Holiday Gift Guide 2011: Tequila

Just like vodka, gin and whiskey, tequila—no matter whether it’s sipped neat or mixed in a Margarita—has become a year-round favorite. A bottle of it is also a thoughtful holiday present. To help you out, we asked expert Julio Bermejo, owner of San Francisco institution Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant, for his spirited gift suggestions.

Blanco:

When it comes to blanco, Bermejo likes 7 Leguas ($40), which is family-owned and crafted in the highlands of Jalisco using both traditional and modern techniques. The lowland Fortaleza Blanco ($48) is another excellent choice. “It’s the last tequila made by hand in the valley,” he says.

Reposado:

Bermejo calls the highland Espolón Reposado ($25) “a tremendous value for the money.” It’s aged for approximately six months in American-oak barrels. If you can find it, Chinaco Reposado ($53) is also a lovely gift. It’s produced by the only tequila distillery in the state of Tamaulipas.

Añejo:

The highland El Tesoro Añejo ($60) is a perfect present. It’s made with the most old-school of methods and is aged for two to three years in former bourbon casks. El Jimador Añejo ($30), from the lowlands, is a good alternative. It’s “very wood-driven and a great value,” Bermejo says.

Extra Añejo:

The oldest tequilas are awarded this prized distinction. If you’re looking for something special, give the highland Don Julio Real ($350), which is matured as long as five years, or the lowlands’ “spicy and bold” Partida Elegante ($350), which, according to Bermejo, lives up to its name.

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