Reposado tequila often “gets lost as the middle child between a mature añejo and a younger, more rambunctious blanco,” says Jeff Savage, head bartender at Botanist in Vancouver. But when you rope in reposados to mixology, the tequila’s hidden notes make for exciting cocktails.
“What I find most prevalent in a reposado are the earthy, savory notes its siblings can’t match,” says Savage. “I cherish blanco for its bright, fresh, saline accentuated notes, while añejo offers round notes of oaky vanilla and caramel.”
Always a diplomat, reposado possesses tequila’s other elements in balance—allowing an earthy, almost umami characteristic to develop.
Gabe Sanchez—cocktail expert and general manager at Dallas’ Midnight Rambler, a subterranean bar in The Joule—leans on reposado when he wants to add depth to a cocktail or reinvent a stirred whiskey drink that has the familiarity of an American whiskey, but is amped up by agave.
“Reposado adds the lower bass notes of oak and vanilla,” Sanchez says. “It’s the sweet spot between bright blanco and the heavier notes of añejo tequila.
While blanco is most often the base spirit in tequila’s most popular drinks, reposado can make for a more sophisticated cocktail and smoothly transition those crushable summer sips (margaritas, palomas …) into fall. The following inspired tequila cocktails from top bartenders are just better with reposado.
1. True Romance
Made for centuries by French monks, Yellow Chartreuse is a spicy spirit concocted from 130 plants, flowers, bark, roots, and spices. It joins reposado and an easy-to-make honey syrup in this nightcap cocktail created by Midnight Rambler.