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Mar 18, 2014

An Excellent Bargain Bottle: Our Pick for the Best Budget Liquor

created at: 03/18/2014Like many things, the world of spirits and liquor is a spectrum. On one end, there's the only-there-for-ABV stuff that college kids drink, on the other, the collections and high-end bottles of fine connoisseurs, with plenty of options in between. And while there are the days when something special is the only way to go, there are also plenty of time when you want a budget bottle that works: something for mixing, something to bring to a party, or a good-enough bottle to share with guests.    

So, here's my pick for the best budget bottle: Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey. 

created at: 03/18/2014

At the store around the corner from my house, this retails for $15.89. And? It's delicious. It's got a nice rye flavor with plenty of spice and can stand up to being mixed in a cocktail but is pleasant enough to sip neat. It's distilled, bottled, and aged at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, Kentucky.

Of course, I'm not saying its the best whiskey out there. It can be a little thin, like it comes pre-splashed with water...which is fine with me, cause whiskey should have a little splash of water. But for under $16.00, it's a no brainer. I'd even say it's my favorite whiskey under $20. It works particularly well with cola, in an Old Fashioned, or a Manhattan, which I say should always be made with rye, not bourbon. But it beats the pants off certain best-selling whiskeys with white and black labels that are named after their original distillers, and costs a bit less as well. 

It's also very widely available, likely one of the few rye whiskeys you can find almost anywhere. So, next time you're headed to gathering or are having someone over that will drink whiskey cocktails if you make them but would never order one out, grab a bottle or two to share.

Learn more at its site: Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey 

 

 

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This was my go-to rye back in IL, but now living in CO, I have been unable to find a bottle for under $20, and it's usually closer to $25. Wish I knew why. I still buy it when I've a dearth of rye in my bar, but I can tell you... I don't feel happy about it.

@Johnny - I am a bourbon man, and I appreciate the Weller Special Reserve quite a bit... It costs more like $21-22.00 where I live. Interesting how much of a difference your region can make.

@Mara - Right?! Right. I actually really, really like the Bulleit Rye for drinking neat, but think the Overholt works better in a highball or cocktail at 65% of the price.

@David - Sure. That glass is from Crate & Barrel. They're a great resource since you can buy pieces individually, so you don't have to get four or eight of every style. I have a box of singles I use for photos and posts like these, though I have six of that glass (and six of the 16oz tall version) for everyday use. 

Can I ask where you got your rocks glasses? It seems impossible now to find Old Fashioned glassware in the classic style. 

I read this post HOPING that you would mention Overholt!  We were turned onto Old Overholt at the Conor Byrne in Ballard, Seattle and I have never found a rye I enjoy more.  Actually, I'm always slightly disappointed when a bar carries the more expensive yet less delicious Bullet or (Ri)1.  Bartenders at some of the West Coast's most respected establishments (Tarpit in Los Angeles, Liberty in Seattle, and many many more) agree that this is quite possibly the best rye on the market, despite its low pice.  Cheers!

I'll throw another entry in the ring if you are more a bourbon man.  W.L. Weller Special Reserve can almost always be had for < $15.

 

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