26 Best Tequilas For Shots [Trendiest Picks of 2023]
Tequila shots have a unique way of bringing people together for celebrations, nights out, or simply enjoying flavorful and exciting experiences. Finding the best tequilas for shots, however, can be a challenge with so many options available on the market. It's not just about grabbing the first bottle you see on the shelf; there are various factors to consider, such as quality, taste, and unique shot experiences.
As an avid tequila enthusiast, I have had my fair share of shots from budget-friendly choices to premium selections. In this article, I'll share my insights on the best tequilas for shots that cater to all preferences and budgets, ensuring that your next tequila-fueled experience is a memorable one.
Also Read: What to Mix With Tequila to Drink?
26 Best Tequilas For Shots in 2023
Discover the top 26 tequilas of 2023 that elevate your shots from forgettable to unforgettable. Whether you're a casual sipper or a tequila connoisseur, our curated list offers options that promise a smooth experience and a memorable kick. Cheers to finding your next go-to bottle!
1. Straight Tequila Shot (Best Classic Tequila Shot)
The straight tequila shot is the quintessential tequila experience, which consists of simply savoring the bold taste of tequila without any mixers. It's a ritual for many tequila lovers, who embrace the strong flavor by pairing it with salt and a lime wedge.
The salt helps to activate our taste buds for a fuller flavor experience, while the lime wedge offers a refreshing citrus finish that's become synonymous with tequila. To fully appreciate this classic, opt for a high-quality, 100% agave tequila, as these impart a rich and smooth taste that can be ruined by lesser-quality options.
2. Tequila Sunrise Shot
Inspired by the golden hues of a sunrise, this eye-catching shot layers orange juice, tequila, and grenadine for a delightful and refreshing burst of flavor. The vibrant colors of the Tequila Sunrise shot make it visually stunning, while the fruity and slightly tangy notes tantalize your taste buds.
It's the perfect way to enjoy tequila in a more accessible and enjoyable manner, especially for those who may not favor the intensity of a straight shot. To create the perfect Tequila Sunrise shot, use fresh orange juice and smooth tequila with subtle citrus undertones.
3. Mexican Flag
A patriotic and creative take on the tequila shot, the Mexican Flag combines the colors of Mexico's flag in a single beverage. This multi-layered shot consists of equal parts grenadine (red), tequila (white), and crème de menthe (green), for a visually striking presentation and an enticing blend of flavors.
The sweetness of the grenadine harmonizes with the cooling notes of crème de menthe, while the tequila provides a bold backbone that complements the other two components. With the right technique and a steady hand, this beautiful shot can make a lasting impression at any gathering.
4. Tequila Slammer
The Tequila Slammer is an interactive and exciting way to enjoy tequila, with a performance that's sure to delight onlookers. This shot combines tequila with a fizzy mixer, often lemon-lime soda or ginger ale, in equal parts. To perform the "slammer" part of the shot, the drinker covers the top of the glass with their palm, slams it on the table, and takes the shot immediately.
The resultant fizz creates a lively mouthfeel, while the carbonation enhances the tequila's flavor profile. Perfect for sharing with friends or at parties, the Tequila Slammer is a classic that never disappoints.
5. Prairie Fire
For those who love to add some heat to their tequila shots, the Prairie Fire is a must-try. This bold and daring shot combines tequila with a generous dash of hot sauce, creating an explosion of fiery flavors. The warmth of the tequila intertwines with the spiciness of the hot sauce, making this shot perfect for those with an adventurous palate.
When choosing a hot sauce, opt for one that complements the tequila while adding its unique kick. The Prairie Fire is a classic that adds some excitement to any tequila night, testing your courage and taste buds in equal measure.
The Sangrita is a classic tequila shot accompaniment that originates from traditional Mexican drinking culture. While not a tequila shot by itself, it makes the list for offering a unique way to enjoy tequila. Sangrita, made from a blend of tomato juice, orange juice, lime juice, grenadine, and a splash of hot sauce, is meant to be sipped alongside a straight tequila shot.
The tangy, spicy, and sweet combination enhances the taste of tequila, creating an indulgent and vibrant experience. When trying the Sangrita for the first time, ensure you choose a quality tequila that can stand up to the bold and rich flavors of the accompanying beverage.
