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Blame it on Jimmy Buffett. Thanks to his immortalizing margaritas in song, tequila has, perhaps unfairly, earned a reputation as the beverage that spawned a million hangover legends. But the spirit made from the juice of the blue agave plant, a succulent that grows primarily in the Mexican state of Jalisco, has a refined side, too. Carlos Ulloa, co-owner of Azul Mexican Food & Tequila Bar in midtown, says tequila—especially the añejo (aged) and extra añejo (extra aged) varieties—is perfect for sipping and savoring slowly. Añejo tequila has a darker appearance and richer, smoother taste (think tones of wood, citrus, caramel and vanilla) than the younger blanco tequilas, which present more agave flavor and burn. Carlos Ulloa’s top tequilas:
7 Leguas Blanco Tequila ($40)—Named for Pancho Villa’s horse, this tequila is smooth enough for sipping, says Ulloa.
Don Julio 1942 ($100)—Ulloa’s favorite añejo, the 1942 is aged in oak barrels, resulting in a light honey flavor and a smooth, no-burn finish.
Casa Noble Single Barrel Añejo ($100 and up)—This one is almost like a cognac, it’s so rich in flavor, says Ulloa. Expect tones of vanilla and chocolate.