Tried and tasted: best tequilas for sipping and cocktails

Tequilas which can be drunk neat, on the rocks or used as a base for cocktail recipes

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Lobos 1707 Reposado

Lobos 1707 expressions

(Image credit: Lobos 1707/Selfridges)

"Lobos" is the Spanish word for wolves, in a nod to the wild spirit of the brand, while 1707 is the year that company founder Diego Osorio's ancestor is said to have developed the recipe. Osorio established the brand after journeying to Mexico through Altos de Jalisco and Oaxaca to trace the legend of his great-great-grandfather, who transported agave to his native Spain in sherry wine barrels –inadvertently creating a smooth tequila. Now available in the UK, Lobos 1707 offers joven and extra anejo expressions, and a reposado that is arguably the shining jewel in the brand's crown. The golden-hued tequila is aged in oak barrels, and finished in historic Pedro Ximénez (PX) wine barrels, and the result is rich and complex flavours when sipping. This bold spirit has a well-rounded taste with woody notes, but goes down smooth with little burn, finishing with a slight sweetness on the palate. From £64.99; Selfridges.com.

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Patrón El Cielo Prestige Silver Tequila

Patrón El Cielo Prestige Silver Tequila

Over the years tequila has often had a bad rep as a hangover-inducing "3am shot in a grotty nightclub" kind of drink. These days, however, it's a spirit that's positioned itself as one of the core ingredients for cocktail menus at trendy bars across the globe. Leading the way is premium Mexican brand Patrón, which recently launched "El Cielo", its prestige silver tequila. Made from 100% Weber Blue agave, water and yeast – and distilled four times (an industry first) – this tequila is so clean and smooth that it really is best enjoyed with just ice and a fresh orange wheel slice. Should you wish to get more creative with your at-home cocktail mixes, or fancy a tasty tipple when out on the town, then we recommend trying an El Cielo martini or spritz. At more than £200 ($253) for a 700ml bottle, El Cielo is certainly on the pricier end of the tequila scale. But in terms of a must-have addition for your home bar, and mornings with no hangovers, it's worth every penny. £220; selfridges.com

Maestro Dobel Diamante

Maestro Dobel Diamante

Maestro Dobel has both a long history of tequila mastery and an innate enthusiasm to innovate, resulting in a range of premium products that bring the traditional and the experimental harmoniously in sync. Diamante, the maker's star product, is created from a blend of añejo, extra-añejo and reposado tequilas, giving it a particularly unique character. Once aged and melded together, the blend undergoes a proprietary filtration process, removing any colour from the tequila and resulting in the smooth and sumptuous end product. This luxurious cristalino tequila has a certain flavour complexity, with sweeter caramel and vanilla notes balancing a punchier nuttiness. It's a perfect choice for those who want a distinct tequila that's delicious on the rocks, and almost a little too sippable when brightened with a little tonic. £61.25; thewhiskyexchange.com

818 Tequila

818 Tequila

(Image credit: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

818 Tequila's smooth and warm flavours are easily sipped neat, on the rocks, or mixed into your favourite cocktail. Founded by Kendall Jenner, the supermodel and entrepreneur, 818 has combined traditional fermentation processes with modern, eco-friendly technology to create her "magic" tequila. The delightful vanilla citrus flavours are all brought together by the Weber Blue Agave, hand picked from Jalisco state in Mexico, where it is twice-distilled in copper pots and then aged in French and American oak barrels. Offering three-week aged Blanco, four-month aged Reposado, 14-month aged Añejo, and Eight Reserve, a blend of Añejo aged up to eight years, there's varying flavour profiles to enjoy here, however you choose to drink it. From £53.99; selfridges.com

El Sueño Watermelon

El Sueño Watermelon

This naturally flavoured tequila is made from fresh watermelon and Mexican piloncillo – unrefined whole cane sugar – which provides a delicate sweetness. The versatile liqueur is perfect for a twist on a classic Margarita or other classic cocktails, but can also be enjoyed straight over crushed ice as a deliciously refreshing summer cooler. El Sueño Watermelon might not be quite what Harry Styles has in mind when he sings about a watermelon sugar high, but its flavour is still fairly euphoric. £19.25; elsuenotequila.com

Patrón Añejo

Row of Patron bottles

(Image credit: Patrón)