7. Lychee Tequila Shot (Best Flavorful Shot)
A perfect blend of the exotic lychee fruit paired with the strong, robust nature of tequila, the Lychee Tequila Shot is truly a treat for the senses. With the sweet and juicy flavor of lychee complementing the boldness of tequila, this shot unfolds into a perfect harmony of aromas and flavors. To create this masterpiece, simply muddle lychees in a shaker, add tequila and shake vigorously. Strain the mixture into a shot glass and enjoy your fresh, fruity, and flavorful shot.
8. Mexican Samurai
Inspired by the fusion of Mexican and Asian cultures, the Mexican Samurai is an exquisite blend of tequila, sake, and yuzu juice. This invigorating concoction introduces a world of flavors that explode in a symphony of citrus, floral, and earthy notes.
The yuzu juice adds a bright and zesty citrus profile, while the sake's delicate taste complements tequila's bold nature. To make a Mexican Samurai, mix equal parts tequila, sake, and yuzu juice, and garnish with a lemon peel for that extra touch of flair.
9. Wake the Dead
Embracing the spirit of the Day of the Dead, the Wake the Dead shot is a lively blend of tequila, coffee liqueur, and espresso. This intense and invigorating shot will jolt your senses alive with its rich coffee undertones and the smooth warmth of tequila.
Prepare this shot by combining equal parts of espresso, coffee liqueur, and tequila, and serve it chilled in a sugar-rimmed shot glass. This luxurious elixir is perfect for those who love their tequila shots with an added kick.
10. Butterfly Cannon Tequila Blue
In a stunning union of color and flavor, the Butterfly Cannon Tequila Blue is an enchanting concoction that is as delightful to behold as it is to savor. The vivid blue hue is derived from butterfly pea flowers, which impart a delicate, floral profile to the tequila.
This magical elixir is achieved by infusing tequila with butterfly pea flowers and adding a splash of lime juice. Marvel in the mesmerizing color transformation as the pH changes when the lime juice is introduced. A truly captivating spectacle for the eyes and the palate alike!
11. El Vocho
Paying homage to the country of its origin, the El Vocho shot is a vibrant and refreshing take on a tequila shot that features an exciting fusion of green and red colors. This fruity concoction combines the flavors of pineapple, cilantro, and jalapeño with smooth tequila, resulting in a shot that is equal parts sweet, spicy, and brimming with freshness.
Blend tequila with fresh pineapple, cilantro, and jalapeño in a blender, then strain the mixture into a shot glass. Drizzle a touch of grenadine to create the striking red layer before enjoying this invigorating and picturesque tequila shot.
Also Read: Best Flavored Tequilas
12. Margarita Jello Shot
A delectable twist on the classic margarita cocktail, the Margarita Jello Shot is a fun and refreshing way to enjoy tequila. With its enticing blend of lime, Cointreau, and tequila, this jiggly shot captures the essence of a margarita in a playful format.
Prepare this shot by mixing lime jello with hot water, Cointreau, and tequila. Pour the mixture into shot glasses or molds and refrigerate until set. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on top before serving, and enjoy this delightful incarnation of a margarita in a bite-sized, wobbly form.
13. Juan More Time Tequila Blanco
Bringing together the smoothness of a blanco tequila and the irresistible flavors of tropical fruits, the Juan More Time Tequila Blanco guarantees a shot experience you'll never forget. The vibrant blend of passion fruit, guava, and citrus notes, combined with the signature kick of tequila, results in a harmonious and refreshing shot.
To create this delightful concoction, simply mix blanco tequila with a blend of passion fruit and guava juices in equal parts, and add a splash of lime juice for enhanced flavor. Serve it chilled and enjoy the explosion of tropical flavors that Juan More Time Tequila Blanco brings to your taste buds.
14. Patron Silver Tequila
Patron Silver Tequila is a top-shelf choice that promises a refined and elegant taste. With its smooth, crisp flavor and a subtle hint of fresh agave, taking a shot of Patron Silver is a truly enjoyable experience. This premium tequila is crafted in small batches from the finest Weber Blue Agave, which undergoes a traditional stone milling process.
This time-honored technique contributes to the tequila's unique, full-bodied character and sublime texture that is a must-try for tequila enthusiasts.
15. Espolon Blanco
The allure of Espolon Blanco lies in its exquisite combination of intense, fruity flavors and a spicy kick. Distilled in the Los Altos region of Jalisco, Mexico, this superb tequila is renowned for its slightly sweet notes of pineapple and vanilla, coupled with undertones of pepper and an earthy finish. The stunning, detailed artwork on the bottle adds an extra touch of luxury, making it an excellent choice for shots at a special event or gathering.
