A Symphony of Flavors: Our Top 40 Tequila Food Pairings

In our travels across Mexico, the U.S. and beyond, we’ve enjoyed experiencing how innovative, upscale restaurants, Michelin-starred chefs and even master sommeliers have moved beyond traditional wine pairings to offer something fresh and experiential: tequila and food pairings.

Authentic Mexican cuisine, especially traditional fare from Cierto Tequila’s home state of Jalisco, is a natural place to start, but we’ve found that Peruvian, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian, American and many other cuisines can inspire inventive pairing menus which complement Cierto, the Most Awarded Tequila in History.

Tequila pairing dinners are some of our favorite events to put on, and for our guests to experience. If you’re planning your own pairing dinner, consider dishes that complement the complex flavors and aromas of the individual expression, or type, of tequila you’ll be drinking – whether it’s a blanco, reposado, añejo or extra añejo. 

Each expression has a distinct flavor and aroma, and its taste can be enhanced when paired with a dish that highlights its unique qualities. Meals that complement the bright citrus flavors of Cierto’s blanco tequilas will differ from meals that pair well with the rich, barrel-forward notes of Cierto’s extra añejo tequilas.

Here are 40 of our favorite tequila food pairings, courtesy of the incredible culinary teams at El Carlos Elegante in Dallas, Renata’s Hearth in Phoenix, Basilico in Las Vegas, 10 Cubed in New York City, Mírame in Beverly Hills and Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, that will turn your next tequila tasting into a divine culinary experience. 


Blanco tequilas are colorless and, when made well using fully-mature agave and zero additives, have a delicate flavor that pairs well with appetizers and light foods. 

Unlike other tequila expressions, blancos are either unaged or (less commonly) aged in barrels for shorter than 60 days. They are distinguished by their crisp flavor profile, which may include notes of citrus, white pepper, herbs and, of course, agave. Cierto’s Private Collection Blanco is a soft, smooth tequila with fresh floral notes that express the natural flavors of the blue Weber agave plant, with which all tequila is made.

Blanco Food Pairings 

The delicate flavors of blanco tequila can shine when combined with lighter fare, such as seafood, sushi, shellfish ceviche, young gourmet cheeses and even caviar – making blanco an ideal pre-dinner drink. Pair a glass of Cierto’s blanco tequilas with one of these starters or small plates for a complement of fresh flavors:

  • Tuna ceviche with semi-dried heirloom tomatoes, scallions, avocado, grilled pineapple and lime
  • Hamachi tiradito (a Peruvian take on sashimi) with passion fruit, radish and dill
  • Kanpachi aguachile (a Mexican-style ceviche) with jicama, nopal granita, jalapeno oil and avocado
  • Cured Hawaiian tuna sashimi with pineapple aguachile, sea grape and salsa negra
  • Chilean sea bass ceviche with passion fruit leche de tigre (a citrus and fish stock-based marinade) and coconut
  • Grouper tostada topped with mango relish and purple kimchi
  • Crab claws with mojo verde and jicama
  • Causa rellena (a Peruvian-style potato casserole) with bigeye tuna and avocado mousse
  • Roasted carrots with coriander, sumac yogurt and carrot tops
  • Gougères (savory French cheese puffs) with manchego cheese, bone marrow and caviar  

Learn More: Drinkhacker Names Cierto a “Top Tequila”


Additive-free reposado tequilas typically have a pale, golden color and will often feature sweeter flavors naturally drawn from the oak barrels in which they’re aged, such as vanilla or caramel, in addition to natural cooked agave. As such, they pair exceptionally well with richer foods to create unique sweet-and-savory combinations.

Reposados must be aged for at least 2 months. Cierto’s Private Collection Reposado takes it a step further, patiently resting in rare French Limousin oak casks for 11 months. The result is a refined tequila with light notes of butterscotch, cinnamon and caramel.

