Courtesy of the 86 & Co.

8 Best Blanco Tequilas to Drink Now

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While a lot of newbie tequila drinkers relegate blanco tequilas to be used in Margaritas only, it shouldn’t be the case. Good blanco tequilas embody the true flavors of the agave plant better than any other category of tequila. These unaged spirits are lively, raw and vegetal, with a unique pepperiness. And they are worthy of your hard-earned cash. Here are eight blanco tequilas to try now.

Cimarrón Tequila Blanco ($20)

This is not the first time that we’ve sung this tequila’s praises—and it won’t be the last. Produced by Enrique Fonseca, a fourth generation jimador and tequilero, Cimarrón’s blanco tequila tastes like tequilas that are twice the price. Fermented with wild yeast and given time to rest in American oak, it’s rich enough to sip straight. On the palate, there’s a creamy, horchata-esque flavor, with notes of roasted poblano chiles, white pepper, wet stone and raw agave. Whatever you do, don’t waste this tequila in a Margarita. Instead, stir it into an Old Fashioned with agave syrup, chocolate or mole bitters, and a flamed orange twist.

Arette Blanco Tequila ($23)

Produced by the Orendain brothers, descendants of one of the oldest and most prodigious tequila producing families, at the historic El Llano distillery, this bottling tastes as good as its credentials would lead you to believe. It’s incredibly complex, with an abundance of raw agave flavors that only a blanco tequila can have. Savory notes of wet stone, white pepper, bay leaf, and oregano mingle with bursts of overripe banana, sugar cane and lime zest. It should be on any self-proclaimed tequila lover’s bar.

Calle 23 Tequila Blanco ($32)

This is one of our favorites tequilas, period. Everything biochemist-turned-distiller Sophie Decobecq makes is next level. This tequila is bright, herbaceous and fruit-forward, with a powerful agave punch. There’s a bit of sharp funk at first sip, which opens up to notes of rosemary, sage, dried red chiles, orange, lime and pineapple. Though it’s delicious straight, it also makes a mean Margarita.

Herencia Mexicana Tequila Blanco ($35)

This underrated tequila is spectacularly delicious. Produced in Los Altos de Jalisco (the Highlands region of tequila between the towns of Tepatitlan and Arandas), it is made using ancestral methods—including clay ovens and a tahona to grind the piñas. It’s floral, herbaceous and peppery with flavors of jasmine, orange blossom, honeycomb, lemon, limestone and clay. This tequila would be downright decadent in a Highball with a pinch of salt and a fat slice of grapefruit for garnish—maybe even a sage leaf for good measure.

The 86 & Co. Cabeza Blanco Tequila ($35)

Part of The 86 & Co.’s portfolio of bartender friendly spirits, Cabeza Blanco tequila was designed for versatility behind the bar and maximum deliciousness in cocktails. Produced in the Highlands by the Vivanco family (fifth generation agaveros), the tequila is fermented during the winter months using Champagne yeast to extract brighter, fruitier flavors from the agave. It has lots of pineapple sweetness and acidity with notes of overripe banana funk, lime peel and cinnamon. This spirit works best in juicy tequila cocktails like the Acapulco and the Paloma.

Casamigos Blanco Tequila ($44)

No, George Clooney doesn’t actually make this tequila. Nor does he bless each bottle with kisses. But it doesn’t matter, because Casamigos is really, really good tequila. And their blanco tequila is no exception. Made from Highland agave, the tequila is rested for two months in stainless steel tanks prior to bottling. It’s slightly sweet and vanilla-forward with a creamy richness and notes of cinnamon, black and white pepper, clove, concrete and sagebrush. We love this tequila and drink it often. So should you.

123 “Uno” Organic Tequila Blanco ($47)

Produced by Master Distiller David Ravandi, 123 Tequila is certified organic by the U.S. and the EU. With sustainability in mind, the bottles are made from 100-percent recycled glass, with recycled paper labels that are printed with biodegradable, soy-based ink. As far as the tequila goes, it is exceptional. It has notes of honeysuckle, peach, fresh cut grass, wet dirt and roasted cactus. On the finish, there’s petrol heat, citrus and a blast of white pepper. Truly delicious and unique, this tequila should never be taken as a shot or mixed with Squirt.

Fortaleza Blanco Tequila ($50)

Like their reposado and añejo tequilas, Fortaleza’s blanco is produced with techniques that are more akin to mezcal production than tequila (don’t worry, it’s not smoky). After harvesting, the blue Weber agave piñas are roasted in stone ovens and then fermented in open air wood tanks with wild yeast. Double distilled on a copper pot still, the tequila retains its rusticity. In the glass, it’s more savory than others on this list, with flavors of olive brine, olive oil, eucalyptus, basil and lime. This tequila shouldn’t be mixed with anything, unless it’s vermouth in a Martini.

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