tones and for carbonated mixes. Think margaritas or palomas. Blanco's light flavor makes these drinks sparkle.

For cocktails demanding a touch more complexity, González suggests reposado. "Reposado can work in a wide array of alternatives that range from amaros and fortified wines to cream, coffee, and even tonic water," he elaborates. Rested to age a few months in oak barrels, reposado tequila offers a sophisticated, nuanced taste, making it easy to pair with a broad spectrum of mixers. As for González's top cocktail mixed with reposado? He gushes, "Repo&Tonic is a massively delicious cocktail."

Rethinking classic cocktails with aged tequila

Unlike its younger counterparts, añejo tequila is aged for over a year in oak barrels, allowing it to develop a richer, darker, and more complex and aromatic flavor profile. González states, "Añejo tends to be spicier and more savory, lending itself nicely to cocktails typically made with darker spirits like whiskey and bourbon." For instance, consider substituting whiskey with añejo tequila in a classic old fashioned, where the inherent spiciness and savory character of añejo can elevate this traditional concoction. You can also explore it in dessert cocktails, where this aged tequila's caramel and vanilla notes can provide a delicious contrast to the sweeter ingredients.

As we gear up for National Tequila Day on July 24, there's no better time to experiment with these expert tips in your own home bar. And if you're looking for a place to start, you can try one of 818's cocktail kits. So which will it be, blanco, reposado, or añejo? Whichever you choose, roll up your sleeves, grab that cocktail shaker, and let the tequila do the talking. And, of course, always drink responsibly.