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.
“Japanese whisky is incredibly popular right now, and the Taketsuru is affordable and not too difficult to find, which is a rare combination for Japanese whisky these days. You can use this one for sipping and mixing, if you’re so inclined.”—Jamie Boudreau, owner of and bartender at Seattle's Canon
“A benchmark Irish whiskey for sure and a step above the regular 12-year-old, this has consistently beat out other big hitters that are much more expensive in numerous blind tastings I've held and couldn't agree more with the result. Keep an eye out for this over the holidays.”—Jordan Joseph, bar manager at Raleigh, N.C.'s Centro and Gallo Pelón
Mixing your cocktail