How to Choose the Right Tequila for Margaritas

The tequila is what makes a margarita a margarita. Make sure you’ve got the right stuff in yours. Here’s everything you need to know.

How to Choose the Right Tequila for MargaritasTequila is the base of any good margarita. But how do you pick which one to use?

Authentic tequila originates from one of five regions of Mexico — Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, Tamaulipas and Jalisco. Wherever it comes from, look for the words “100% agave” on the label. If they aren’t there, the tequila might also include corn syrup, sugar, artificial flavors or colors. So not cool.

A silver or blanco tequila is best for margaritas. This tequila is young, only aged in oak for up for two months. It has a stronger flavor that mixes well.

Gold tequilas, not ideal for margaritas, have been aged longer in the oak. That gives them a woody flavor. And also the golden color. Except sometimes companies add caramel color for that. Either way, you don’t want it in your marg.

Side note while on the topic: There are three categories of golden tequila based on the amount of time they’re aged. Reposado is aged from 2-12 months, añejo is aged from 1-3 years and extra añejo is aged more than three years. A reposado, while golden, is fine in a margarita (though not our first choice). The other two you drink neat, at room temperature, and you sip slowly. Please skip the lime and salt. (Uh-oh, I hope that didn’t offend you. I’m all for some lime-and-salt fun with the silver or cheap gold tequila. But the price tag on the añejos makes me want to sit back and savor so that I can taste every bit of the subtle caramel, vanilla, honey and leather flavors. It would make me cry if I knew you were out there lime-and-salting with an añejo. Just cry).

Now that you know which tequila to get, it’s time to start mixing. Here are our favorite margarita recipes: Best Classic MargaritaFrozen Strawberry MargaritaLemon Basil MargaritaCherry Lime Margarita.

Amy Bowen

Amy had no clue how to cook until she became the food reporter for a daily newspaper in Minnesota. At 25, she even struggled with boxed mac and cheese. These days, Amy is a much better cook, thanks to interviewing cooks and chefs for more than 10 years. She even makes four cheese macaroni and cheese with bacon, no boxed mac in sight. Amy is also on the editorial team at The Cookful.