The World's Best Guide to Buying Tequila That Doesn't Suck

The World's Best Guide to Buying Tequila That Doesn't Suck
Dave Lieberman

I'm a liquor store yenta. That's right; if I see you picking up one of those neon green bottles of margarita mix, or God forbid the bilious-looking piss-yellow bottle with the Cuervo garbage already mixed in, I will come over and strike up and awkward conversation in which I try to convince you to buy something better, because that stuff is a one-way ticket to a hangover.

See also:
- Five Ways to Tell a Great Tequila Bar From a Mediocre One
- Leyva's Liquors: Always,
Always Your Last Stop Before Heading for the Border
- Four Reasons Why Patrón Tequila Is an Affront to Mexicans--And One Reason Why It's Not

The best is seeing people with a cart full of $35 vodka and $40 whiskey looking at José Cuervo Gold. Why not spend $3 more and get something better? Did that Tracy Byrd song ("I went ten rounds with José Cuervo-o-o...") really have such an impact on you?

And another thing... why are you spending so much money on sipping tequila? Is it the Cristal effect, where the Don Julio and Patrón brands are the "cool" brands, so it's worth paying $50 for a fifth of tequila that half the bars in America serve ice cold anyway?

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It's a nationwide epidemic, this affinity for bad or overpriced tequila, and it's time for it to stop. Read on for my opinionated, completely unbiased opinion after two decades drinking tequila here and in Mexico. Don't like it? Tell me what a pendejo I am in the comments--but show your work and leave your own suggestions!

1. If it comes in a pretty or interesting bottle, it's generally mediocre

The Valley of Tequila, Jalisco
The Valley of Tequila, Jalisco
Dave Lieberman

If you're thinking about buying of those fugly glass monstrosities in the shape of a gun, a cactus, a woman with enormous breasts, or whatever, just stop. Go buy a bottle of La Cofradia tequila instead, because it's cheaper and it's the same tequila--they all come from La Cofradia. One of the best tequilas for mixed drinks, Tequila Tapatío, comes in a plain bottle that could just as easily have housed rum, Scotch, or wine. My house tequila, Volcán de Mi Tierra, comes in a similarly plain bottle. Cuánto más se ve fresa, menos me interesa. The fancier it looks, the less it interests me.

2. If it's "created by" or linked to a celebrity, it may be good, but it's almost certainly overpriced. It may also be rascuache--crap

"There are huge advertising budgets only when there's no difference between the products. If the products really were different, people would buy the one that's better. Advertising teaches people not to trust their judgment. Advertising teaches people to be stupid." --Carl Sagan, Contact

Cabo Wabo tequila is massively popular because Sammy Hagar is affiliated with it, not because it's any good; Xzibit flogs Tequila Bonita, which every Spanish speaker knows is bogus, because it should be Tequila Bonito (it's el tequila). And then there's Daddy Yankee, who wins the Pendejo Tequilero award for lending his name to a tequila called El Cartel, made by the same distillery as the overpriced Avión. Celebrities are famous for not having any taste--have you seen Keeping Up With the Kardashians?--and so choosing your tequila based on who flogs it is just idiotic.

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