Tequila is one of the most widely consumed liquors in the world, and even the 10 best cheap tequilas for margaritas under $50 get attention due to the sheer demand for the drink. Perhaps Mexico’s biggest beverage export (and a billion-dollar business), tequila is only legally made in certain parts of Mexico such as the states of Jalisco, Michoacán, Nayarit, Guanajuato, and Tamaupilas. Around 70% of all tequila produced in Mexico is exported, with the vast majority of that amount going to the country’s northern neighbor, the U.S.
Tequila is a distilled liquor made from the blue agave plant. The versions of the drink sold in the U.S are roughly between 40-55% alcohol volume. Due to its particular taste, tequila is widely consumed in college frat houses and at bars. Due to its rather high alcohol concentration, it isn’t hard to reach one’s limit within just a few shots. In fact, a Dominican man recently died due to reportedly chugging an entire bottle of tequila in one sitting, all for a bet.
For the purposes of this ranking of the 10 best cheap tequilas for margaritas under $50, the criteria is based on the two main phrases of the title. We need to find the most satisfying cheap tequila, which should cost low enough so that the resulting margarita mix that the tequila bottle yields would cost under $50.
What is the right margarita mix, you ask? Well, while every drinker has his or her preferred mixes, the professionals at the International Bartenders Association, which counts margarita as one of its official cocktail drinks, designated a specific formula for the strong beverage. According to the IBA, a regulation margarita (yes, regulation, as this mix is the stipulated recipe for bartender competitions worldwide) is 7 parts tequila, 4 parts triple sec (an orange-flavored liqueur), and 3 parts lime juice. Hence, if you want a below-$50 margarita, your tequila should cost about half of that amount; ergo: we’ll select the best cheap tequilas that sell for $25 and below. The remaining $25 should be more than enough for the triple sec and lime juice.
About 7 million web search results emerge for inquiries about good, affordable tequila, and a lot of food- and lifestyle-centric websites have their own lists of value-for-money tequila. For this ranking, we combed through the lists of the top six websites that appeared when searching for “best tequila under $25.” We then combined the rankings from men’s lifestyle magazine GQ, its digital cousin Thrillist, food website Serious Eats, food and travel upstart Vivieur, financial advisory website Go Banking Rates, and Alcohol Finder app developer Graphiq (which published a slideshow of cheap tequila rankings on the websites of many local newspapers). As the number of tequilas ranked by these websites differ, we’re assessing which tequila brand gets the most mentions from these lists. Tie breakers in the rankings are decided by price; the cheaper the tequila, the higher its ranking. For fairness purposes, because each list may display different prices for the same tequila brand, we’re taking the highest estimated price from all of them.
There are certain Spanish names you may encounter repeatedly in this list. Just know that “blanco” means white or silver tequila that did not go through much aging, while “reposado” means brown tequila that has gone through aging in wooden containers, hence absorbing some of the wood’s color.
As for the 10 best cheap tequilas for margaritas under $50, we’ll see where they rank based on the collective opinion of multiple reputable online sources, beginning on the next page.