I’ll confess that the cool looking bottle at my local liquor store is what conned me into buying and trying a 750ml bottle of El Zarco Tequila (Silver). I went to the liquor store to get a bottle of Taaka Vodka. Being that I already had some Camarena left at the house, I wasn’t really shopping for Tequila. The El Zarco silver tequila comes in a cool-looking, blueish-clear bottle. It is obvious from the print on the bottle that says, “Made with Blue Agave” that El Zarco is not made a 100% Agave tequila. It might also be obvious from the $10.99 price tag if I hadn’t had other good, 100% Agave tequilas in the past like Tres Alegres. Even most persnickety tequila snobs will admit that Tres Alegres is an excellent value. Unfortunately, Tres Alegres is very hard to find.
El Zarco Silver vs Reposado
I bought the Silver bottle of El Zarco thinking it was something different than the unimpressive reposado, Camarena I already had sitting at home. In general, the silver tequilas taste smoky and dry to me where-as the reposados have a sweeter, buttery, more caramel-like flavor. I’m not sure I like mixing a silver tequila with any type of margarita mixes because it might over power the flavor. I prefer the reposado or blancos for making margaritas – but putting a really good tequila into a mixed drink seems like a waste of money to me. There are plenty of partial-agave tequilas that are perfect for making mixed tequila drinks with and any of them that I have ever tried are much better than Jose Cuervo Gold or Silver. Okay, so the silver, El Zarco might be an exception. Since it is not a 100% Agave tequila perhaps, I thought, it might go pretty good in a strong, margarita with real lime juice and only a splash of triple-sec, Cointreau, Gran Marnier or whatever else any of us might prefer in our margs. I was anxious to taste it by itself to see if I could tell it was not made from 100% agave. The bottle advertisement claims that the El Zarco is double-distilled, making me hopeful that this might be a pretty smooth sipping tequila even if it is a made-for-mixers, partial-agave, silver.
El Zarco Tequila Tasting Notes
From my first sniff of the El Zarco Tequila Silver, I instantly suspected it might have more of an alcohol-burn than the pleasant, smokiness of a good, 100% De Agave, silver tequila. My first taste didn’t prove me wrong. There is some nice smoke and agave flavor once you get past the alcohol burn, but it is clearly inferior to a 100% agave nectar tequila. Though there is a little butteryness to it, the El Zarco tequila just lacks the thickness and cream of the real thing. I decided to put some of the El Zarco into my stainless steel shaker. I squeezed some lime juice and put a couple of lime slices in with the tequila and a few ice cubes; shook and made a martini with it. The result was a decent, not great silver tequila martini. Last, I decided to try El Zarco with a complete, marg using the lime juice and triple sec. The result was a mediocre margarita. El Zarco is an average silver tequila; good, not great – but nothing bad or offensive about it either. I’d certainly try El Zarco reposado for making Margs if I could find a 1.75 liter bottle of it at a sub-$20 price. I’d give El Zarco 3 stars for the price. El Zarco is not so bad that I won’t enjoy drinking it. I would imagine that the bottle of El Zarco will be gone by the time I get around to reviewing my next tequila.