To-Drink List: Top 10 Whiskeys to Try Before You Die

We love food, we love beer, we love wine, we love booze. Of course, as we all grow up and mature, the kinds of beer, booze, and wine we enjoy tends to change. Now that we are all “adults,” it is important to know when it is and is not okay to bring a box of wine, a six-pack of Natty Light, or a bottle of Sailor Jerry. We got you covered on beer and cocktails. But what about the classic whiskey? That’s why we bring you our list of the top ten whiskeys to impress. Whether it is bourbon, single malt, or a blend, we have you covered. Enjoy – literally try them all.

 

Knobb Creek

10. Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve

Knob Creek can be found in nearly any liquor store. This is a good starter for drinking whiskey straight. This is a smooth bourbon that goes down nice and easy!

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9. OOLA Discourse Three Shores Blended Whiskey

Many scoff at the thought of blended whiskey. However this is a blended whiskey that will turn anyone. The blend features some of the best whiskeys in the world in one bottle. This is a well balanced sweet, spicy, and smooth blend to get you started.

Clyde Mays

8. Clyde May’s Bourbon

Impress your friends with this sweet bourbon. Don’t add water. Don’t add ice. Just pour it into the glass and drink it up.

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7. Angel’s Envy Rye

Now this stuff isn’t cheap, but well worth every penny. This stuff gives new meaning to rye whiskey with it finishing off in rum barrels. The spice of the rye meshes well with the sweetness of the rum barrels. YUM.

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6. Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon

This award-winning bourbon packs a punch. Four Roses is a well-known brand amongst whiskey lovers, but the single barrel provides fruity undertones without losing the strength of a bourbon whiskey.

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5. Catskill Distilling Co. Rye

While this may be more difficult to find, it is well worth the search. Catskill Rye comes out of the Empire state with a complex flavor profile. Some find the description of “leather” as odd. However, the flavor comes out underneath other flavors such as caramel and vanilla finishing with smoky and spicy flavors (that “wood” description they provide).

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4. Basil Hayden Bourbon

At 80 proof, this bourbon goes down easy straight. Smooth flavors of spice and honey make it an enjoyable whiskey that is worth keeping in your liquor cabinet.

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3. Bulleit Rye 

You’ll find this one behind just about every bar you go to. Tend your own bar with this for anything from straight whiskey to mixed drinks. Or keep on dumping in Old Crow and not realizing that whiskey can taste good even in mixed drinks.

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2. Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon

This one has been around for quite a while. What does that mean? Well developed flavors through maturing in barrels and perfecting the cuts. With such great color to the bourbon and TONS of flavor – you can’t go wrong with Woodford Reserve.

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1. Teeling Irish Whiskey

Of course, we can’t leave out Irish whiskey! Like the Irish, Teeling packs a punch. In your face spice hits you first, along with a nicely balanced boozy flavor. Definitely not for the faint of heart, but if you are going to go with an Irish whiskey – start here.

Four Roses Bourbon Opening Day Cocktail

Cocktail O’ Clock: Knock it Outta the Park with the RBI Cocktail

Four Roses Bourbon Opening Day Cocktail
Happy Opening Day! Today we’re celebrating the start of baseball season with lots of bourbon. Wait, bourbon? Yes, bourbon. Think beyond the Kentucky Derby, because this versatile liquor is great for spring and summer sipping during any sporting event, including baseball.

Today we used the classic Four Roses bourbon to create the RBI… no, not Run Batted In, the Raspberry Blackberry Infusion! We combined Four Roses with fresh berries to create a sweet, flavorful infused bourbon, then shook it with local honey and bitters and served it on the rocks for a refreshing libation perfect for drinking while watching your favorite team.

The Four Roses RBI Cocktail

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Cocktail O’Clock: A Fall Drink Sans Pumpkin

Pear and Sparkling Cider

OK people, I know we all like to get overexcited about our pumpkin beers and our PS lattes, but does every fall cocktail these days have to be pumpkin-based? Nothing against the good ol’ gourd, I just feel like some other fall ingredients tend to get overloooked — like apple cider!

This classy fall cocktail combines cider, champagne, bourbon and pear for a decidedly different fall taste.

Pear and Sparkling Cider Cocktail

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Bourbon Chocolate, and More…

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I don’t really think I need to tell you much more. I’ve debated at work about the few foods that go good with anything. We narrowed it down to two: cheese and chocolate. Well, I believe I’m helping make the chocolate point with the Raaka Bourbon Cask Aged Chocolate. Raaka touts itself as the first company to make a chocolate that uses cask-aged cocoa beans in their bourbon cask-aged chocolate.  The first time I noticed this chocolate was in Bryant Park during the Christmas season. My fianceé and I went into the small shop expecting some kind of gimmick. They provided small samples of each flavor. I could definitely taste the sweetness of the bourbon in the chocolate.

Of course, I tried all of their other flavors, and each sample had a distinctly pleasant and different flavor from the other. End of story–I ended up with a gift bag full of Raaka chocolates for Christmas (thanks fianceé). The bars are still hidden away to savor for the sudden urge I may have every now and then. Apparently the trick to the deliciousness of these chocolates is twofold: (1) the chocolates have uniquely different flavors (see Bourbon Cask Aged, Vanilla Rooibos, or Porter) and (2) the simplistic “virgin” crafting of the chocolate.

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Cocktail O’Clock: Moonshine Mint Julep

Ole Smoky Moonshine Mint Julep

Is the Monday before the Kentucky Derby too early to start pouring mint juelps?

Me thinks not.

For today’s cocktail o’clock, here’s a modern spin on the MJ, made here with Ole Smoky Moonshine — a quintuple-distilled grain-neutral spirit that goes down, dare I say it, smoother than bourbon.

 Moonshine Mint Julep

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Apple Bourbon Pulled Pork Stuffing

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If you ask me, it is NOT a holiday meal without stuffing. Nothing says celebration like cooking some old bread up with an unreasonable amount of butter and fatty meat. Honestly, I don’t even care if we have a bird. Whether it’s turkey, goose or even ham on the Christmas table, I’m expecting stuffing on the side.

And this year I’m pretty proud of my new invention: stovetop stuffing amped up with apple bourbon slow-cooker pulled pork, walnuts and apples. YEP.

Apple Bourbon Pulled Pork Stuffing

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Cocktail O’Clock: Brothers’ Quarrel

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With the Super Bowl just around the corner, this drink, which comes from the W Austin, is a good pleaser. It’s manly enough for a football party (Bourbon-based) but sweet enough to please those of us who are manly enough to admit we’re in it for the taste. It also pays homage to this year’s brother vs. brother Super Bowl coaches plotl ine by mixing St. Germaine and Canton, two liquors made by two different brothers. According the legend:

The maker of Chambord liquor had two sons. He gave each of his sons a sum of money and said “I want you to take this money and go out and make a liquer better than mine. The catch is that I want you to make a liquer better than each other’s.” With the money in hand and passion in their hearts, each son created a great spirit, one making St. Germaine and the other Canton. Much like the whiskeys also found in this cocktail, an American Bourbon and an English scotch, the brother’s quarreled over which is better.

Who’s right? We have no idea, but this drink sure is a strong one!

Brothers’ Quarrel

1.5 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon
.5 oz st. germain
.5 oz canton ginger
.25 oz pineapple

Shake all, pour over rocks in rocks glass. Then Spritz with Laphroaig and garnish with burnt lemon.

 Find more party drink ideas in Endless Cocktails.

(Photo courtesy W Austin)