Today is National Tequila Day, and you should plan accordingly. In case your bar is devoid of a good bottle of tequila (we're so sorry), we asked Monica Richards, beverage director of Arnaldo Richards' Picos, and noted tequila expert, which three tequilas you should have in your home right now. Take notes, y'all.
"I love this tequila," says Richards about this old-world-made spirit, meaning the agave—sourced from Tequila Valley, Mexico—is 100 percent crushed with a tahona, or a stone wheel. Plus, every bottle is hand-blown. Richards says Fortaleza is easy for beginners to enjoy, but it's so well done that experienced tequila drinkers still appreciate it.
Pricier and aged for longer than a reposado, this añejo is meant to be sipped. "It's a really, really great gift but also a great back-bar piece," says Richards. When tasting, look for the cinnamon notes, a sign of a well-aged tequila. Casa San Matías, which produces Orgullo Pueblo Viejo spirits, is owned by Carmen Villareal, the first woman to run a tequila distillery. "In Mexico, it's pretty rare for a tequila company to be owned by a woman, but things are changing," says Richards.
Also made in the old-world method of stone-crushing its agave, Siete Leguas' standard expression of tequila can be enjoyed straight up, over ice, or in a cocktail. The spirit takes the name of Pancho Villa's celebrated horse, who accompanied the revolutionary general on conquests. Richards says trying the silver/blanco is the best first step to going deeper into a brand you'll want to stick with. "You can always tell if a reposado or an añejo is good if the silver is good first," she says.