Slammer Horror

For years the word ‘tequila’ inspired thoughts of sticky floors, hangovers and pangs of regret. The salt/tequila/lime ritual was born of a necessity to mask cheap spirit, which is apt given what we had to work with for far too long. Thankfully the spirit has managed to – mostly – shake this identity off in favour of premium production and serves
Like liqueurs and rum, tequila has enjoyed a significant bounce-back – managing to exceed pre-COVID levels two years ago. Although the category remains the second smallest spirit by volume, it is up 11% in value terms and 10% by volume*

The category has always had premium products with puro (pure agave), quality tequilas and mezcals, although it seems that it’s really starting to gain traction with consumers – in some part thanks to the gin boom’s rethink on tonic water overflowing into other white spirit categories

Review your range, get inspired and ditch the bottle with the plastic hat on it, we beg of you…


The blanco is pretty feisty and will certainly hold its own in cocktails as well as simpler serves. The reposado is well-made and hard to fault -especially for liquid that’s reasonably priced. The aging adds plenty of vanilla and butterscotch to those peppery notes
Range includes a blanco and a reposado

If you are looking for a range to fill out the backbar, you could certainly do worse than Cazcabel. Hitting a sweet spot between value and quality pretty damned hard, the blanco offers citrus, earthy and peppery character, the reposado builds on it with caramel and dried fruit, and the liqueurs are perfect for cocktails and shots
Range includes a blanco and a reposado as well as coffee and honey liqueurs

Square-bottled familiarity in the well-priced mixto world is not where the Cuervo range ends; the Tradicional is an excellent puro that has both spice and minerality, as well as hints of vanilla
Range includes a mixto blanco and reposado as well as a puro blanco

Don Julio
Towards the premium end of the category, we have Don Julio, with the blanco showing familiar peppery kick, with layers of zesty citrus, minerality and vanilla and the añejo really building on complex fruit character, coffee and even marzipan. Definitively top shelf
Range includes a blanco and an añejo

Ocho tequila is the first to mark each of its releases with both the name of the field from which the blue agave that make the liquid were grown and the year of production. Like vintages of wine, their releases often vary subtly in character. The blanco is consistently citrus-clean with pepper and fresh melon flavours, aging into vanilla and spice with the reposado
Range includes a blanco and a reposado

El Jimador Blanco
An unbelievable workhorse of a puro tequila, where the sweet, clean peppery notes make for a fantastic tequila and tonic as much as a Margarita, or even just taken neat

Olmeca Blanco
Although this is an entry level mixto, it is more than capable in a cocktail. Elements of peppery spice balance a bit of fruity agave and pastry flavours

Patron Blanco
Made from a combination of modern and traditionally produced liquids, Patron more than earns its world-renowned premium status thanks to a complex and nuanced flavour profile. Spicy pepper, tropical fruits, herbs, spices and floral notes are all in there, making for a tequila that works well in a spirit-forward cocktail

Quiquiriqui Matalan Mezcal
This mezcal offers a lot of the classic tequila notes – pepper, citrus, over-ripe tropical fruit – with an added layer of subtle bonfire smoke thanks to the classic mezcal roasting process of cooking the piñas in a covered hole very slowly



*WSTA Market Report, July 2022.


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