16. Cincoro Blanco Tequila
Championed by NBA legend Michael Jordan and a group of fellow basketball team owners, Cincoro Blanco Tequila boasts an unmatched quality that is simply divine. This ultra-smooth tequila features a delicate blend of citrus and tropical fruit notes, with a delicate balance of minerality and sweet agave. Crafted with traditional and modern techniques, Cincoro Blanco is aged in American oak barrels, resulting in a superbly round, yet crisp flavor that is perfect for shots.
17. Casamigos Reposado Tequila
Casamigos Reposado Tequila, co-founded by George Clooney and Rande Gerber, has quickly become synonymous with luxury. Aged for seven months in American oak barrels, this premium tequila introduces a harmonious blend of caramel, vanilla, and cocoa notes, which are playfully teased with a hint of cinnamon. The aging process imparts a rich complexity and exceptional smoothness, making it a divine choice for sipping or shooting.
18. Teremana Blanco
Another top-tier tequila with a celebrity connection, Teremana Blanco is the brainchild of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. This exquisite tequila is crafted in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico and offers a perfect balance between sweet and citrusy flavors with a touch of earthy, peppery notes. The Highland region agave used in its production adds a distinctive character, which, when combined with the traditional and modern distillation processes, results in a velvety, sublime experience for the senses.
19. 1800 Silver
1800 Silver is a sophisticated, smooth tequila that showcases the perfect harmony between the flavors of masterfully aged tequilas and the crispness of joven tequilera. It is double-distilled and made from 100% Weber Blue Agave, which imparts a distinctly fresh and clean taste. The smooth texture and gentle sweetness make 1800 Silver an ideal choice for shots, whether enjoyed neat or chilled.
20. Casamigos Blanco Tequila
With a rich scent of agave and a lingering finish, Casamigos Blanco Tequila epitomizes the luxuriousness of premium tequilas. Its smooth and balanced flavor features refreshing hints of mint and grapefruit, which are complemented by an earthy depth. Carefully crafted and distilled at a slow pace, this tequila delivers consistent quality, making it a fantastic option for elevating any shot experience.
21. El Jimador Silver (Best Reposado and Blanco Tequila)
El Jimador Silver is a Blanco tequila that comes from the heart of Jalisco, Mexico. Produced from hand-harvested blue agave, this tequila provides a smooth and crisp flavor profile. It has a delicate aroma of agave, citrus, and herbal notes, which makes it perfect for shots. This is an ideal choice for those who are looking for an affordable yet high-quality tequila. Apart from shots, you can also enjoy this versatile spirit in your favorite cocktails.
22. Olmeca Altos Plata
Olmeca Altos Plata is an artisanal tequila with a well-balanced taste, suitable for both sipping and shooting. Made from 100% blue agave and aged in oak barrels for a brief period, this Blanco tequila stands out for its sweet and herbal aromas. It presents a fruity sensation with notes of almond, vanilla, and slight hints of pepper. If you're searching for a mid-tier tequila with a rich flavor, Olmeca Altos Plata is definitely one to try.
23. El Nacimiento Tequila Reposado
El Nacimiento Tequila Reposado is a deliciously complex and smooth tequila that has been aged in American oak barrels for three to six months. During this aging process, tequila develops a rich amber color and a lovely mellowness. You'll appreciate the notes of sweet agave, caramel, oak, and a subtle peppery finish, making this Reposado a great choice for savoring in shots. This tequila can also be served on the rocks or mixed in a cocktail to enhance the overall experience.
24. Anteel Blanco Tequila
Anteel Blanco Tequila has recently gained popularity for its unique taste and award-winning formula. Made from 100% pure Weber Blue Agave, this tequila showcases a delightful combination of sweet and spicy flavors. The aroma consists of citrus and floral notes, while the taste offers hints of herbal and peppery elements. With a smooth and silky finish, Anteel Blanco Tequila is a fantastic choice for those who want to indulge in a premium tequila shot experience.
25. Tequila Shot Gift Bundle
The Tequila Shot Gift Bundle provides a wonderful opportunity to sample a variety of premium tequilas. These bundles often include different expressions of the featured tequila, such as blanco, reposado, and añejo. It's the perfect way to introduce someone to the nuances and flavors that set each tequila apart. Additionally, these gift bundles may come with shot glasses or other tequila accessories that enhance the overall experience.
