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Blanco: Blanco tequila is aged in oak barrels for less than 30 days. It offers pure distilled agave flavor, earthy and sweet. Cuervo’s Platino ($60) or Sauza’s Hornitos Plata ($30) works in any tequila cocktail, or just put ’em over rocks with lime.

Reposado: A reposado (literally “rested”) is aged two to 12 months in charred oak barrels and is mellower than a blanco. No need for a mixer. We like Patrón Reposado ($50) on ice or with a sangrita chaser (see recipe opposite page).

Añejo: Aged for at least 12 months, an añejo (“aged”) is the richest and darkest of tequilas, built for sipping like cognac. Flavors and prices vary like single-malt scotches’. We’ll take a bottle of Partida Elegante Extra Añejo ($350).

Mescal Versus Tequila: Mescal is made from roasted agave hearts; tequila is from steamed agave. Mescal is distilled once, tequila twice. Though it has a sketchy reputation, mescal can be great. We like anything from Del Maguey.


The Worm Debunked

You’ll never find a worm in a bottle of tequila, but you may find one in a bottle of mescal. The “worm” is usually the larva of the moth Hypopta agavis, found around the root of the agave plant. Some say it wards off evil spirits. Truth is, it’s a marketing gimmick aimed at people foolish enough to eat moth larvae.