Hornitos is one of the top-selling and most recognizable bottles of tequila in the entire world, and it has gained a good reputation for providing solid quality at a reasonable price point.
The word “hornitos” means “little ovens” in Spanish, which refer to the ovens used to roast the blue agave.
There are many different options when it comes to purchasing Hornitos tequila, and different-sized bottles carry different price tags.
There are also other similar styles of tequila on the market, and we’ll take a look at the subtle differences between the most similar alternatives.
A Brief History of Hornitos Tequila
Hornitos has been in existence since the year 1950 when founder Don Fransisco began creating high-quality tequila using only the finest blue agave. The agave was roasted in small ovens to add depth of flavor, which is where the brand received its name.
Don Fransisco was one of the original believers in the principle that to be considered true tequila, a spirit must be produced using the hearts of blue agave from only the Jalisco area of Mexico. He helped establish many of the tequila standards that are still in place today.
There are three different categories of tequila, and Hornitos produces at least one style of each. Tequila can either be considered “Blanco,” “Reposado,” or “Anejo,” each of which is produced differently for three very different spirits in terms of look, aroma, and flavor.
Blanco is the most simple and straightforward style of tequila, and it is often referred to as “clear” or “silver” tequila. It has the most straightforward taste, as there is no oak aging involved which truly lets the natural flavors of this agave-based spirit shine on their own.
The majority of tequila-based mixed drinks are made using blanco tequila, especially when the intention is to mask the taste of the alcohol within the drink. Blanco tequila mixes well with citrus-based drinks, making it a fantastic candidate for margaritas and tequila sunrises.
There are also high-end bottles of blanco tequila that are meant to be enjoyed neat or on the rocks. These top-tier blanco tequilas are often referred to as “sipping tequilas,” and the best bottles are rumored to impart a less aggressive buzz without a hangover the next day.
Hornitos takes a unique approach when it comes to labeling its blanco tequila options. The most popular style of tequila they sell is called “Plata,” which translates to “silver” in English and is a straightforward representation of a solid blanco tequila.
Hornitos also produces a newer style of clear tequila that they have named “Lime Shot.” It is flavored with a hint of bitter lime, and was created to be taken as a shooter. This is a great option for parties and large gatherings and is best enjoyed when served chilled.
The word “Reposado” in Spanish translates to “rested” in English, and the term refers to the fact that the tequila has been aged in oak. Craftsmen allow tequila to “rest” in oak barrels, which gives it a unique complexity and depth of flavor ideal for sipping neat or on the rocks.
While any type of oak is allowed for use in aging reposado tequila, white oak is most often used in the industry today. Reposado tequila must undergo a minimum of two months of oak aging, and it can stay in the barrel for up to one year.
Reposado tequilas can take on a number of different tasting notes, including vanilla, baking spices, and smoke. The “bite” of the alcohol is also slighty softened after oak aging due to a small amount of evaporation that takes place during aging through the vessels of the oak.
The original iteration of Hornitos tequila was a reposado, and it was created in the year 1950 as a celebration of Mexico’s independence from Spain. Today, Hornitos Reposado is aged in large oak vats to ensure minimal surface contact and impart a soft and subtle flavor.
The Spanish word “Anejo” translates to “Aged” in English, and this designation is given to the “oakiest” of all representations of tequila. These spirits spend a minimum of one year in small oak barrels, which allow for more surface contact with the tequila and a more intense flavor.
Anejo tequila is the first choice of many serious tequila enthusiasts, as the heightened presence of oak leads to strong flavors and a refined smooth finish on the palate. These make for interesting and complex sipping tequilas that can be both highly sought after and expensive.
Anejo tequila is rarely used in the creation of mixed drinks like margaritas, and it is most often served either neat or on the rocks. It is sometimes taken as a shooter, though most people believe that chilled blanco tequila is the best option for “shooting tequila.”
