Learn how to choose the best tequila for margaritas, on any budget! I’ve got the keys to getting it right, every time. There are simple distinctions between añejo, reposado, gold and silver tequilas, and not all of them are meant for margaritas.

What’s the secret? There’s no need to reach for the most expensive bottle on the shelf. In fact – it’s quite the opposite. Learn why!   

Three clear glass bottles of the best tequila for margaritas on a glass bar cart, flowers to the side.
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A good tequila makes all the difference in a margarita, and I’m going to show you how to choose the BEST tequila for your budget and your weekend margs. I’ve become a bit of a margarita connoisseur over the years. Once you learn how to make a good, classic margarita, you’ll never turn back.

My tequila guide focuses on the various types of tequila, with fast facts to teach you what to buy. Not to pat myself on the back, but my margaritas are amazing, and tequila is a big component of this cocktail. This quick guide will make anyone an expert!

margarita glasses on a white countertop, with slices of limes.

What’s the Best Tequila for Margaritas?

This is one of those questions that might have countless answers. I’ll never claim to have the end-all answers here, but I can give you all of our personal favorites. I’m sharing these opinions, along with some serious research into the style of tequilas that work best for margaritas.

Regardless of my own personal opinions on brand or styles, experts will generally agree that 100% agave tequila is a requirement for good quality. It’s often found in a higher end, more expensive tequila, but you can certainly find affordable versions too. When you’re searching for one, 100% blue agave will always be noted on the label. 

A hand holding a homemade margarita garnished with lime

Julie’s Recommendations

I will always be team blanco or reposado tequila for margaritas. I’ve learned that I am not the biggest fan of gold tequila in my margaritas. 

However, tequila gold is a popular choice for fruity restaurant margs because it’s inexpensive and the flavor is easily manipulated in mixed drinks! 

If you want a lighter, more refreshing agave taste in your margarita, go for a blanco (silver tequila). Looking for a slightly richer experience? Try a reposado! Find my brand recommendations for each category below.

A glass pitcher full of a homemade margarita recipe

How is Tequila Made? 

Tequila is created from a particular type of agave plant, Agave tequilana Weber blue. It’s harvested during a very distinct stage of growth for optimal sweetness. It is only produced in Jalisco, and designated areas in four other Mexican states. 

The agave juice that is fermented and distilled into tequila comes from heating and crushing the piña, which is the pit at the center of the agave plant after the leaves are sheared. 

Tequila is produced under strict regulations in Mexico, regarding where and how it can be made. Fascinating, right?

Five bottles of tequila on a clear glass bar cart.

Five Types of Tequila

Did you know that there are actually five defined types of tequila? It’s not as simple as expensive tequila vs cheap tequila, I promise! However, it is as simple as two main categories that encompass all tequila.

You can consider all of those five types of tequila to fall under the umbrella of one of these two categories:

  • 100% Agave tequila – which means that the tequila is produced with ONLY the sugars of the blue agave plant.
  • Mixto tequila – in which the tequila is made with no less than 51% agave, and then sweetened with other sweeteners.

Inside those two overhead categories, you’ll find the five following types of tequila. These are organized by age and expense, with the youngest (often least expensive) listed first.

Quick Tip

The most expensive tequila isn’t the one you want for margaritas. Save those for sipping! Choose one of the more moderately priced bottles suggested below for your mixed drinks.

A mint margarita in a clear glass on a white surface

Blanco Tequila (Silver Tequila)

Blanco (also frequently referred to as silver tequila) is un-aged tequila, and is generally bottled quickly after it is distilled. Blanco tequila is perfectly described with its name, as it is quite clear in color. This means it works beautifully in mixed drinks, and alongside popular Mexican foods.

Because this tequila is not aged, it is generally bottled and packaged directly after it is distilled. Occasionally, distillers allow this tequila to settle and finish briefly in the tanks before bottling. 

Silver tequila contains the most powerful, sweet essence of the blue agave plant since it isn’t aged in barrels. It doesn’t pick up those competitive flavors as it ages, as other varieties tend to do. 

Blanco is generally considered to be the BEST go-to for margaritas and palomas because it’s easy, fresh and vibrant.

Julie’s Blanco Recommendations

Try Sauza Blue Silver for one good option at a lower price point! Casa Noble Crystal is a good option in this category, and so is 1800 Tequila Silver Blanco.

Our favorite silver that we’ve tried so far is Tequila Don Julio Blanco. Fresh, clean, and perfect for margaritas! Patron Roca Tequila is one of the more expensive tequilas in this category, and is a highly rated option.

Five bottles of tequila on a clear glass bar cart.

Joven Tequila (Tequila Gold)

Joven translates to  “young” in Spanish. It is also known as gold tequila because of the golden or caramel brown color. The color comes from flavoring agents that are added before bottling.

Gold tequila can also be combined with other tequilas, like a silver tequila or extra-aged tequila. This tequila doesn’t seem to be as popular for home mixing as the other tequilas that most are familiar with: blanco, reposado, and añejo. 

Gold tequila is typically a mixto tequila and is often served at restaurants for shots and mixed drinks such as margaritas because it is usually less expensive. 

