The Best Tequila Under $30

Cheap Tequila That Doesn't Taste Cheap

  • 11 Drink
  • Updated: Mar 23, 2016

The Best Tequila for the Drinker on a Budget

Everyone has a story about tequila, and most of them involve some degree of regret. Spring break in college, Cinco de Mayo parties, that Tuesday you weren't planning on drinking that turned into an all-nighter... no matter why you were knocking back shots of the cheap stuff, chances are you ended up with a hangover and some fun anecdotes you really hope nobody brings up at your wedding.

But drinking inexpensive tequila doesn't have to mean Jose Cuervo and Sauza—in fact, it's a category that has some really excellent offerings for the budget drinker if you know what to look for. From Espolòn to Cazadores, there are lots of (sort of) hidden gems that come in under $30—many are even excellent for sipping, not just mixing in a Margarita.

While we don't begrudge the mixto tequilas—they have their time and place—this list contains only 100% agave tequilas. They tend to be higher quality, more consistent, and you have a better sense of what actually goes into the bottle since the production standards are somewhat stricter. Plus, we think you'll be pleasantly surprised how many of them exist on the lower end of the price spectrum—it's always fun to show off a fancy bottle when you didn't actually pay that much for it.

  • Blanco Tequila
    Olmeca Altos Plata tequila is an excellent, affordable blanco tequila made in the Mexican highlands. It was reportedly created expressly for the purpose of making great tequila cocktails, but it ended up being just as delicious when sipped straight. Olmeca Altos is widely regarded as one of the best affordable tequilas out there, and we're inclined to agree.
  • Reposado Tequila
    Olmeca Altos Reposado tequila is the aged expression from Olmeca Altos, a brand born of a partnership between Olmeca and a group of British bartenders who wanted to make the perfect mixing tequila. Luckily for us, the finished product is also great for sipping, and it's almost shockingly affordable at $25 a bottle.
  • Blanco Tequila
    Cazadores Blanco tequila is a smooth, clean-tasting tequila that works great in any cocktail recipe. And at just 25 bucks (get it?), you could do a hell of a lot worse for the money. It's not quite as impressive as the aged offerings from Cazadores, but it holds its own and makes a great Margarita. The name means "hunter" in Spanish, hence the stag on the re…
  • Blanco Tequila
    Milagro Blanco tequila is is great, affordable 100% agave tequila that does well both in tequila cocktails and on the rocks. It's certainly complex for an un-aged spirit, with grassy, herbal notes and a smooth, clean finish. At just ~$27 a bottle, it punches above its weight and can stand alongside much more expensive products—as with so many things, price i…
  • Blanco Tequila
    Floral, fruity, and slightly spicy, Espolòn Blanco is a great blanco tequila for sipping on the rocks or mixing in a cocktail. First introduced in 1998, it's surprisingly complex for an unaged spirit, and it makes excellent Margaritas. It's been pretty highly praised by critics as well, garnering an impressive Double Gold Medal at the 2011 San Francisco Worl…
  • Reposado Tequila
    Espolòn Reposado is the brand's award-winning flagship product, garnering huge praise from reviewers despite its low price point. For $22, usually you're looking at the bottom of the 100% agave tier, but this stuff holds its own and is as good for sipping as it is for mixing. It works great in Margaritas and Palomas, but we definitely recommend trying it on …
  • Añejo Tequila
    Espolòn Añejo tequila is an excellent aged tequila, and competes with (or blows out of the water) bottles that go for more than twice the price. It's a relatively new entry to the market, and people seem to like what they've tasted—it won a gold medal at the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and garnered an impressive 97 from the Beverage Testing…
  • Blanco Tequila
    Gran Centenario Plata tequila is the lightly-aged expression from Gran Centenario, a brand produced by none other than Casa Cuervo (of Jose Cuervo fame). It's not quite as sippable as their reposado, but that's to be expected—the plata works great in Margaritas and other tequila cocktails, and it's really not bad on the rocks in a pinch.
  • Reposado Tequila
    Gran Centenario Reposado Tequila is a great sipping or mixing tequila, that's actually made by Casa Cuervo, the folks behind the Jose Cuervo line. Worry not, though—this is a 100% agave beauty, as much in terms of the bottle itself as what's inside it. It's squarely in the mid-range of price, but it punches above its weight and can hold its own against some …
  • Blanco Tequila
    It's nothing fancy, but El Jimador Blanco is an inexpensive, 100% agave tequila that certainly outshines any of its mixto competitors at the same price point. This is a good go-to house bottle for mixing that doesn't require you to settle for something mediocre. It's smooth, straightforward, and at $20 a bottle you're not going to feel bad about putting it i…
  • Reposado Tequila
    El Jimador Reposado is a solid rested tequila for a very reasonable price. At the $20 level, most of the competitors are frankly pretty disappointing, but this one holds up and punches above its weight. Probably not your first choice for a sipping tequila, but nice in cocktails and you don't need to bury it under other ingredients unless you really want to.

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