Hornitos produces three different styles of Anejo tequila, each of which brings something very different to the table. The most straightforward style is simply named “Anejo,” and it carries both a unique caramel amber color and a smooth and refined finish.
For fans of “extra smooth” tequila, Hornitos has produced a very unique bottle called “Cristalino.” This bottle of clear anejo tequila is both triple distilled and carbon filtered to increase smoothness, which is similar to the way that many high-end vodkas are produced.
The most highly awarded and interesting bottle of tequila produced by Hornitos in the eyes of many is called “Black Barrel” and it is aged in charred oak barrels similar to those used in the whiskey and bourbon industry. The result is a very strong and intense tequila that is well suited for sipping neat during celebrations.
Prices, Variations, and Sizes of Hornitos Tequila
The top-selling and the most common style of tequila produced by the Hornitos company is their straightforward and economical representation of blanco tequila called “Plata.” It comes in many different sizes and is available at most liquor stores and major chair liquor retailers in the US.
The most common size of Hornitos Plata is the standard 750-milliliter bottle, which has an average price tag of between $22 and $25 per bottle depending on where you shop. The 1.75-liter bottle costs around $35, while the one-liter bottle is a great “in-between” option at $32.
The Reposado style of Hornitos tequila is the second most popular variation, and it is also available in 750-milliliter and 1.75-liter sizes. The price is usually within a dollar or two of Plata options, with prices ranging between $23 and $33 per bottle on average.
The most expensive style of tequila produced by Hornitos is still very reasonably priced, with the “Black Barrel” bottle of Anejo costing around $33 per 750-milliliter bottle.
Hornitos Black Barrel can be tougher to find in some areas, and store owners sometimes upcharge these bottles.
Alternatives to Hornitos Tequila
While Hornitos is one of the top tequila producers on the market today, they are far from the only large-scale producer of high-quality and economical tequila. There are many other options to choose between when it comes to quality tequila that is moderately priced.
Jose Cuervo is one of the top-selling tequila brands in the United States, and their selections are generally priced just a bit lower than Hornitos.
While some people do not enjoy the flavor of Jose Cuervo, others believe it to be one of the best values in all of the liquor.
Sauza is a very popular brand of tequila that specializes in straightforward economical selections and is one of the top sellers in many bars and restaurants when it comes to tequila-based cocktails.
It is one of the most reasonably priced options on the market and is available in many different styles.
Milagro tequila is considered by many industry professionals and tequila enthusiasts to be one of the best values in all of tequila.
It delivers extremely high quality at a price point similar to Hornitos, and its blanco selection is its top seller every year.
How To Drink Hornitos Tequila
While many people choose to enjoy Horitos tequila “neat,” another very popular way to enjoy it is “on the rocks.” It is best served with a large ice cube that is designed to melt slowly so as not to dilute the Hornitos while sipping.
Hornitos is also a very popular shooting tequila, and the Plata style is the best option for serving as shots. It is always best practice to serve Horitos chilled when pouring shots, and a lime wedge is often served with shots to use as a chaser.
Hornitos is also a fantastic option for mixing into tequila-based cocktails, and it is one of the main tequilas used by many Mexican restaurants across the United States when making popular drinks such as Margaritas and Palomas.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Does Hornitos Tequila Get Its Name?
The word “Hornitos” translates to “little ovens” in English. The name refers to the traditional style ovens that have been used to roast the hearts of Mexican blue agave since the beginning of the Hornitos company in the year 1950.
Which Style of Tequila Is Hornitos?
While the most popular style of tequila produced by the Hornitos company is a blanco tequila called “Plata,” the company also produces a very popular Reposado tequila, as well as three different variations of Anejo tequila.
Is Hornitos Tequila of High Quality?
While there are “higher end” options on the market today when it comes to top-quality tequilas, Hornitos is considered by many tequila enthusiasts and industry professionals to be a great value, as it offers solid tequila quality at a very reasonable price point.