The 3 Tequilas: Blanco is aged less than two months, and some say the vibrant "green" flavors of agave come through best. Reposado is aged in wood up to a year—and it's a bit sweeter and rounder. Añejo is aged one year to three and can have sweet brandy flavors.
BEST AÑEJO: WINNER: Tequila Siete Leguas, $50 for 750ml
A sweet caramel nose in this straw-colored spirit makes way for creamy, velvety butter-scotch notes with just a hint of agave and pepper. This is a sipping tequila for folks who like a smooth brandy.
BEST REPOSADO: WINNER: Pueblo Viejo, $25 for 750ml
A delicious bargain for a reposado. Zingy citrus and pine give way to salty-sweet agave flavor. But not all the feisty edges have been worked off: It's a lively drink.
BEST BLANCO: WINNER: Tequila Siete Leguas, $40 for 750ml
If you want to know what the agave plant brings to tequila, try this and imagine a vodka beside it: pure agave joy, with classic grassy flavors and a smooth, peppery finish.
HOW WE TESTED: A panel of Cooking Light staff sampled 18 nationally available tequilas, selected with help from mixologist Philip Ward, of Mayhuel bar and restaurant in New York City, in three blind tastings. Tequilas were tasted alone and in a margarita mix.