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You get what you pay for

So I am going to have to disagree with Linda on this one. She states that the liquor being rationed due to shortages is only expensive because men use expensive liquor to impress women. Liquors that cost more aren’t just for impressing women. As a person who is a fan of Tequila, I can tell you that price is usually related to quality. Like most things, the more the quality, the more you pay, even though there are some exceptions.

Most people you meet who tell you that they don’t like Tequila have usually only had Jose Cuervo Gold when they were in college. That swill is only good for college frat boys to get themselves and the cheap tarts they are chasing drunk enough to rub genitals. The lower end Tequilas (like the aforementioned Cuervo Gold at $15 a bottle) are horrible for any purpose. They taste like paint thinner and cause horrible hangovers.

Many “house Margueritas” that get sold by bars and restaurants are made from this junk. If you are going to drink these at a bar, ask what their call brands are, and pick a better one. I always avoid Cuervo.

The middle Tequilas usually cost $30 to $60 a bottle are good for mixing drinks like Margueritas. My go to for this is usually Herradura. I am partial to Reposados, and the Herradura Reposado runs about $45 a bottle. Don Roberto is decent for making drinks and costs about $35 a bottle. Another that I recommend is 1800, which also runs about $35, as well as Casa Noble.

At the low end of the sipping Tequilas, Cincoro runs about $80 to 100 a bottle. This is a good enough Tequila that you don’t want to be covering up the taste with mixers. Do not waste your money getting an expensive Tequila mixed drink. You drink good Tequila straight, like a good sipping whiskey. I use whiskey stones to chill it, because the melting of ice waters down the wonderful, smooth taste of a good Tequila.

One of the Tequilas on the above rationing list is Don Julio 1942. A bottle of that will set you back $150, but it is a great Tequila for sipping. Other Tequilas in this price range that I will tell you are just as good: Clase Azul, and Casamigos.

Remember earlier when I said price usually equals quality? The exception to me is Patron. Everyone gushes about the quality of Patron. I don’t like it. My opinion is that Patron is overpriced and overhyped.

If you are one of those who like good spirits, try one of the high end Tequilas. If you are a fan of Margueritas, try a good mixing Tequila and follow the recipe below, you will be surprised at the difference it makes:

  • 6 ounces of Herradura Reposado Tequila
  • 8 ounces Grand Marnier
  • 8 ounces lime juice
  • 6 ounces simple syrup 

Mix the above in a pitcher, then pour over ice into a glass. I like mine without salt on the rim. My wife chooses to salt the rim of her glass. YMMV.

As usual, I gain no profit, nor do I have any financial interest in the products on this page. I simply am a customer and a fan.

11 replies on “You get what you pay for”

Given the inefficiencies of the PA state system, I suspect that prices went up and they are unwilling or unable for bureaucratic reasons to pay the higher prices.
If other places report shortages of the same products, then I’m wrong.

Most of what you said is also correct for bourbon whiskey. I’m not an expert by any means, buy you have the bottom of the barrel stuff that starts around $20, the middling stuff that can get up to $70 per bottle, and then the really really expensive stuff. Personally I think the really expensive stuff is mostly hype just like it is with wine. But there is a definite difference between $20 swill and $50 sipping whiskey.

And if you’re looking to save money, but one bottle of expensive stuff and another of cheap. Start on the expensive, and then after a few switch to the cheap. You’ll feel better in the morning looking at an empty $20 bottle than seeing an empty $80 bottle. But maybe that’s just me.

And I still can’t get past the idea of some northern states with their govt run liquor stores. Unbelievable. I can still remember living in Louisiana and buying hard liquor at the grocery store. That’s the way it should be, everywhere.

When I lived in Virginia, there were state run stores. Here in Florida wine and beer is sold in the grocery store, but hard liquor has to be sold in a separate store.
As far as expense, the most I have ever paid for a bottle of Tequila is $200. I just can’t see spending 4 figures on a bottle of anything consumable.

I live pretty close to the state line and buy all my alcohol in MA. In Kommiecticut, they have this stupid law called “minimum bottle pricing.” It is there to supposedly protect the mom and pop package stores from being undercut by the “big chains.” A container of any kind of alcohol can not be sold for less than wholesale. So a bottle of your favorite liquor is $X plus tax in CT, and if I go to Yankee Spirits up in Sturbridge it is a couple dollars cheaper with no sales tax on alcohol. Of course, we don’t just go up there for one bottle, we buy ALL of our beer, wine, and spirits there. While there we have a nice dinner, do other shopping, and fill our gas tank before coming home. Kommiecticut loses big at least 15 miles from the border on everything.

I kind of understand the minimum pricing, because I saw what big chains do with my own eyes. The big chain moves into a town and sells most of the store below cost. (They can afford to because the loss is spread over the 100 other stores in other towns who aren’t selling at a loss. )
Then, once the small mom and pop places are gone, they are free to charge whatever they want. One of the reasons why I hate WalMart. I watched them destroy the small businesses in a town I lived in. That’s why I see the schadenfreude in Amazon doing the same to them.

I am sure Cuervo’s best stuff is decent. I just can’t get over the Gold paint thinner

I concur with Don Curton’s post about quality/price for scotch, too. I worked in Scotland for a year in my mid 20’s, and was broke as hell. cheap blended scotch and McEwan’s beer was my go-to. Sticker shock when I went back home was a real bitch, though. in the late 90’s I was paying about 70% less for scotch in Scotland compared to the price around Boston.
As was noted about Patron, Johnny Walker is, IMO, swill at any price, while above a certain price point, about $85 at the moment, there’s diminishing returns on real flavor v. price. Midprice scotches like Laphroig or Lagavulin are a mile apart on the spectrum of flavor, based on personal taste, but rated high, in my book, and paying double the price doesn’t get you anywhere near double the flavor.

Best scotch I ever had was from a sheep farmer’s backyard still, outside of Stirling. 10-month old stuff. Lard sandwiches and scotch for lunch.

Or you can buy decent to excellent Mezcal, which is usually cheaper – in Latin America sometimes significantly cheaper – and usually better than Tequila. They make it off the tire fire at the gate of the fortress of heaven, the angels smuggle it here to us, giving it to the Latinos because they are cannier, tougher, and holier than us, and so deserve it.

@divemedic

A pair of suggestions:

7 Leguas tequila. Customer in my old portfolio was originally from Mexico and introduced me to it. Rather smooth, good for sipping and not too rough on the wallet.

Higher end, give Clase Azul a shot. Friend of mine sprung for a bottle; it was shocking how good it was. To my taste buds beats the Cuervo 1942 Añejo by a mile.

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