Tequila shots are great fun for parties. While Jose Cuervo Gold has been the most popular tequila for straight shots in the past, there are other excellent tequilas
and mezcals that taste far better and offer a variety of flavor and heat.
When choosing a bottle for shooting, stick with blanco or gold tequilas or mezcal. It's a waste of money to down a shot of añejo or reposado tequilas without fully enjoying it - leave those for sipping or mixing your favorite tequila cocktails. That said, being very cheap when it comes to a shooting tequila is not a good experience either and this has often been the problem people have with tequila, especially when it comes to hangovers. The best advice is to choose a smooth, moderately priced tequila such as those below. Of course, no matter the quality of the tequila, one should avoid too many tequila shots in a night and never drive after drinking.
The "correct" order for the classic tequila shot is salt, tequila, lemon (or lime); or Lick, Sip, Suck.
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1. Herencia de Plata Tequila BlancoA bottle of Herencia de Plata Tequila Blanco sells for around $35 and is a great blanco tequila for shots. The distinguished flavors of this tequila are highlighted with a smoky, herbal note. A shot of this 100% agave tequila will leave your mouth with a hot, fruity, pepper snap.
2. Don Eduardo Silver Tequila Don Eduardo Silver Tequila does not have the harshness of many other tequilas and is worth spending $40 a bottle. The mix of pepper and fruit flavors produce a smooth, silky 100% agave tequila that will not ruin your night when you shoot it and follow up with a lime.
3. Lapis Platinum TequilaYou will not find much of a burn from a shot of this 100% agave blanco tequila that has a slight hint of honey and sweet agave flavors. Lapis Platinum Tequila sells for around $30 and has a smooth pepper finish instead of the bite.
4. Sauza Gold TequilaIf you are going to go with Cuervo Gold (below) for a tequila shot, allow me to suggest an equally budget-friendly alternative. My personal taste is for Sauza over Jose Cuervo because it is slightly less harsh and has a slightly richer taste. Yet another upgrade from this one that costs around the same $20 would be Sauza Blanco - highly recommended as it is not a mixto.
5. Olmeca Tequila Blanco For those on a budget a bottle of Olmeca Tequila Blanco (around $18) is a great choice for a blanco tequila. This light, dry tequila is balanced with layers of pepper, fruit and spice that finishes with a snap of sweet agave, salt and pepper.
6. Don Diego Gold TequilaYou will find a variety of flavors in a bottle of Don Diego Gold Tequila. This pale gold tequila has a mild pineapple and passionfruit taste highlighted with cinnamon and pepper. A kick in the end of hot peppers will snap you to attention making this a fun tequila to shoot that is less than $15 a bottle.
7. Real de Magueyes Silver Mezcal This is a very drinkable Mezcal that is smooth and fruity. For around $20 a bottle it is a good choice for shots if you like a peppery bite with a smoky, roasted touch at the end.
8. El Tesoro de Don Felipe Platinum Tequila This is a clear, spicy 100% agave tequila with a peppery bite. The flavors of agave are wonderfully pure and distinct, making this shot an intense eye opener that is sure to be enjoyed by many. A bottle of El Tesoro de Don Felipe Platinum Tequila goes for around $35 and is worth every penny.
9. Jose Cuervo Gold TequilaArguably the world's most popular tequila and the most often used for shots, Cuervo Gold is not one of my personal favorites (in fact I avoid it) but it's here because it is popular. For around $20 a bottle it's a good deal, but many of the stories I hear of people shooting it (or too much) has ruined many tequila experiences for a lifetime. That is a shame.
10. Monte Alban MezcalIf you're looking for the worm, a bottle of Monte Alban Mezcal is gauranteed to have it. This Mezcal is well-rounded with an earthy array of flavors, a peppery finish and very little burn. You can pick up a bottle for around $40.