High-end bottles of bourbon and scotch can command thousands of dollars on the open market. Wealthy enthusiasts might be able to justify such purchases, but most have to be content with far more affordable spirits.
Fortunately, there are some fantastic liquors to buy and serve at just about every price point. Reviews and guides found on sites like Alcohol Professor make it easy to discover spirits that can make for memorable celebrations on a budget. Serve any of the following inexpensive liquors at your next party, and your guests will be impressed.
1. Evan Williams Black Label Bourbon
Bourbon is unique among spirits in needing to be aged, by definition, in freshly charred barrels. Give liquor even a few years of close proximity to recently carbonized wood and it will acquire plenty of character.
Combined with careful regulation of the variety, that allows the bourbon to deliver a lot of flavour for a low price. The black-labelled version of Evan Williams easily outperforms more expensive peers when mixed with just about anything.
2. Flor de Cana Rum
Plenty of people appreciate the clean, refreshing taste of rum made from sugar cane. It is also possible to enjoy rum blessed with a lot more character without breaking the bank.
Flor de Cana is made using molasses, a heavier source of sweetness that contributes buckets of personality to the finished product. The company’s four-year-old rum is a consistent favourite of knowledgeable bartenders on a budget.
3. Starr Blu Vodka
Although it does not have the complexity of a legendary vodka like Stolichnaya, Starr Blu mixes very well in any common kind of cocktail. Extensive filtering leaves this spirit so transparent and agreeable that it should never meet with a negative reception.
4. Cutty Sark Blended Scotch
Scotch can be expensive, especially when aged for many years. Cutty Sark is a simply blended scotch that represents the genre well, and at a low price point, without exposing any rough edges.
5. Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon
Bourbon is one of the best spirits to enjoy neat, and Wild Turkey 101 is the perfect budget-level pick for this type of presentation. Strong enough to stand up to a splash of water, this well-aged bourbon punches far above its price point.
6. El Destilador Tequila
Interest in higher-end tequilas has been rising steadily for many years. El Destilador gives a feeling for how high distilled agave can soar without a lofty price.
7. Tanqueray No. Ten Gin
Tanqueray’s standard gin has been a mass-market favourite for many years. Paying a bit more for its more rarefied No. Ten sibling makes even more sense.
8. E&J VSOP Brandy
Costing so little that it is often reserved for cooking, American-made E&J VSOP brandy is actually a fine tipple. Some blind tests have even seen it coming out ahead of far more expensive cognacs like Hennessy.
9. Old Overholt Rye Whiskey
Rye whiskey used to be the most popular type of all in North America. Old Overholt reveals why and has a price that makes nostalgia affordable.
10. Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey
There are a couple of much better-known Irish whiskeys, but Tullamore delivers more for the money. Tasty enough to enjoy neat, Tullamore D.E.W. will also happily liven up a cup of coffee.
All ten of these widely available liquors stand tall without carrying especially high price tags. Budget-minded hosts can be sure that guests will enjoy drinking any of these spirits at a gathering of any kind.