The Best Bottled In Bond Whiskeys To Drink This Summer

If you’ve ever browsed the aisles of your local liquor store (or favorite delivery service), there’s a pretty good chance you’ve seen the words “bottled in bond” printed on various bottles of whiskey, or not. It might be a phrase that gets lost amongst the various lines of information already on the whiskey’s label. Well, it means the whiskey was matured and bottled based on the U.S. government’s Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 which guarantees the whiskey inside is authentic and unchanged.

It’s also a whiskey from only one distilling season and from a single distillery. It must be aged at least four years, bottled at a potent 100 proof, and must have been matured in a federally bonded warehouse. These regulations are all well and good, but honestly, we don’t care about the legalese. The most important thing is that bottled in bond whiskeys are high proof and high quality.

“’Bottled in bond’ is bourbon’s equivalent to a single malt scotch,” says Melissa Reigle, beverage manager and head bartender at Byblos in Miami. And, since this is a fairly common whiskey style, we figured it would behoove us to ask the professionals for help. That’s why we asked some of our favorite bartenders to tell us the best bottle in bond whiskeys to drink this summer.

Evan Williams Bottled in Bond

Bill Myers, bartender at Kimpton Brice Hotel in Savannah, Georgia

I’m going to share a little industry secret here. Evan Williams bottled-in-bond bourbon by Heaven Hill is good, and it typically will run you about $15 a bottle. This isn’t the liquid that you’re going to impress your friends or coworkers with when you pull it out of your cabinet, but there’s not much to argue about a good product at that price point.

Henry McKenna 10 Year Bottled In Bond

Stephen George, beverage director at 20|Twenty in Carlsbad, California

Henry McKenna 10 Year Single Barrel B.I.B. is quite the treat from Heaven Hill Distillery. There’s a great depth of flavor that you can only get from a thoughtful aging process. This award-winning bourbon is still reasonably priced, and you can actually get your hands on a bottle.

Ragtime Rye Bottled in Bond

Sondre Kasin, principal bartender at Cote in New York City

New York Distilling Company Ragtime Rye Bottled in Bond is my favorite bonded whiskey at the moment. New York Distilling Company makes delicious whiskeys that are often clean and well balanced in style. For summer, you want to sit back and enjoy a high-quality whiskey that is easy to drink and has a good price point.

Old Forester 1897 Bottled in Bond

Jennifer Jackson-Keating, co-owner of Island Culture Tiki Bar in Pensacola, Florida

Old Forester 1897 Bottled in Bond Whiskey is a sweet, bold, 100 proof whiskey that was America’s first bottled bourbon. Named after the U.S. “Bottled in Bond” Act to protect product quality, Old Forester has been producing award-winning bourbon since it was introduced in 1870. It was recently awarded the Silver Medal at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirit Competition.

Old Fitzgerald 15 Year Bottled In Bond

Zach Stout, beverage manager at Clark & Bourbon in St. Louis

Old Fitzgerald is another wheated bourbon. Wheated bourbons offer something different than rye-based bourbons. There is a sweeter note with wheat. When it is backed by 50 percent alcohol, the balance you get packs a full-flavored punch. It’s one of my personal favorites and it won’t be around for long. Old Fitzgerald is releasing one batch of this Bottled in Bond series a year and they sell very quickly.

Heaven Hill Bottled In Bond

Jonathan Cunningham, bar manager at Husk in Greenville, South Carolina

This late 2019 release has notes of leather and tobacco. And at around $35 a bottle is a total steal.

1792 Bottled in Bond

Eva Al-Gharaballi, bartender at Datz Restaurant Group in Tampa, Florida

1792 Bottled in Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey sets the standard for bottled in bond bourbons. A very elegant whiskey that reaches all quality standards with a caramel and coffee finish. This whiskey will impress even the toughest whiskey snobs.

Old Grand-Dad Bonded

Hayden Miller, head bartender at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila in Miami

Old Grand-Dad Bonded 100 proof is a classic that you might need to revisit. The proof will help remind you there’s definitely bourbon in that glass.

Evan Williams Bottled in Bond

Melissa Reigle, beverage manager and head bartender at Byblos in Miami

Evan Williams Bottled in Bond is a phenomenal value. Comparable to the award-winning Henry McKenna (without the age statement), this is a $20 substitute from the same distillery and much easier to find. If that isn’t enough, Evan Williams has programs that actively support American military veterans. So, enjoy this bourbon on the Fourth of July, on a lake, by the pool, and on the sand all summer long, and on a budget and feel good about it.

Writer’s Pick:

George Dickel Bottled in Bond

This 11-year-old bottle in bond whiskey from Tennessee’s George Dickel is full of honey sweetness along with crisp green apple, pecan pie, and rich caramel. Also, it’s 100 proof and you’d never know it because it’s surprisingly mellow and easy to sip.