I ran across this great recession worthy article on the Chow website. They asked several spirit experts for their recommendations on the top 10 good, cheap liquors. The experts provided inside information for great picks for $20 or under. And better yet the criteria stated that it couldn’t come in an easy-grip plastic bottle. This is fantastic advice if you are having a cocktail party and are going to be mixing liquor with additives or just want to provide liquor on a budget. Without further ado, here it is (drumroll) the top ten.
1. Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey (about $13). Adam Lantheaume, the owner of Boston Shaker store, says this rye is excellent, even in a spirit forward drink like a Manhattan.
2. Rain Organics Vodka (about $15). Rain has silly packaging, but A.J. Rathbun, author of Good Spirits, says the vodka “is clear and had a good, clean taste,” although he says to avoid the flavored versions.
3. Flor de Cana Black Label Rum (about $18). For nearly the same price as a bottle of Bacardi, you can pick up a bottle of aged Nicaraguan rum with much more complex flavors.
4. Wild Turkey Bourbon (about $20). Daniel Hyatt, the bar manager of the Alembic in San Francisco, says this bourbon has always been a great product for the price.
5. Milagro Silver Tequila (about $20) It can be hard to find a good bargain amoung 100 percent agave tequilas. Charles Joly, chief mixologist at the Drawing Room in Chicago, recommends Milagro because it’s authentic, versatile and delicious.
6. Beefeater London Dry Gin (about $18). The Alembic’s Daniel Hyatt says this is a classically flavored, well-made London dry gin: “They’ve been in the game a long time.”
7. Rittenhouse 100 Proof Rye (about $14). This whiskey, according to the Drawing Room’s Charles Joly, “stacks up against brands two to three times the cost.” Just make sure you get the 100 proof.
8. W.L. Weller Special Reserve (about $16) Good Spirits author A. J. Rathbun says this seven-year-old boubon has a smooth, full taste and is great for cocktails.
9. Famouse Grouse Finest (about $20) Hyatt calls this classic blended whisky a great Scotch that’s easy to drink on its own but “has enough malt and strength to mix a cocktail with, should you desire.”
10. Lunazul Tequila (about $18). This 100 percent agave tequila is what Toby Malone of Chicago’s Violet Hour says that both the blanco and reposado are good, and “for the price point I’ve never found better.”