The Best Tequila for Making Margaritas

What is the best tequila for margaritas? It depends on the margarita! Each of our top tequila brands has a unique flavor profile that fits your perfect 'rita.

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In its most pure form, a classic margarita is simply tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice. And when it’s that simple, you want the ingredients to shine, which is why it’s important to use the best tequila for margaritas.

Choosing the best tequila for margaritas is mostly a matter of preference, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First, it’s important to know the different styles: Blanco, joven, reposado, añejo and extra añejo. And of course, there’s tequila’s smokier cousin, mezcal.

Blanco is the most agave-forward tequila and the best for margarita recipes, palomas and other tequila cocktails. Reposado is also great for margaritas, thanks to its smoother taste and fuller body. Joven is often a mix of unaged tequilas (or occasionally aged and unaged). It’s inexpensive and can be a winner in cocktails. Save aged tequilas, like añejo and extra añejo (añejo means “aged”), for sipping.

When buying tequila, look for one that says 100% de agave or puro de agave. The tequila brands labeled tequila mixto or oro have been cut with an inferior natural cane spirit. Not only will the flavor be less complex, but it’s probably made with artificial coloring, too.

Here are our favorite tequila brands for margaritas.

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Tequila Casa Dragones Blanco
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Casa Dragones Blanco

This woman-led brand makes some of the best small-batch pure blue agave silver tequila. Casa Dragones Blanco is crisp and smooth on the palate, with fresh herbaceous notes of grapefruit and green apple. It adds a subtle fruitiness to classic margaritas. (It’s also Oprah’s favorite tequila!)
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Altos Plata Tequila
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Olmeco Altos Plata

Made with 100% blue agave from the Los Altos region of Mexico, this classic tasting tequila has herbal notes and a light fresh citrus aroma. You’ll maybe taste lime, lemon and that distinctive agave flavor, with a nice long-lasting pleasant finish. Olmeca Altos Plata has won gold and silver medals at several international spirits competitions, and with good reason. It’s a real stunner for the price.

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Don Julio Blanco Tequila
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Don Julio Blanco

In the world of tequila, this brand is synonymous with top-shelf quality. Don Julio Blanco is double distilled and additive-free, and it doesn’t have an astringent or overpowering taste like some lesser blancos. It’s more light citrus, like lemon, lime and grapefruit. You’ll want to savor this tequila, so if making a margarita, keep it simple: 1 1/2-2 oz. Don Julio blanco, fresh lime juice and 1/2 oz. agave syrup. Combine in a shaker with ice, shake and serve over ice with a lime wedge garnish. Or add grapefruit juice instead of lime for a paloma.

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Lalo Tequila
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Lalo Tequila

Made by the grandson of Don Julio González of the iconic Don Julio tequila brand, Lalo is based in Austin, Texas but distilled in Jalisco. This blanco tequila is smooth and soft, completely additive free, and filled with floral and crisp flavors. While this makes a tremendous margarita, sip it alone first to get a sense of what you’re drinking.

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El Jimador Tequila
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El Jimador Silver Tequila

This is a good budget-friendly tequila with a fresh, crisp taste and citrusy flavor. It’s made with 100% blue Weber agave, double distilled and not aged, so it’s crystal clear. El Jimador is one of the most popular brands in the U.S., thanks to the price and that it makes a fine margarita.

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Cimarron Blanco Tequila
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Cimarron Blanco

Another good tequila for the price, Cimmaron is additive-free, transparent in color and filled with classic tequila taste. The flavor includes citrus, some baking spice notes and clean minerality. You can’t go wrong with this one for a perfectly zesty margarita. And at this price, you’ll likely want to keep a bottle on the shelf for quick-fix cocktails.

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Fortaleza Blanco Tequila
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Fortaleza Blanco

You’ll likely find Fortaleza Blanco at any agave spirit-focused bar in the country. Favored for its rich cooked agave aromas and peppery, herbal, spicy finish, it’s complex yet made for easy sipping. There’s a subtle fruitiness that blends well in a margarita or other tequila cocktails.

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Teremana Blanco Tequila
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Teremana Blanco Tequila

With notes of citrus and vanilla, Teremana’s Blanco Tequila has a smooth finish that’s begging to be mixed into a margarita. Teremana produces small-batch tequila that is hand made in Jalisco, Mexico and is owned by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. If you’re new to mixing drinks, consult our margarita guide for expert tips.

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Tequila Ocho Plata
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Tequila Ocho Plata

Founded by a fifth generation agave farmer and third generation tequilero, Tequila Ocho Plata is a smooth and pleasant spirit that’s great for sipping but equally good in margaritas. Unaged, each vintage tastes slightly different because the agave harvested is grown in different fields. Because of its floral aroma, sweet agave notes and peppery finish, it pairs particularly well with citrus, like lime.

