There’s no disputing that sheltering in place and quarantining yourself from the rest of the world (while safe and effective and absolutely the right move right now) can be downright boring. That’s why it’s important to make time for activities that keep you entertained and add a little normalcy to a very hectic, strange period in your life.
In our opinion, one of the best ways to at least feel like everything is normal is to have taco night. That’s right, taco night. Hard or soft shells, beef or Beyond Meat, cheese, lettuce, guacamole, and whatever else you typically add to your taco. Be a maximalist. Go wild. Double the cheese you brilliant, beautiful bastard.
If we’re really trying for the illusion of a regular night, we have to pair our tacos with tequila or mezcal. But picking the right bottle to enjoy at home requires a little expert advice — especially if you want to hit the sweet spot between buget, flavor, and mixability. That’s why we decided to ask the pros to tell us the one tequila they’d bring into quarantine.
Bryant Orozco, bar manager at Madre Restaurants + Mezcaleria in Los Angeles
I like to spread the gospel of drinking agave spirits straight, but if I really needed to, and if no one knew, and if no one was around to judge, I would totally drink Tapatio 110. It’s a kick to the teeth and really showcases what a strong tequila can be.
Plus, two margaritas later I’d be set.
Zee Zammit, bartender at Georgia Boy in Atlanta
Espolon Blanco. It’s never let me down. I find that a lot of people try to hide the tequila in their margaritas. The subtle vegetal notes really keep the tequila the star of the show — as it should be.
Sam Gay, bartender at Ojai Valley Inn in Ojai, California
Fuentaseca tequila is doing some very daring and risky things with aging tequila. Where most tequilas are un-aged or rested, their oldest tequila is aged for 21 years. They had to practically reinvent the whole approach to aging tequila and it results in something truly unique and special.
Casa Dragones Blanco
Osvaldo Vasquez, mixologist at Chileno Bay Resort, Auberge Resorts Collection in Los Cabos, Mexico
Casa Dragones Blanco. I really like things produced in small batches. The reason why I like it is that they are very meticulous with their processes and every bottle has a well-defined flavor of Agave. I also like that every bottle is numbered and signed by hand, which makes it special and personal.
La Gritona Reposado
Matt Hoffa, lead bartender at The Mayfair Hotel in Los Angeles
If I only had to pick one, it would be La Gritona Reposado. I love this brand because it’s a small batch, pure and clean tequila at a great price point.
VIVA XXXII Reposado
Nikki McCutcheon, beverage director at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge in New York City
I wish more people knew about VIVA XXXII Tequila. They produce a wonderful product and do a lot of philanthropic work as well — donating 10% of all net proceeds to animal abuse prevention charities. Beyond that, their entry-level Joven tequila is blended with extra Anejo tequila and then filtered for its clear color making their value in the “Blanco”/”Joven” category untouchable.
Don Julio 70
Kyle Walter, Bartender at Grayton Beer Brewpub in Santa Rosa, Florida
We all know Don Julio blanco, reposado, and anejo, but the Don Julio 70 clear anejo is the bomb diggity. In a signature square bottle and celebrating 70 years of Don Julio Gonzalez and their heritage, its notes of white chocolate and hazelnut will take your breath away. Pour it neat, let it sit for two minutes, and enjoy.
Maestro Dobel Diamante
Hector Acevedo, part owner of Spanglish Craft Cocktail Bar & Kitchen in Miami
Maestro Dobel Diamante. The versatility Dobel have is incredible. From a classic Margarita all the way to an Old Fashioned. It’s an aged tequila that has been filtered to come out clear. It’s a blend of anejo, reposado, and extra anejo.
Los Vecinos Mezcal
Alex Carlin, beverage director of Infuse Hospitality & Fairgrounds in Chicago
I think it would be a great idea to spend the day showing our love by supporting a community in need. Los Vecinos Mezcal is a small production Mezcal made from Espadin by ten families of mezcaleros in a co-op in Oaxaca. The distillery is run by Carmen Villareal who has committed to invest in the local community to provide jobs and opportunities through the production of her Mezcal.
Profits from the Mezcal go toward building women’s shelters for victims of domestic violence.
Jose Cuervo Gold
Abraham Millett, head bartender at Plunge Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Okay, so the reason Margarita’s exist is because the quality of tequila back when they were invented was awful, it just doesn’t matter what you use so long as you mix it right. That being said, you can’t lose with Cuervo.
Del Maguey Vida Mezcal
Jill Bulmash, mixologist at Monk’s Flask in Asheville, North Carolina
Can I say mezcal? Because I’d go with mezcal. Del Maguey Vida is savory, smoky, and is so perfect in a margarita that you may never go back to tequila again.