The Best Tequilas to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Photo: Steve Cukrov/EyeEm, Getty Images.

Few people without Mexican heritage know the true reason Cinco de Mayo is celebrated. No, it’s not Mexico’s Independence Day (although that’s a good guess). It’s actually the date of the Battle of Puebla. The battle took place on May 5, 1862, close to the city of Puebla. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated because, although the Mexicans lost many other battles to the French during the French and Mexican war, the overmatched Mexican military actually defeated the French in this particular battle.

The victory is celebrated every year on May 5 in the state of Puebla. It’s not a national holiday in Mexico, but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming a revered and beloved day in the United States. Many people treat it like the Mexican version of St. Patrick’s Day. But instead of corned beef, cabbage, Irish whiskey, and Guinness, people enjoy tacos, burritos, tequila, and Mexican beer.

If you’re celebrating Cinco de Mayo this year, these are the best tequilas you should toast with.

Espolon Blanco

Made from 100% blue agave, Espolon Blanco is one of the best gateway tequilas on the market. The winner of a Double Gold Medal at the 2011 San Francisco Spirits Competition, this beloved blanco tequila is made in small batches in the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. Prior to bottling, the tequila is rested and filtered to create an extremely smooth flavor perfect for cocktails or slow sipping.

Olmeca Altos Plato

Great tequila doesn’t have to cost you a small fortune. Olmeca Altos Plato sells for under $30. It comes from the tequila hotbed of Jalisco and is made from partly crushed blue agave, the oldest, purist way of crafted tequila. Somehow, even though it takes longer to make this tequila than most, they still don’t charge a crazy amount for it. It was created by bartenders for bartenders. It’s delicious on its own, but was designed to be used in cocktails.

Also: 10 Delicious Cinco de Mayo Cocktails

Casa Noble Single Barrel Extra Añejo Tequila

Casa Noble is definitely not a tequila for novices. If you can get your hands on it, you’ve probably just spent around $50 for a well-aged, complex tequila that seems more like a whiskey or a rum than a tequila. You’re not going to want to mix this tequila into a cocktail. It’s so full of flavor, it demands to be sipped slowly while you smoke a fine cigar. If you were to use this as a base for a cocktail, it would make for an amazing Mexican Manhattan.

Avion Silver

If you were a fan of Entourage, you probably spotted Avion tequila (likely before it was even available for purchase). It was all over the series and the movie because of the friendship between the tequila maker and the show’s creator. If you are looking for an unaged tequila to get the Cinco de Mayo party started, you can’t get much better than Avion. It’s not just a gimmicky TV product either; it’s crisp, floral, vegetal, and smooth. It was voted the “World’s Best Tasting Tequila” and “Best Unaged White Spirit” at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. This means that not only is it the best tasting tequila, but it’s better than every vodka, gin, and white rum as well.

Casamigos Blanco

You might know Casamigos because George Clooney is one of its founders. But it’s so much more than just a “Hollywood” tequila brand. The company makes great tequila and one of the best is its blanco. Even though they don’t have to, Casamigos still ages its blanco for the maximum of two months to give it a heightened smooth, oaky, and vanilla flavor not usually associated with unaged tequila. Because of the limited aging, it’s delicious on its own, but it’s also a great mixing tequila for margaritas, palomas, and vodka tonics.