Ranging from clean blanco to smoky mezcal, Mexico’s agave-based spirits perfectly bridge summer and fall. Here is your required drinking list for Tequila 101.

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1. El Jimador Tequila Blanco, from $30.95
The workhorse of cocktail bars, blanco (aka, silver) tequila is usually bottled immediately after distillation. This uncommonly affordable version has a subtle grassy aroma, citrusy flavours and a gently peppery finish. Use it in classic drinks like the Margarita or Paloma, or shoot it, if you must, but skip the salt.

2. Espolòn Tequila Reposado, from $44.95
Reposado means “rested,” and this tequila took a snooze for six months in American oak barrels. Light gold in colour, it’s slightly sweet with notes of brown sugar, orange peel and spice. It’s remarkably good in a highball with tonic, or in the beloved Tequila Sunrise.

3. Cazadores Añejo Tequila, from $42.95
The difference between añejo and reposado is that the former is aged longer in smaller casks, which imparts more flavour and colour. This one is a terrific value with layers of dried fruit, caramel, spice and earth. Savour straight, or use it to great effect in a Tequila Old Fashioned.

4. Leyenda Tlacuache Organic Mezcal, from $71.95
While good tequila is made from blue agave, mezcal—the boldest white spirit on the planet—uses mostly espadin agave, which is first roasted in open pits. This hombre from Oaxaca is briny, vegetal and unctuous with a long, smoky finish. If you like peaty

TOMMY’S MARGARITA
Arguably the best cocktail to come out of the ’80s, this salt- and Cointreau-free margarita variation was invented by Julio Bermejo at his family’s restaurant in San Francisco.

Ingredients:
2 oz (60 ml) 100% Agave blanco Tequila
1 oz (30 ml) strained fresh lime juice
½ oz (15 ml) blue agave syrup

Directions:
1. Chill a rocks (lowball) glass in the freezer for at least 5 minutes.
2. Place tequila, lime juice and agave in a cocktail shaker. Fill ¾ full with ice; shake vigorously until ice cold, 10 seconds. Strain into chilled rocks glass filled with ice. Serve

Writen by Eric Vellend