26. Anteel Reposado Tequila
For a truly unique gift, consider including Anteel Reposado Tequila in your tequila gift bundle. This distinctive spirit is crafted by carefully barrel-aging tequila for eight months in American oak barrels. With this process, the tequila is infused with a delicious array of flavors such as vanilla, caramel, and toasted almond. The end result is rich and full-bodied tequila that offers an exquisite sipping experience.
Also Read: Best Reposado Tequila Brands
Importance of Choosing the Right Tequila for Shots
Selecting the right tequila for shots is crucial to ensure an enjoyable experience. Here are some significant points to consider when making your decision:
Just as with any other spirit, the quality of the tequila will greatly affect your enjoyment. High-quality tequilas are generally smoother and more flavorful, leading to a delightful and enjoyable experience. On the other hand, low-quality tequilas can be harsh on the palate, with an unpleasant aftertaste.
Each tequila brand and type offers its unique flavor profile. Blanco tequilas, for example, tend to have a lighter, more straightforward flavor, while reposado and añejo tequilas often incorporate more complex tastes – a result of being aged in wooden barrels. Understanding and appreciating these differences will help you choose a tequila that complements your preferences and enhances your shot experience.
Some tequilas are specifically crafted for certain shot experiences, such as fruity or spicy shots. Choosing a tequila that pairs well with the ingredients in the shot can elevate the overall taste and make your experience even more memorable.
Affordability vs. Enjoyment
It's essential to strike a balance between affordability and enjoyment. While it's okay to splurge occasionally on a higher-end tequila for a special occasion, it's also important to find affordable options that still provide a satisfying experience. This way, you can enjoy tequila shots responsibly and without breaking the bank.
By considering all these factors, you can ensure that your tequila choices lead to a memorable, thrilling, and enjoyable shot experience.
The Origins: Why Tequila Shots Are Popular Worldwide?
Tequila has a long and storied history, dating back to the ancient Mesoamerican cultures in Mexico. Derived from the fermented sap of the blue agave plant, tequila was first distilled by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century. Fast forward to today, and tequila has taken the world by storm.
The Birth of Tequila Shots
As with many popular drinks, how and why tequila shots became a global phenomenon has its own unique tale. The practice of taking a shot of tequila likely originated in the early 1900s in Mexico, where tequila was consumed in the form of a shot, typically served with a hit of salt and slice of lime on the side. This ritual is said to have begun with Mexican cowboys (charros) who would enjoy a short break to sip tequila in the middle of a long, hard day's work.
Tequila started gaining popularity outside Mexico after the Prohibition era in the United States (1920-1933). American tourists would travel south of the border to indulge in the forbidden pleasures of alcohol. This influx of visitors led to rapid growth in the tequila industry and international demand for the flavorful spirit. Soon enough, the now-iconic tequila shot ritual spread worldwide.
Importing Culture: Hollywood, Celebrities, and Tequila Shots
In the mid-to-late 20th century, tequila shots became synonymous with party culture. Hollywood movies, celebrities, and musicians began celebrating tequila, further catapulting its popularity. Countless hit songs mention or glorify tequila shots, such as the Champs' 1958 instrumental hit "Tequila" and Pee Wee Herman's memorable dance routine to the song in the film "Pee Wee's Big Adventure".
Becoming a Staple in Global Nightlife
Today, tequila shots are a staple in bars, clubs, and parties worldwide. The excitement and fun associated with taking a shot with friends, combined with unique flavors and the rich cultural history behind tequila, make it the perfect drink to enjoy on a night out. Additionally, the versatility of tequila has led to a wide range of tequila-based cocktails that have further contributed to its global appeal.
How to Properly Enjoy a Tequila Shot?
When it comes to savoring a tequila shot, there are a few methods to get the most out of the experience.
Traditional Method: Salt, Lime, and Sip
This is the well-known method most people are familiar with. By following these steps, you'll enjoy a smooth and balanced shot.
- Lick a small section of the skin between your thumb and index finger.
- Apply a pinch of salt to the same area.
- Hold a wedge of lime in the hand not holding the shot glass.
- Lick the salt, then immediately take the shot and sip it quickly but smoothly.
- Bite the lime wedge to cleanse your palate.
