What's better on a cold winters day to talk about warming your socks off with some whiskey?! Those who know me well, know my appreciation for a good bottle of whiskey of the bourbon variety. My love for the bourbon began with Jack Daniels just before moving to university, treble whiskey & cokes became my drink on a Friday night at the student union. My move to the US has renewed my interest in exploring and finding out more about my favorite liquor. So iI thought I would share a couple of my American favorites from the last year. Most of these bottles are in the $20 - $30 price range for a 750ml bottle - while you can use any of them as a cocktail mixer - all are perfect for serving and enjoying on the rocks. We're trying to act a little grown up here.
Sadly whiskey is still seen as a bit of a man's drink - only a third of whiskey drinkers in the UK are women, where the white spirits (rum, vodka) within cocktails still reign. Whiskey is often considered too strong, people turn their noses up, it's unfeminine. For me, whiskey drinking is an experience, it's not a drink you can just down (well you could) you slip, you inhale the alluring scent, you get taken in. Whiskey is bold, you can smell it, taste it, feel it's heat. That's what I love about it. But us girls don't need to be scared of it, it shouldn't be seen as a man's drink.
So where to start?!
So let's start with an old favorite, everyone knows Jack, he's been around a while, is going well, student favorite - probably your first introduction to the spirit (he was mine), stands strong and in honesty is a perfectly fine go to bourbon. Stick with Jack and he's fine to use in your coke but not one I opt for drinking straight.
Makers MarkA littler pricer than Jack Daniels it's worth the investment although you're probably just paying for the fancy wax seal this bottle has (yes really). This bourbon is of the wheat variety - and one we started off the year with, to be honest, it's okay for just a go to whiskey - you get what you pay for - a light, predictable bourbon.
The fancy bottle is one of the plus factors with Eagle Reserve - tall slender and finished off with a cork. It's fancier somewhat than the bourbon itself which is certainly the most sweet of all these straight varieties, and while it's smooth it still packs plenty of punch. While I'd buy it again, it wouldn't be my go to bourbon no matter how impressive the cork is.
Wild Turkey (with honey)
Now I've been hearing about these honey bourbons for a while, not being a particularly big fan of honey I opted never to try them. Well that was a mistake, honey in a whiskey is divine. This bourbon knocks off your traditional assumptions of a bourbon, it doesn't even have the strong bourbon smell - instead one that's fruity. It's smooth, it's very sweet and perfect for both on the rocks, hot toddies and cocktails - the honey taste adds that something special. If you aren't a fan of the strong whiskey's this will be a good bet.
Bulleit RyeBecause I ended up drinking the aforementioned Turkey Hill rather quickly, we managed to sneak in a cheeky whiskey purchase to round off the year. I'll be honest in admitting i've never heard of rye whiskey but everything whiskey related is worth trying once. Rye whiskey turns out to be one that's similar to scotch but would happily please a bourbon drinker. It's smooth, so very smooth, leans to traditional scotch but lighter, sweeter (not to the full extent of a bourbon) with a spicy (due to the rye) kick. It's perfect for enjoying on the rocks or just a little dash of water or ginger ale. Don't go looking for a complex whiskey here, it's not, it's understated but delicious - it does what it needs to perfectly. This whiskey bottle is not going to last long at all and for $26, it's my hit of the year.
Even as I write these I can see my tastes have developed and changed across the year - you can tell that through the brand names and the varieties. With there being so many varieties out there you can take your time investigating and finding out which one(s) suit your tastes and needs (if you need a mixer stick with Jack, love whiskey on the rocks invest in Bulleit Rye or if you love everything - Wild Turkey with honey).
What's your take on whiskey? Love? Hate? Care to share your favorite?
Final word that all whiskey's expensive and inexpensive should all be drink responsibly and in moderation.