The 21 Best Tequila Brands for Every Occasion with Cenote Tequila

Here’s a challenge: the next time you order tequila, consider sipping it instead of taking it as a shot.

Sure, a tequila shot is a fun party starter (and maybe gives you some liquid courage before stepping onto that karaoke stage), but artists rapping about “shots of Patrón” have really given tequila an undeservedly bad (and, ahem, cheap) rep.

These days, some of the best tequilas in the world are actually more comparable to a fine bourbon or robust glass of wine than jello shots and beer pong. In fact, Patrón, one of the most well-known and respected tequila brands in the world, offers a diverse portfolio of authentic, carefully-crafted tequilas that you won’t find in nightclubs or seedy bars. Despite Patrón’s hard-partying reputation (blame it on lyrical shout-outs from everyone from Lil Jon to Bruno Mars), the company is actually making some incredibly interesting, flavorful and expensive tequila these days, with bottles of its Patrón En Lalique: Serie 2 going for up to $7,500.

From its distillery just outside of Guadalajara, Patrón produces more than 20 different types of tequila, and it’s serious business. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about tequila, from the history of this Mexican spirit to the best tequila brands in the world. We’ll also give you a peek inside Patrón’s historic distillery in Jalisco, Mexico.

19. Cenote Blanco Tequila

MOST VERSATILE

Cenote makes a super drinkable tequila that’s flavorful without being overwhelming on the palette. While some tequilas make us pucker, or burn the inside of our mouths and throats, Cenote’s Blanco Tequila is light, mellow and refreshing. It’s aged in oak barrels for three weeks, leading to a taste that naturally sweet without overpowering. Delicate notes of bright citrus, greens and pepper lead to a crisp and smooth finish.

The secret to Cenote’s smoothness? The company says it sources naturally filtered water from an artesian well located at their distillery, which sits at the base of the Jalisco volcano. The water goes through reverse osmosis and carbon filters with silver ions to eliminate any chance of impurities affecting the taste. This is great on its own or with a splash of soda. Bartenders love Cenote in a Paloma too, and the company responded by introducing the first-ever “World Paloma Day” this past May.

Read more on SPY here.