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Exotico Blanco Tequila
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Exotico Blanco Tequila

Exotico Blanco Tequila is a well-priced spirit with a crisp, herbal flavor and hint of pepper and spice. Use it to take your cocktail to the next level, along with these other margarita recipe upgrades.

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Herradura Silver Tequila
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Herradura Silver

This blanco tequila has long been heralded as one of the best—especially for margaritas—from agave spirits experts, bartenders and tequila lovers. Aged in American white oak barrels for 45 days, Herradura Silver has a slight woodsy aroma, plus vanilla, fruit and grassy citrus notes. It’s smooth with a clean finish, and a staple on bar shelves far and wide.

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Casamigos Reposado Tequila
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Casamigos Reposado Tequila

Reposado means that the tequila has been aged in oak barrels. Casamigos Reposado Tequila is aged in casks previously used to barrel whiskey, which gives it a caramel flavor. This tequila also has some star power: George Clooney and Rande Gerbere originally founded the Casamigos brand!

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Patron Silver Tequila
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Patron Silver

Patron Silver is a popular blanco tequila with a sweet and light flavor. It’s a great tequila to use in cocktails—or to sip on its own. Head straight to the beach with this Cerveza margarita recipe.

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Casa Noble Blanco Tequila
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Casa Noble Blanco Tequila

Casa Noble Blanco Tequila is a tequila made from 100% USDA-certified organic blue agave. This tequila is triple-distilled, giving it a very smooth flavor with hints of honey, citrus and of course, agave. Learn how to make a margarita—blended, on the rocks and virgin.

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Clase Azul Reposado Tequila
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Clase Azul Reposado

Clase Azul Reposado is an “ultra-premium” spirit aged for eight months in oak barrels. The real selling point for this tequila (and a great conversation starter) might be its unique bottle. Each one is hand-painted by artisans from a village in Mexico. Here’s what to mix tequila with when you’re not in the mood for a margarita.

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Hornitos Anejo Tequila
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Hornitos Añejo

Hornitos Añejo has a lovely amber color and complex flavor profile with a light citrus finish. While most añejo tequila is better for sipping, Hornitos is the perfect choice for something like margarita sangria.

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Cazadores Reposado Tequila
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Cazodores Tequila Reposado

Cazodores Tequila Reposado has a clean and light flavor. Its slight hint of dill and black pepper make it an ideal addition to a recipe for shrimp, carnitas or other recipes that use tequila.

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El Padrino Blanco Tequila
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El Padrino Blanco Tequila

El Padrino Blanco Tequila is slow-fermented for up to 60 hours and then double-distilled for a smooth taste. This tequila has a unique flavor profile featuring—wait for it—banana and cinnamon.

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1800 Blanco Tequila
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1800 Blanco Tequila

1800 Blanco Tequila features delicate floral and fruit notes, and its clean taste makes it an excellent base for margaritas. You’ll never buy one of those plastic “juice” limes again after you try our fresh lime margarita recipe.

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Espolon Reposado Tequila
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Espolòn Reposada Tequila

Espolòn Reposada Tequila is aged in new American oak barrels for three to five months, which gives it hints of oak in addition to agave flavor. The bold artwork on each label, based on work by Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada, shows parts of Mexican history.

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Next, check out our list of essential margarita tools.

Susan Bronson
Susan is a food and wine writer and editor based in northern Wisconsin. In 2010, she created the food blog A Less Processed Life, which features made-from-scratch recipes that highlight locally grown ingredients. As a contributor for Taste of Home, Susan has written about twists on classic cocktails like apple cider sangria and maple old-fashioneds. She also shares tried-and-true cooking techniques and re-creates and reviews recipes from notable chefs, including Julia Child and Ina Garten. She lives on a small family farm with her husband and son, and loves tasting all that the Upper Midwest’s culinary landscape has to offer.
Lesley Balla
As an associate food editor for Taste of Home, Lesley writes and edits recipes, works closely with freelancers, and tracks cooking and food trends. After working in hospitality for a decade, Lesley went on to report on the food industry for national, regional and local print and digital publications. Throughout her career, she’s highlighted both famous and unsung culinary heroes, featured up-and-coming wine and spirits destinations, and closely followed the food scenes and chefs in many cities. Her own cooking style has been influenced by the places she's lived: Ohio, Key West, Massachusetts, Oregon, and a long stint in Southern California, where she still visits as often as possible, if only for the citrus and avocados. When not at her desk, you’ll find Lesley taking photos of everything, hitting farmers markets, baking something delicious at home and road-tripping around the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their bottled-chaos pup, Pucci, shucking oysters and cracking crabs along the way.