You know who knows best which bottles to buy? The people who pour and sell drinks—that’s who. We asked dozens of top bartending and spirits industry professionals to tell us which bottles they love and why. Heads up: The numerical order below is not organized by importance or quality; it’s a list, not a ranking. Prices are averages and can vary state to state.
“The mash bill of two-thirds rye grain and one-third barley gives Copper Fox a well-rounded flavor profile of sweet and peppery. I love this unique whiskey.”—Gary Patrick Crunkleton, bartender at and owner of The Crunkleton
“This is the first rye I immediately loved neat. I remember being served it for the first time at Zig Zag Café in Seattle and finally understanding what people love about whiskey. It’s hot, spicy but really sippable, which is surprising considering how young it is and its 100 percent rye mash bill.”—Karin Stanley, co-owner of Dutch Kills and bartender at Little Branchand Suffolk Arms
“This venerable brand was one of the few companies to keep the category of rye whiskey alive in the dark days of whiskey in America. Experience counts, and they’ve been making rye for a good long time.”—Michael J. Neff, bar director at Holiday Cocktail Lounge
8. Luna White Dog ($50)
“No oak aging, just purity showcasing. Delicious.”—Simon Ford, co-founder of The 86 Co.
“Malt whiskey making in America is a relatively new spirits category, but Westward has transcended time with this pour. Subtle flavors of dried fruits, oak, honey and more make this whiskey well worth the pour.”—Gary Patrick Crunkleton, bartender at and owner of The Crunkleton