While there's certainly nothing wrong with celebrating Cinco de Mayo by popping open a bottle of Corona to go along with your chilaquiles, there's plenty of exploration to do in the world of Mexican drinks. Tequila has been surging in popularity in recent years, and there are an unprecedented number of brands on liquor store shelves nowadays.
Unfortunately, the difference in quality between a cheap mixto tequila and a well-made 100-percent agave spirit can be as wide as the Mar de Cortés, making it worthwhile to do a little research before reaching for your wallet.
We've recently discussed several good blanco and joven tequilas—here are another five brands, each of them 100-percent agave tequilas, and worth checking out this Cinco de Mayo.
- Partida: Hardly a shrinking violet, Partida is one of the best-selling premium tequilas in the country. While the brand is less than 10 years old, Partida has a character that stays close to tequila tradition. Partida's blanco has a bright, fruity spark that gives a lively flavor to citrusy drinks such as a classic margarita, and its reposado and anejo styles are touched with traces of dried fruit, cocoa and winter spice.
- Milagro: Another relative newcomer to the market, Milagro's tequilas have a character that's bright and tropical. The blanco has a floral aroma and a taste of pineapple and black pepper, and the anejo is rich and lush, with flavors of cocoa, toasted almonds and caramel.
- Cabo Wabo: Celebrity-endorsed spirits are not infrequently of questionable quality, but Cabo Wabo—a brand launched by rock star Sammy Hagar—is a notable exception. A lowland tequila with a notable earthiness in its character, the blanco is appealingly crisp and dry, while the reposado and anejo tequilas have a complex depth of flavor laced with an aroma of fresh evergreen.
- Casa Noble: One of the few organic tequilas on the shelf, Casa Noble is a lowland tequila with a potent minerality. Fragrantly floral with traces of dark chocolate, Casa Noble blanco has an assertive, complex flavor of fresh pears and pepper, with an expressive gaminess that is offbeat but alluring.
- Don Julio: Another bestseller, Don Julio is the tequila that made me first fall in love with agave spirits. Clean, vegetal and somewhat juicy with flavors of nectarine and roasted agave, the Don Julio line of tequilas are notably dry and balanced.
Those are a few of the tequilas I may find myself sipping tonight. What are some of your favorites worth breaking out on Cinco de Mayo?