Alternative Ways to Savor a Tequila Shot
There are many variations in enjoying tequila shots, and these alternative methods can create a unique experience.
- Sangrita: This is a traditional Mexican drink often served alongside tequila. Alternating sips between the tequila and the Sangrita enhances the flavors of both.
- Taste and Savor: Appreciate the tequila's flavors by taking small sips, swishing it around in your mouth, and letting it linger before swallowing.
- Chasing with Beer: This popular method is called "The Bandera" in Mexico. Take a sip of tequila, followed by a sip of beer, to create a lovely mix of flavors.
Delving Into the World of Tequila: Different Types and How They Influence Shot Flavor?
Tequila's diverse range of flavors comes from various factors, such as aging, distillation process, and type. Let's delve deeper into the different types of tequila and how they influence the overall taste experience.
Blanco (Silver or Plata) Tequila
This type of tequila is typically unaged or aged for a very short period of time (less than two months). Blanco tequila's flavors are bold, with a strong presence of agave. The taste is often described as fresh, crisp, and slightly peppery, making it perfect for shots and cocktails.
Reposado (Rested) Tequila
Reposado tequila is aged between two months and one year, typically in oak barrels. The aging process mellows the tequila, adding more depth, complexity, and richer flavors. When taking a shot of reposado tequila, you may notice notes of vanilla, caramel, or honey, which contribute to a smoother shot experience.
Añejo (Aged) Tequila
Añejo tequila is aged for at least one year, resulting in a dark amber color and complex flavors. The long aging period brings out rich, smooth, and woody flavors, which might remind you of whiskey or cognac. This type of tequila is considered "sipping tequila," and it's less common to take it as a shot.
Each type of tequila offers a unique flavor profile, which influences the overall shot experience. Trying different tequilas and experimenting with different flavors is the key to finding the perfect tequila shot for your taste preferences.
Also Read: Best Tequilas To Drink On The Rocks
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the ideal way to drink a tequila shot?
The traditional way to enjoy a tequila shot is with a lick of salt on your hand followed by the shot and a bite of a lime wedge. However, many people also enjoy sipping tequila shots without salt and lime.
What is the difference between Blanco, Reposado, and Añejo tequilas?
Blanco tequilas are unaged or aged for less than two months, Reposado tequilas are aged between two months and one year, and Añejo tequilas are aged for one to three years.
Does the price of tequila affect the taste?
Yes, generally, higher-priced tequilas are made with better quality ingredients and often have a smoother and more complex taste. However, some affordable tequilas can still provide a great taste experience.
How do I know if tequila is suitable for shots or sipping?
Typically, younger tequilas like Blanco are best for shots, while aged tequilas like Reposado or Añejo are better for sipping. However, some Blanco tequilas can still be enjoyed neat or on the rocks.
What are some popular tequila cocktails?
Some popular tequila cocktails include the Margarita, Paloma, Tequila Sunrise, and El Diablo.
Are flavored tequilas good for shots?
Flavored tequilas can be enjoyable for shots, especially for those who prefer a sweeter and less intense experience. The addition of natural fruit flavors can balance the taste, making it more appealing.
Can I use premium tequila for shots?
While you can use premium tequila for shots, many people prefer to sip and savor aged, high-quality tequilas to fully appreciate their complex flavors and aroma.
How should I store my tequila after opening the bottle?
The store opened tequila bottles in a cool, dark place, like a cabinet or liquor shelf, and keep them away from direct sunlight. Also, make sure to tightly seal the bottle to prevent oxidation.
Can you drink tequila straight from the freezer?
Yes, you can enjoy tequila straight from the freezer, although very cold tequila can have slightly muted flavors. Chilled tequila may be smoother and more refreshing for shots.
What are some eco-friendly tequila brands to consider?
Some eco-friendly tequila brands include Tequila Alquimia, Tequila Ocho, and 123 Organic Tequila. These companies focus on sustainable and environmentally responsible production methods.
The world of tequila shots is rich, diverse, and exciting. There's a perfect tequila shot experience for everyone, whether you're a seasoned connoisseur or new to this classic spirit. The key is to dive in, explore different flavors and brands, and enjoy the journey of discovering the ideal tequila that best suits your taste buds.
Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, experiment with pairings, and share your newfound knowledge with others. Ultimately, the best tequila for shots is the one that brings the most joy, memories, and satisfaction to you and your loved ones. Cheers to finding your tequila shot soulmate!