However, just because it’s inexpensive doesn’t mean there aren’t decent options on the shelf! You can even find 100% agave gold tequilas, which are always going to be better than a traditionally inexpensive mixto version.  

Julie’s Joven Recommendation

If you’re on a tight budget, check out Agavales Gold, which can start at around $13 a bottle. That’s very inexpensive for a 100% agave tequila!  

Bottle of expensive tequila and margarita mix with glasses full of ice.

Reposado Tequila

Tequila reposado is so named because it translates to “rested”… or aged. It is aged in oak barrels for a minimum of two months, but no more than a year after it is distilled. 

Although it is gold in color like joven tequila, a reposado is often aged in white oak and French oak barrels. In a process that sounds remarkably similar to wine-making, the resins and tannins of those barrels dictate the final flavor of the tequila. 

In fact, reposado tequila will often acquire a variety of different flavors because those barrels had a previous life!  They might have been used to house whiskey, bourbon, and yes… wine. No wonder I love this type of tequila so much! 

As tequila ages, it becomes more mellow and sweet over time, so you’ll find many higher end but very approachable tequilas falling into this category. 

Reposados are perfect for sipping but also work well in fresh margaritas where you want your tequila flavor to be a standout.

Julie’s Reposado Recommendation

Try Camarena Reposado, or Tequila Don Julio Reposado in this category. Another crowd pleasing favorite around here? Anything from Casamigos.

A less expensive but still quality option is 1800 Tequila Reposado.

Four bottles of the best tequila for margaritas on a glass bar cart.

Añejo Tequila

Añejo translates to “old” in Spanish. And while anejo tequila might not technically be old, regulations guarantee that it is aged for a minimum of one year, but less than three years in oak barrels

This tequila is generally aged in oak whiskey barrels, French oak casks, or even barrels of Cognac.

In comparison to reposado, añejo tequilas will be even darker in color, smoother and more complex – perfect for sipping. 

These are not the tequilas you want for your mixed drinks. That’s because those richer flavors might be lost in your margarita, so choose another type of tequila if you’re working on mixed drinks.

Julie’s Añejo Recommendations

Try Don Julio 1942 Tequila. (Can you tell Don Julio is one of our favorite brands? It never lets us down!)

A recently discovered brand we are enjoying: Tequila Herradura Anejo. 

Higher end? Try Rey Sol Anejo Tequila.

Two clear glass bottles of tequila for margaritas, on a glass bar cart.

Extra Añejo Tequila

It’s the ultimate! This type of tequila has only been recognized since 2006 when the Mexican government dubbed it as a true (new) tequila. 

Thought Añejo was richly aged? Well extra Añejo takes that aging process even farther. It’s distilled exactly like a traditional Añejo, just aged for longer than three years

It’s the deepest color of all the tequila bottles you’ll find on the shelf. With that said, it’s also the most expensive! Save that steep price tag for a gift for the tequila connoisseurs on your list.

Bottles of this tequila will start at around $75 and go up from there. Like I said, save it for sipping and enjoy the experience! 

Julie’s Extra Añejo Recommendations

On the lower end (in this most expensive category), try Casa Azul Reserva Extra Añejo. Tequila Ley 925 Extra Añejo will be a great choice as well.

Gran Patron or Rey Sol Añejo Tequila are a couple of the big names in this category. Hey, if you’re going to go for it, go all the way, right?

A set up of bottles preparing to make margaritas, with expensive tequila bottle

Fast Fact

I recently discovered that while many brands of tequila like to boast about their “triple distilled” process, this has very little to do with the quality of the final product. In fact, that third round of distilling might be covering up a lack of quality tequila in the first two rounds – so don’t put too much stock in that distinction! 

Four bottles of the best tequila for margaritas on a glass bar cart.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use Reposado tequila for margaritas?

Absolutely. It’s one of my go-to options for homemade margaritas. It just depends on what kind of margarita I’m making and which flavor profile we’re in the mood for! 

What is a good inexpensive tequila for margaritas?

As mentioned above, the least expensive categories of tequila are going to be the silver and gold options. Go for a blanco (silver) because it’s always 100% agave and won’t compete with the flavors of your margarita mix. 
You can also grab an inexpensive bottle of gold tequila, but it’s harder to find one that is 100% agave.

What is the best type of tequila?

If you’re looking for a true sipping tequila (generally considered to be a connoisseur’s tequila), the answer to this question is going to be añejo. The price tag will often reflect the quality because it simply takes so much longer to produce. 

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  1. You missed another great Tequila for Margaritas, El Mayor blanco. It’s my go to tequila. Great article!

  2. We, too, are tequila connoisseurs. I just counted 20 bottles on our bar shelf, and we love a good sipping tequila too. We recently discovered a new brand(at least to us), Don Ramon. Their silver tequila is amazing and makes my favorite margarita. It’s also good with a little Topo Chico, agave nectar, and a squeeze of lime on a hot day! Yum! Our favorite economical sipping tequila is ArteNOM 1146. It was recommended to us at a restaurant in Santa Fe. Living in TX, we get lots of access to tequilas. I saw a couple on your list we haven’t tried so I’m sure we will add them to our list. Cheers!