Because bourbon is what you want in your glass, whether for cocktails or straight-up sipping, here’s a short list of All-American bourbons to snap up, ASAP. All are priced below $100; most are $50 and under.
Made in Bethel, N.Y., the area best known for Woodstock and hippies, this bourbon ($45) by Catskill Distilling Co. is made with New York state grains. It’s relatively austere and dry, showing espresso, toffee and cocoa, brightened with burnt orange peel on the long finish. Righteous, man.
This newcomer ($50) from Diageo is made using a solera method to blend stocks of older whiskeys aged at the Stitzel-Weller facility in Louisville with newer whiskeys produced there. The end result: a silky sipper that needs little more than a splash of water to unfurl layers of vanilla, almond and oak.
In addition to the regular 90-proof Bulleit bottling, this limited-edition barrel-strength version ($50) clocks in at nearly 120 proof. Whoo! As expected, that extra alcohol means extra flavor oomph, too: Look for plenty of dulce de leche, vanilla and espresso flavor.
Cali bourbon? You bet. This Craft Distillers bourbon is a light, elegant sipper ($65) with a vanilla-maple flavor profile and a super long, gently spiced finish. It’s ideal for raising a glass while contemplating a long California sunset.
Although the brand was unavailable in the U.S. for 20 years, it returned in 2015. This smooth sipper ($75) shows lots of caramel and vanilla, followed by a pleasing sherry-and-spice finish.
Keep an eye on this label. Though each batch is a limited edition, it has been consistently worth a pour. This one ($85) is a nine-and-a-half-year-old Tennessee straight bourbon bottled at cask strength (133 proof—grab the branch water!), robust with caramel and a lingering dose of orange peel.