Stocking a bar for a get together with some close friends is a tricky task. There are thousands of bottles of booze out there to choose from. We’re here to help you make the right choices, in this case, with five essential bottles of bourbon to have on hand.
Bourbon is a crowd-pleasing elixir born of corn and oak aging. It’s also surprisingly versatile. The finer stuff is great on its own, the cheaper pours are ideal for mixing up tasty cocktails. The five bourbons below offer a range of interpretations of the style. The throughline here is that they’re all good-to-great, relatively affordable, and discussion-worthy making them perfect party bottles to pop.
BELLE MEADE BOURBON
Belle Meade is a classic brand that came back to life under the Nelson’s Green Brier shingle out in Tennessee. Yes, this is a Tennessee-made bourbon and it’s goddamn delicious, making it the perfect “welcome to the party” sip to hand guests as they walk in the door.
Tasting Notes: This small batch whiskey — only four barrels are made a time — leans heavily into the corn and rye. That corn gives off a rich caramel sweetness that’s bolstered by classic bourbon oaky vanilla and hints of orange zest. Then the rye kicks in at the backend with notes of worn leather, black pepper, pine, and a nice allspice essence. This is a smooth whiskey that opens up the palate with a nice alcohol kick.