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.
- 1.5 oz reposado tequila
- 0.75 oz Yellow Chartreuse
- 0.5 oz Averna Amaro
- 0.25 oz honey syrup*
*Honey Syrup instructions
- Add equal parts honey and filtered water to a sauce pan.
- Slowly increase temperature until boiling, continually stirring.
- Once it reaches a rolling boil and is fully incorporated, remove from heat and place into an ice bath until chilled.
- Pour into a glass bottle with a tight lid, label, and refrigerate. It can be stored for up to a week
- Add all ingredients to a mixing glass.
- Stir well to incorporate, chill, and slightly dilute.
- Strain over a big rock in a double old-fashioned glass.
- Garnish with lime peel.
2. Mount Fuji
“Reposado’s flavors, like vanilla and cinnamon, that come from sitting in a wooden barrel are well-suited for an autumn apple cocktail,” says Christopher Reyes, partner and beverage director of Aldama in Brooklyn.
- 1.5 oz reposado tequila (Reyes recommends Cazadores)
- 0.5 oz pear liqueur
- 0.5 oz lemon juice
- 3 oz Fuji apple juice
- 1 tsp cane syrup
- Thin apple slices
- Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice, shake, and strain into a Collins glass over ice.
- Garnish with apple slices.
Reposado makes for a rich (but still bright) paloma. This classic cocktail recipe is courtesy of the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Arizona. Pro tip: A pinch of salt can tame bitterness in cocktails.
- 1.5 oz reposado tequila
- 0.5 oz Giffard Pamplemousse
- 0.5 oz Aperol
- 0.5 oz lime juice
- Pinch of salt
- Jarritos grapefruit soda
- Grapefruit wedge garnish
- Add tequila, Pamplemousse, Aperol, lime Juice, and salt into a shaker with ice and shake.
- Strain into glass over fresh ice.
- Top with grapefruit soda.
4. Juan Daly
“Reposado pulls itself to the front, making it the star of the show while interacting with a subtleness with the secondary ingredients,” says Código 1530 mixologist Collin De Laval. The tequila shines through in this boozy interpretation of an Arnold Palmer.
- 1.5 oz Código 1530 Reposado Tequila
- 2 oz Fresh Lemonade
- 2 oz Iced Tea
- Mint garnish
- Combine all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake.
- Strain over a glass with fresh ice.
- Garnish with a mint bouquet.
Consider this cocktail recipe a twist on a twist. It’s a variation of the Oaxacan old fashioned, which is an agave-forward riff on one of the most classic whiskey cocktails. “The barrel aging process adds sweeter notes like vanilla, baking spices, and toffee—so reposado can do a lot in cocktails where these flavors play harmoniously,” says Joey Smith, bar director at Zou Zou’s and Chez Zou, both located on Manhattan’s West Side.
- 1 dash Bittermens Mole bitters
- 3 Dashes Angostura Orange Bitters
- 0.25 oz Myris Nutmeg Liqueur
- 0.25 oz Grand Marnier
- 0.5 oz Crème de Cacao
- 0.5 oz Ilegal Mezcal Reposado
- 1.5 oz Don Fulano Tequila Reposado
- 1 oz chilled coconut water (make sure it’s cold!)
- Orange peel garnish
- Build in a chilled glass with a large ice cube.
- Use a bar spoon to give it 4-5 turns to mix.
- Garnish with an orange peel.
6. Carrot King
Teremana Reposado is the perfect spirit for this vegetable cocktail, “as the oak notes work well with the earthiness of the carrot and the bright spice from the ginger,” says Resa Mueller, bartender at R&D in Philadelphia.
- 1.5 oz Teremana Reposado
- 1 oz fresh carrot juice
- 0.75 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 0.5 oz. ginger syrup
- 2 dashes hot sauce
- Pinch of celery
- Carrot and celery for garnish
- Build ingredients in a Collins glass.
- Add ice, then mix ingredients by “rolling” back and forth between Collins glass and the larger end of a shaker tin.
- Garnish with a carrot and celery.
7. Queen Bee
The oak and vanilla notes that develop from the barrel pair perfectly with the sweet notes of the bee pollen syrup, says Alex Serena, spirits director at Telefèric Barcelona in the Bay Area.
- 1.5 oz reposado
- 0.5 oz Licor 43
- 0.5 oz lime juice
- 0.75 oz bee pollen syrup (or honey)
- 1 egg white
- Optional garnish: bee pollen
- Add ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake.
- Strain into a coupe glass.
- Garnish with bee pollen.
8. Cilantro Paloma
Reposado is a versatile spirit, says Pete Tognetti, head bartender at Tamayo in Denver. “No two reposado tequilas are alike; some tend to come off as sweeter with hints of vanilla, caramel, cooked agave, and notes of oak, while others have a drier profile with hints of black pepper, citrus, and cinnamon,” Tognetti says. The latter will work best in this cilantro-flecked paloma.
- 2 oz reposado
- 1.5 oz grapefruit juice
- 0.75 lime juice
- 0.5 oz agave syrup
- 12-15 cilantro leaves
- Garnishes: cilantro sprig and lime wheel
- Combine all ingredients in a shaker glass with ice.
- Strain into a highball glass over ice with a salted rim over ice.
- Garnish with a lime wheel and cilantro sprig.
9. I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead
“Inspired by a classic margarita, this cocktail has a softer and smokier backbone from the reposado,” says Matty Carroll, beverage director for The Kitchen Restaurant Group. “Reposado adds a touch of richness, smoke, and spice.” Carroll uses a homemade grenadine for the marg served at ND StreetBAR (multiple Colorado locations) but store bought will work, too, as it’s a small dash.
- 2 oz Cazadores Reposado
- 0.75 oz agave syrup
- 0.5 oz fresh lime juice
- 0.25 oz grenadine
- 1 sprig fresh mint
- 1 slice jalapeno
- Garnish: mint sprig and maraschino cherry
- Combine all ingredients in mixing tin with ice.
- Shake until thoroughly chilled.
- Strain into rocks glass with ice.
- Garnish with mint sprig and maraschino cherry.