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 an alphabetical list, not a ranking. Prices are averages and can vary from state to state.
Hibiki Japanese Harmony ($96)
“This gorgeous bottle is such a delicate whisky with a little bit of floral and rosemary. I enjoy mine over a large cube of ice.”—Ryan Schaeffer, operational bartender at Four Corners bars in Chicago
Ichiro Malt & Grain ($108)
“It’s high-quality whisky with a lot of layers—great neat or on the rocks.”—Sondre Kasin, principal bartender at Undercote in New York City
Teeling 24 Year Old Single Malt ($500)
“The first time an Irish whiskey—you know, the people that invented whiskey—won the World's Best Single Malt. Only 1,000 bottles were made, but for that special person, a special once-in-a-lifetime bottle is worth that extra effort.”—Nathaniel Smith, creative director of bar and drinks at Travail Kitchen and Amusements in Minneapolis
The Yamazaki 12 Year ($229)
“I know this it is hard to get and might even be a little overexposed at this point, but don't overthink it, it's wonderful stuff. If you're lucky enough to spot it on the shelves, buy two and keep one for yourself.”—Sean Hoard, bar director at The Mighty Union in Portland, Ore.Continue to 5 of 5 below.