The Best Bang-For-Your-Buck Bourbons For End-Of-Winter Drinking


I believe the great orator Homer Simpson summed up this portion of winter best when he said, “Lousy Smarch weather.” March marks the beginning of the end of this abysmal winter. But even though spring will be here in a matter of weeks, we still have a long, chilly, way to go before we can hand in our winter hats, parkas, and boots in favor of boardies, tank tops, and flip-flops. Fear not, bourbon is here to help you forget that spring is still a few weeks away. And you don’t even need to spend your whole paycheck to buy a bottle of great juice. You can afford a nice sipper without much worry if you know where to look.

We asked some of our favorite bartenders to tell us their go-to bang-for-your-buck bourbons for winter 2019 consumption.

Bulleit Bourbon

Nick Canteenwalla, restaurant Manager at Honey Salt at Parq in Vancouver

“Bulleit Bourbon ($28) is definitely a personal favorite of mine. Priced at around $35 Canadian, you get exceptional value for your dollar. I like how it has a higher rye content than a lot of other bourbons, giving you a nice spicy bold flavor profile.”

Mellow Corn

Stephen “Scuba” Underhill, bar manager at Tipsy Alchemist in Dallas

“What’s my go-to budget bourbon for winter sipping? Mellow Corn (and Heaven Hill). It doesn’t get much simpler and cheaper than that.”

Evan Williams Single Barrel

Felipe Ojeda, beverage director at The ScapeGoat in Miami

“In my opinion, one of the best sipping whiskies is Evan Williams Single Barrel bourbon. You can get this bourbon for about $25, which is pretty affordable. It’s both nutty and smooth, and at 43.3% ABV it’s not too alcoholic but still has a kick. It’s a single barrel expression so it has a lot of character worth enjoying with a good cigar.”

Old Forester

Melinda Cooper, bartender at Brasserie by Niche in St. Louis

“No doubt, Old Forester is my favorite budget bourbon. I have some dear friends who turned me on to the stuff on my first trip to Louisville years ago and I’ve been a super fan ever since. Ice cubes optional — Old Fo doesn’t need anything at all to be delicious. At an average of $20 for a 750ml, it’s a hell of a bargain for a really solid drink.”

Hudson Baby Bourbon

Nikki McCutcheon, Beverage director at Moxy Times Square Hotel in New York City

“What’s my favorite budget bourbon for winter sipping? I love Hudson Baby Bourbon, it’s a great product and it’s locally made upstate NY.”

Buffalo Trace

Daniel Condliffe, bartender at JSix in San Diego

“What’s my go-to budget bourbon? Buffalo Trace is pretty readily available most places and is a common go-to for most cocktail bars well bourbon. At around $25, it’s great.”

Old Grand Dad

Casey Lyons, bartender at Pacific Hideaway in Huntington Beach, California

“Old Grand Dad. Spicy, bright, bottled in bond and named after master distiller Basil Hayden by his Grandson. Throw it between two expensive eyes during a tasting and watch your friends lose their minds. During prohibition, it was sold medicinally because of its high proof — making it one of the few distilleries that weren’t shut down during that period.”

Evan Williams Bottled In Bond

Meredith Barry, beverage manager at Grand Tavern by David Burke in St. Louis

“What’s my go-to budget bourbon for winter sipping? Evan Williams Bottled In Bond. Super affordable and tastes like a Snickers bar.”

Tin Cup

Kevin Ferguson, beverage manager at the Wrigley Mansion in Phoenix

“What’s my go-to budget bourbon? Tin Cup costs around $25.00 – an American Whiskey from Colorado that’s made in a bourbon style. Old Forester is about $19.00 (if the requirement needs to be from Bourbon County).”

Old Weller Antique 107

Brock Schulte, bar director at The Monarch in Kansas City

“I generally drink Rittenhouse Rye 100, but if I’m drinking bourbon it is Heaven Hill when I can find it, or Old Weller Antique 107, a high proof wheated bourbon that shines with flavor and has a nice backbone.”

Old Grandad 114

Jack Keane, bartender at Sundry and Vice in Cincinnati

“What’s my go-to budget bourbon? Oh, that’s a tough one – we love Old Grandad 114 or Old Grandad Bonded. Old Bardstown Bottled and Bond is great and an approachable price point as well.”