Stocking your home bar well makes pouring nightcaps and mixing cocktails a breeze. When you begin to assemble your bar there’s one spirit that you surely shouldn’t miss, whiskey. From the single malts of Scotland to the Kentucky bourbons, this is a home bar essential. Here are our picks for the best whiskey brands in each category.
The Best Bourbon Whiskey
Without a doubt, a favorite bourbon whiskey is Woodford Reserve. This whiskey is readily available and at a price point that will make your wallet happy. It’s vanilla, honey, and citrus flavors mingle well in cocktails from Boulevardiers to Old Fashioneds.
The art of making fine bourbon first took place on the site of the Woodford Reserve Distillery, a National Historic Landmark, in 1812. The perfectly balanced taste of our Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is comprised of more than 200 detectable flavor notes, from bold grain and wood, to sweet aromatics, spice, and fruit & floral notes.
The clean flavor of Woodford Reserve also makes it a favorite for sipping simply on the rocks.
The Best Rye Whiskey
In contrast to the bourbon’s sweet, caramel type flavors, the first thing you’ll notice about a rye whiskey is the spice. The Willet Family Estate small batch 4 Year Rye is a champ at balancing these earthy flavors.
Even a quick nosing reveals that Rye nose of grassy, herbal goodness with a sweetness that follows it. The palate is well balanced with a herbal mintiness, intertwined with a sweetness that dances on your tongue until it exits with a spiciness. This is a great utility whiskey to drink neat, make an Old Fashioned, or hold up to a rock.
Serve this delicious rye whiskey up in a Manhattan for a sophisticated nightcap anyone would love. Definitely one to add to your list of the best whiskey brands.
The Best Single Malt Whiskey
There are five whiskey-producing regions of Scotland, each with their own traits that will appeal to different tastes. We could write numerous articles just comparing and contrasting them alone. When it comes to stocking your home bar with the best whiskey options, the Glen Garioch 12 is an affordable option that will appeal to the masses.
The nose offers an abundance of guilty pleasures, with dark chocolate and honey coming to the forefront. The honey follows into the palate, adding a smooth carpet for hints of pepper and oak – an unlikely but delicious polygamist marriage. The long and satisfying finish gives way to the oakiness that was suggested in the nose and palate. This is a whisky with a complexity and maturity way beyond its 12-year aging process and is one of the finest 12-year-olds available. –Brendan Hodrien for The Independent
For those looking for the more peaty flavors of an Islay whiskey, the Talisker 10 is a remarkably affordable option.
The Best Japanese Whiskey
As an exotic touch to your home bar, a Japanese whiskey lets you show off for your guests. The Nikka Coffey Grain is one of the easier Japanese whiskeys to find stateside.
The Coffey Still is the world’s first patented continuous still invented by Mr. Aeneas Coffey in 1830. Masataka Taketsuru valued the feature of this type of still, which retains the flavors of ingredients and also creates a distinctive texture.
The complex, sweet and mellow flavors of this beautiful grain whiskey make cocktail possibilities endless. A simple whiskey highball or Seelbach would be an excellent place to start!
Stocking your home bar with the best whiskey brands ensures you’ll never disappoint guests when entertaining and always have qualities options for your cocktails. To learn more about whiskeys, explore Sustainable Scottish Whiskey: A New Trend.