While we spend a lot of time talking about cocktails in this space, the reality is that we’re a whiskey bar first and foremost, and frankly, the number one question I get while behind the bar is “What’s your favorite?” The answer, of course, is almost always dependent on what you’re willing to spend. I find myself saying the names on this list more than anything else lately. In order from cheapest to most expensive:
Old Grandad 114 – $8
Starting at the bottom end, this might be the cheapest whiskey we have here, but honestly, one of my favorites. These younger whiskeys tend to be a bit nuttier than their older counterparts (take Johnny Drum, for example), but for some reason, I always find myself reaching for the OGD. The silver lining is that it’s cheap enough to shoot without feeling bad about it, which is a quality in and of itself. Goes well with a cheap domestic.
Rittenhouse Rye – $8
I’ve heard it described as “the best rye at any price point,” and while I’m not sure if that’s true, it certainly makes the best Manhattan, and has the proof and spicy rye character to shine through in most classic rye cocktails. If you ask me for an off-menu Manhattan, there’s a good chance I’ll be reaching for this bottle.
Bulleit Bourbon – $9
Ah yes, the great debate. “Would you like bourbon or rye in your old fashioned?” A high-rye mash bill in Bulleit makes the decision a little easier, making the cocktail just spicy enough to not make the sweetness too dull. This is my go-to bottle for bourbon old-fashioneds.
Four Roses Small Batch – $10
No matter what the mash bill or the yeast strain is on this blended bourbon, it’s bound to be a good time. They do a good job over there.
Michter’s Unblended American Whiskey – $13
This isn’t a bourbon because it’s aged in old bourbon barrels, but something tells me you wont care for the details after the first sip. This is a butterscotch-forward dessert whiskey, and if you are a fan of rums like Ron Zacapa 23, this whiskey is a no-brainer.
Baker’s – $14
A product of the Beam distillery, this bourbon takes a lot of cues from Buffalo Trace products like Eagle Rare. A sweeter, corny finish makes it an easy bourbon to love for the novice bourbon drinker, while a proof of 107 makes it perfect over a large cube.. This is a staff favorite, and for good reason.
Widow Jane – $20
Apparently the water for this bourbon is sourced in an area of New York with a very high concentration of limestone, a high concentration than what’s found around the famed distilleries in Kentucky. Even if that weren’t true, this is some special stuff. Plenty of tobacco notes in this whiskey make this a really great bourbon to pair with cigars, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Parker’s Promise of Hope – $20/oz
An annual release from the Beam distillery to benefit ALS research (Parker Beam was diagnosed with the disease a few years back), this is what Parker Beam thinks bourbon should taste like. The barrel was selected from his favorite part of the rickhouse, it was his favorite age, and it encompasses all of the tasting notes that he loves about bourbon. It also happens to go very well with our strawberry shortcake that we currently have on our menu. Is anybody else getting thirsty?
Bruichladdich Port Charlotte – $24
A heavily peated scotch without a ton of iodine (I’m looking at you, Laphroiag 10). In fact, the amount of super bright honey flavors in this whiskey is my favorite thing about it. If you like peat, you deserve to track this one down for yourself.
Willet 21 Pot of Gold – $45/oz
Let them have their wheated bourbon, this ~144 proof rye is the real deal, and it might actually melt your face off in the process. The first thing you taste is, obviously, the alcohol, but then it’s an explosion of tropical fruit (pineapple, pomegrante). Add a couple drops of water after the first sip, if that’s your thing. But please, no more than one cube. It’s worth every penny, just trust me.
Johnny Walker Odyssey = $100/oz
A beautiful, delicate blending of three different barrels of scotch from the people who know blending better than anybody. There’s only one person who knows which barrels were selected for the blend, so if you want to know what’s in it, you could always ask nicely? A perfectly executed, melt-in-your-mouth blended scotch. You get what you pay for, after all.