Although blanco Tequilas may line the bar at Mexican restaurants, if you’re seeking the ultimate Tequila cocktail, head for the reposado.
Reposado (meaning rested) Tequilas—aged in oak barrels from two months to one year— offer a balanced blend of sprightly pepper and citrus notes tempered by mellow, toasty vanilla.
Reposado Tequila is be making a strong showing on cocktail menus. This makes sense: Where añejo (aged) is often too expensive to mix and blanco too brash, the honeyed tones of reposado Tequila lend affordable finesse to mixed drinks, from classic margaritas and palomas to newer libations.
Since they are aged in barrels (including some that previously held whiskey), it shouldn’t be surprising that many compare reposado Tequila to whiskey. So perhaps it was only a matter of time before some clever mixologist adapted a classic whiskey cocktail to feature reposado. Indeed, at New York newcomer Tijuana Picnic, bartender Jim Kearns has created what he calls “a Mexi-Manhattan.”
The “Mi Hermano,” starts with 1½ ounces of reposado Tequila and an ounce of sweet vermouth—similar to a Manhattan. But then Kearns bitters it up with ¾ ounce of Averna (an Italian amaro), plus two dashes each of Angostura bitters and Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters. The cocktail is then shaken and strained into a coupe glass spritzed with Fernet-Branca. The end result is complex and surprisingly food-friendly, just right alongside a soft taco filled with skirt steak.
Additionally, many reposados are suitable as sipping Tequilas. For example, Herradura’s line of cask-finished Tequilas offer complexity worth savoring, while Tapatio’s new expression has intriguingly savory, almost meaty flavors that seem a shame to hide beneath fruit juices.
Recommended Reposado Tequilas
Tequila Herradura Colección de la Casa Reserva 2014 Scotch Cask Finish Reposado Tequila (Mexico; Brown-Forman Beverages, Louisville, KY); $90, 97 points.
Siete Leguas Tequila Reposado (Mexico; Gemini Spirits & Wine, Chicago, IL); $43, 95 points.
Casa Noble Tequila Reposado (Mexico; Constellation Brands, Chicago, IL); $60, 94 points.
Don Ramon Tequila Reposado (Mexico; ER Distributors, San Antonio, TX); $36, 94 points.
Partida Tequila Reposado (Mexico; Partida Tequila, San Francisco, CA); $47, 94 points.
IXA Organic Tequila Reposado (Mexico; Greenbar Craft Distillery, Los Angeles, CA); $47, 93 points.
Lunazul Tequila Reposado (Mexico; Heaven Hill, Bardstown, KY); $21, 93 points.
Pueblo Viejo Tequila Reposado (Mexico; Gemini Spirits & Wine, Chicago, IL); $23, 93 points.
Tapatio Tequila Reposado (Mexico; Domaine Charbay Distillers, Ukiah, CA); $44/1L, 93 points.
Casamigos Tequila Reposado (Mexico; Sidney Frank Importing, New Rochelle, NY); $50, 92 points.
Maestro Dobel Tequila Reposado (Mexico; Proximo Spirits, Jersey City, NJ); $45, 92 points.