What do you drink when the typical bourbon or Scotch seems a bit too, well, bland?
From the crazy, but expected likes of salmon and bacon vodkas to the more cringe-inducing bottles like honey-flavored Scotch and maple bourbon, some drinkers fawn over wacky bottlings—and flavored whiskey seems to be quickly surpassing vodka when it comes to creativity.
Consider Fireball Cinnamon Whisky. The Canadian spirit’s fan base is spreading like wildfire across the U.S. Despite a recent controversial recall, sales of the whisky tripled from 2012 to 2013 and Fireball’s skyrocketing popularity has inspired some of the country’s biggest brands to follow suit with their own take on the spicy spirit.
But, oh, there are so very many other crazily flavored whiskeys out there.
Whiskey distilled from oatmeal stout? It’s a beer lover’s dream. Corsair Distillery is known for playing with off-the-wall ingredients in seasonal and purely experimental batches (the distillery also has a quinoa whiskey and a hop-flavored whiskey in its lineup). But this is certainly one of the most intriguing options. Hopefully it will be deemed worthy enough to be introduced to the regular lineup of spirits.
This might be a first. Like other brands of its kind, Virgil Kaine claims a storied, illicit past. But this “bootlegger bourbon” brand produces three spirits, a High Rye Bourbon, a rye whiskey and, oddly, a Ginger Infused Bourbon. Supposedly, the ginger used to flavor the bourbon comes from local farmers and there’s even a “hint of vanilla” in the mix. As long as it’s sufficiently spicy, perhaps it’s worth a try.
If you love root beer, you’ll probably love this whiskey from Jeremiah Weed. The brand loves flavoring liquor as non-alcoholic beverages, making everything from a Country Peach Sweet Tea Vodka to a sweet tea–flavored bourbon-vodka blend. This particular bottling is made with sarsaparilla root, which might bring back childhood memories of the A&W soda fountain.
Shut your pie hole! Or, rather, open it. While the flavors in these bottles may be a blatant bastardization of your grandma’s homemade pies, the super sexy pin-up girls on the labels will help ease any misgivings. The line includes Cherry Pie, Pecan Pie and Apple Pie. These are shooters, not sippers.
One of the brands capitalizing on Fireball’s success, Jack Daniels’ brand new Tennessee Fire will help to saturate the whiskey market with liquid cinnamon spice. It’s already available in select markets, but will be released fully in the U.S. this spring. To make the whiskey, the brand infuses its Old No. 7 Whiskey with its own cinnamon liqueur. It might be too late, but perhaps Tennessee Fire will give Fireball a red-hot run for its money.
Know how the founding fathers loved to drink? Well, many of those great men had an even greater woman behind the scenes. Case in point: Martha Washington. Her husband may have made the hooch, but she put it to good use in cocktails that hold up even today. This whiskey from pre-Prohibition brand Chicken Cock is inspired by the first First Lady’s own drink called the Cherry Bounce. The whiskey is infused with what the brand calls an “all natural cherry cola flavor.” Maybe true; maybe not. Sure makes a good story.
If October is your favorite month, it probably has something to do with pumpkins. So this moonshine is the moonshine for you. Another of Corsair Distillery’s experiments, this white whiskey plays off what the distillery calls a craft pumpkin beer trend from the late 1890s, which was preceded by a tradition of making beer with other vegetables. All good, as long as it doesn’t taste like a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte.
Mixing your cocktail