Tequila — long associated with hangovers and bad decisions — is having its moment in the sun. Producers are crafting luxury, super-premium tequilas that are meant to be sipped and savored. Even Miami’s top bartenders are giving the Mexican spirit its deserved place on the top shelf. What are you waiting for? It’s time to get academic about agave.
Where to Drink (Great) Tequila in Miami
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Forget the dizzying selection of blanco, reposado, anejo and super anejo tequilas — more than 100 of them — at this South Miami taqueria. Even more impressive? The housemade tequila infusions like pineapple and jalapeño reposado. tacocraft.com.
Find nearly 50 tequilas and mezcals at Rácket’s tiki-themed Atrium bar, plus cocktails that show them off. We like the Endless Summer, presenting Cazadores Blanco Tequila with grapefruit, agave, lime, vanilla soda and Campari. racketwynwood.com.
Jezebel Kitchen & Bar
The Miami Beach speakeasy favors tequila for several of its best cocktails. Try the El Chapo, which pairs Don Julio Reposado with pineapple juice, chili pepper, lime and an Ilegal Mezcal float. jezebelmiami.com.
Beaker & Gray
Creative ingredients from chayote to Thai chili factor into the tequila drinks here. Go with co-owner Ben Potts’ pick: The Lavagave, a mix of Don Julio Blanco with Gracias a Dios Mezcal, lavender, egg glair, grapefruit and vanilla bitters. beakerandgray.com.
Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Co.
Owner John Lermayer offers 73 different tequilas at his bar, from big players like Patrón to small-batch names like Arette. Tommy’s Margarita is classically perfect — made with Olmeca Altos Tequila, fresh lime and organic agave nectar. mysweetliberty.com.
Worth the Splurge: 4 Bottles of Premium Tequila
1. Roca Patrón Reposado: Delicate vanilla and butter grounded by American oak and ginger. $80.
2. Milagro Tequila Select Barrel Reserve Añejo: Vanilla and caramel notes. Enjoy it neat or on the rocks, but definitely try it paired with dark chocolate. $90.
3. El Tesoro 80th Anniversary Extra Añejo: Aromas of green olive, wood and smoke with floral hints balanced by oak and caramel. $200.
4. Avión Faena Barrel Select Reposado: A collaboration between hotelier Alan Faena and Tequila Avión’s Ken Austin, this exclusive blend is not for shots. $400.
A limited-edition bottle of Pasión Azteca Tequila sold for $225,000 in 2006 — a Guinness World Record.
Margarita Recipe to Make at Home
1/4 ounce honey syrup
1 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce Mandarine Napoleon liqueur
1 1/2 ounces Volcán De Mi Tierra Blanco Tequila
Add all of the ingredients to a shaker. Fill with ice and shake. Pour the mixture into a rocks glass. Add ice and garnish with spiced salt and a lime wheel.
Recipe by Jorge Islas, bar manager at Byblos in Miami Beach.