"Artists rapping about 'shots of Patrón' have really given tequila an undeservedly bad (and, ahem, cheap) rep," said Rolling Stone. Don't be fooled. One of the world's most popular tequila brands, Patrón has been on the market for more than 30 years, during which time it has solidified its position at the top of the liquor leagues. Rolling Stone described the Grand Patrón as "like a fine wine that's been aged to perfection", first in used American and new French Oak barrels, and finished in vintage Bordeaux ones. With notes of fruit and mushroom, it's a unique, smooth blend. If the price point is off-putting, the Añejo is well worth a try. Aged in used bourbon barrels, expect a little citrus, ginger and black paper on the taste buds. Patrón Añejo £69.50; fortnumandmason.com

Goya Tequila Blanco

Goya tequila cocktail

(Image credit: Goya)

Its producers describe this spirit as one for the new generation of tequila drinkers – and it's pretty clear why. Goya Tequila Blanco is made with a considered environmental approach, produced on a small-scale and using traditional methods. Like most top quality tequilas, it is made from 100% blue agave, but unlike some others, its production is organic. You won't find sugars or insecticides in this seasonal elixir. It's incredibly smooth – a testament to its creators' vision of producing a tequila worthy of a Michelin starred-chef's palate. £45.74; masterofmalt.com

The Butterfly Cannon Blue

The Butterfly Cannon Blue

The super-premium tequila – which is named after the migration of butterflies from the US to Mexico – comes from Destiladora del Valle de Tequila, a traditional distillery in Tequila, western Mexico. The first thing you'll notice about this 100% agave liquor is its vibrant violet-blue colouring which changes to pink when a mixer like tonic or citrus juice is added. Aged in a barrel for up to 30 days, the liquid's flavour is rich and unique, with notes of clementine, prickly pear, strawberry, watermelon, fig and banana. Other flavours, including The Butterfly Cannon Rosa, which is made by infusing Mexican pink grapefruit peel, are available too. £30.95; masterofmalt.com

1800 Silver Tequila

1800 Tequila served with margaritas

(Image credit: 1800Tequila Instagram)

In 1795, the Cuervo family became the first in the world to be given permission to sell their tequila commercially. "The 1800 tequila brand is all about paying tribute to tradition," said BBC Good Food, so traditional growing and production methods are closely followed. With 100% agave, the double-distilled 1800 silver tequila is light and smooth. Selected white tequilas are blended together to add a level of depth to the balanced flavour, that can be sipped straight, over ice or as a star cocktail ingredient. £34.49; masterofmalt.com

Mijenta Tequila Blanco

Mijenta Tequila Blanco

This super silky, award-winning tequila is made from 100% agave grown in the highlands of Jalisco. It's one of the most sustainable products of its kind: all of the paper elements of the packaging are made from agave waste by an organisation of single mothers in Mexico and the company, Mijenta, is a carbon-neutral operation. Mijenta has also partnered with The Ocean Foundation (TOF), a community foundation working to conserve ocean environments, and Whales of Guerrero, another community-driven organisation that focuses on conserving the ecosystem of humpback whales. £51.49; masterofmalt.com

Cazcabel Coffee Liqueur

Cazcabel Coffee Tequila

The team behind Cazcabel, located in Arandas, a small town nestled in Mexico's Jalisco mountains, have combined two of the country's greatest exports: tequila and coffee. Cazcabel Coffee Liqueur marries a roasted sweet hit of luxury coffee with a spirit fashioned from Jalisco-grown Blue Weber Agave, creating a sweet and boozy treat that's delicious both in cocktails and neat. Other flavours include honey and coconut. £27.70; masterofmalt.com

VIVIR Tequila Blanco

VIVIR Tequila Blanco

(Image credit: VIVIR Blanco)

This award-winning tequila is produced from nine-year-old Weber Blue Agave, grown in Jalisco, Mexico, with the addition of natural volcanic spring water. Traditional hornos (or ovens) are used to produce this smooth spirit that's finished with a slightly floral flavour. It's an easy drinker that holds its own in punchy concoctions, or can be enjoyed au naturale. The Blanco option is a favourite, but if you prefer your tequila aged, then opt for the award-winning Añejo. A reposado is also available, and the Cafe VS is sure to prove popular with espresso martini fans. From £39.15; masterofmalt.com

Clase Azul Reposado

Clase Azul Reposado

(Image credit: Clase Azul)

This is the "piece de resistance of top-quality tequila", according to GQ. Six- to eight-year-old Weber Blue Agave is slow-cooked to aged for eight months in American whiskey casks, creating Clase Azul Tequila Reposado's characterful flavour mix of vanilla, hazelnut, cloves and cinnamon. This medium-bodied tequila is easily recognisable for its ceramic decanter which features a distinctive blue design hand-painted by Mexican artisans. "Sip this slowly, you'll want to make it last." £179.95; masterofmalt.com

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