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.
“I think Four Roses Yellow is one of the very best values in the bourbon market: warm with corn, rye, vanilla and a touch of apple. Straightforwardly lovely on its own, it is also a daily choice for cocktails.”—David Moo, owner of Quarter Bar
“Henry McKenna 10-year-old single-barrel bonded bourbon is priced low enough to mix in cocktails yet delicious enough to sip by itself. This could be the only bourbon needed for home bars.”—Gary Patrick Crunkleton, bartender at and owner of The Crunkleton
“It’s a great product from the Willett family and a great price for a 12-year-old bourbon. It has a nice mild sweetness that’s backed up with a slight spice and woody note.”—James Bolt, beverage director and host bartender at The Gin Joint
“Higher-proof wheated bourbon. Fruit, caramel and enough spice and tannins. If you can’t get Van Winkle, don’t worry—there’s Weller and it’s cheaper.”—Ramon Garcia, lead bartender at Alchemist Bar & Lounge