Reposado Food Pairings 

Foods that are charred or include spicy flavors will complement the sweetness and reveal some of the underlying umami notes of a well-made reposado tequila. Cured meats, pork, robatayaki (Japanese-style barbeque) and savory gourmet popcorn pair well with reposado tequila. Delight your taste buds by pairing reposado with one of these mouth-watering courses:

  • Beef tartar with shallots, roasted corn, jalapeno dust and chimichurri mayonnaise
  • Short rib tostada with coleslaw, tomatillo sauce and cilantro
  • Brandt beef and Peruvian yellow potato empanadas vallunas
  • Sonoma hen with goat cheese, hoja santa fondue, baby artichoke and bing cherries
  • Stuffed quail with delicata, roasted apple, mole negro and frise
  • Spanish pata negra ham and cheese board with homemade seed crackers
  • Risotto with tamarind, negroni marmalade and langoustin
  • Asada agnolotti (stuffed pasta) with rapini, hen-of-the-wood mushrooms and manchego cheese
  • Elote empanada with chipotle aioli
  • El machete (corn-tortilla quesadilla) and mushroom masa


Añejo tequilas are aged for at least 1 year and up to 3 years, and they draw a majority of their complex flavors from the barrels in which they’re aged. The extended aging process can produce wonderful notes of coffee, burgundy, tobacco, leather and oak similar to what you’ll find in Cierto’s Private Collection Añejo, which is aged in French Limousin oak for a minimum of 18 months.

Consider pairing an añejo in a similar manner to whiskey or red wine, with hearty main-course dishes and rich marinades that celebrate strong, earthy flavors.

Añejo Food Pairings 

Añejo tequila is an elegant companion to wagyu beef, short ribs, mole sauce and black cod. We recommend pairing añejo with one of these mains:

  • Prime rib cap with sunchoke confit, fava bean gremalada and mezcal glaze
  • Stilton crusted beef tenderloin with charred elote, baby corn, lime mayo and añejo cheese
  • Beef cheeks with potato mouselline (French mashed potatoes) and mole “dolce e forte”**
  • Wagyu brisket bomba (a variation of a meatball) with piquillo peppers, Castelvetrano olives and salsa huancaina (spicy Peruvian cheese sauce)
  • Wagyu beef picanha with charred carrot mole and recado negro (a charred spice blend)
  • Black cod with black bean jus, black garlic and grilled nopales salad
  • Halibut with forbidden rice and salsa veracruzana
  • Moqueca (a Brazilian seafood stew) with tomato coconut broth, prawn, sea bass, yucca and focaccia
  • Chicken with mole madre and cilantro
  • Mole taco with corn tortilla, chicken, mole sauce, queso fresco, red onion and cilantro

Read About: Sip and Savor: The Best Ways to Enjoy Authentic Tequila


Due to extra añejo’s lengthy maturation period (3 years or more), the tequila extracts a wide variety of barrel characteristics and develops a potent, and often sweeter, flavor profile that complements dark chocolate, gourmet dried fruits, Brazil nuts and hazelnuts.

Cierto’s Private Collection Extra Añejo is defined by its oaky notes of rich dark chocolate, caramel and cherries. We’ve aged this rare and complex spirit in French Limousin oak barrels for a minimum of 48 months to craft an exceptionally smooth and refined sipping tequila that stands alongside some of the world’s finest luxury spirits.

Extra Añejo Food Pairings 

Pair extra añejo with rich desserts, which elevate the tequila’s deep and luxurious flavor profile, or an after-dinner cigar for an exceptional experience. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Cream puff with sweet corn, poblano pastry cream, and dark chocolate
  • Dark chocolate and chili gateau (a rich layered cake)
  • Hazelnut mole bomba with mole-spiced chocolate mousse
  • Coffee flan
  • Marcona almond toasted brioche truffle
  • Lemon tequila sorbet with Sicilian sweet bread
  • Mexican chocolate with pot de creme, merengue and brown butter
  • Apple pie with cinnamon tamal and crumble
  • Key lime pie with guava, shortbread and hibiscus
  • Coconut cheesecake with burnt honey cream, strawberry-tequila gelee, coconut sable Breton cookie and jalapeño ice cream

The perfect pairings for every type of tequila are out there, but the only way to discover your favorites is to try as many as possible!

From authentic Mexican and fresh sushi to dessert and fine cigars, well-made, additive-free tequila pairs beautifully with a variety of dishes and world cuisines. To find the perfect expression of Cierto, the Most Awarded Tequila in History, to complement your favorite foods, shop our Private Collection and Reserve Collection now.

Up Next: What Makes a “True” Tequila? About Additive-Free Tequila

About the Author

Jim Ruane is the Chief Growth Officer of Elevated Spirits and Cierto Tequila. During his 20-year beverage career, Jim has led some of the world’s most respected brands, has studied and taught the engineering, chemistry and cultural significance of spirits distillation and is one of the industry’s most dynamic leaders.

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