Whiskey is bliss. Mix it with a little soda and create a smooth operating highball. Add bitters and sugar and you’ve got the classic Old Fashioned. You can take it down in a shot glass with a beer chaser and feel the delightful dizziness take hold. Or drink it with rocks like Draper. Or savor it with a tiny dram of water, in true connoisseur style.
Point being, whiskey is one of the best in the drinks world. Argument is futile. And with the spirit’s resurgence over the past decade, it’s gone from bargain basement pricetags to price points which, at times, boggle the mind (we’re looking at you, Pappy Van Winkle — we love you but a couple grand for a bottle is pushing our love to its limits).
Here’s the good news: Cheap whiskey is not always bad whiskey. Sure, more refined distilling and filtering will sand off the spirit’s rougher edges, but when it comes to genres like bourbon, the rules are already so strict on production that there are very small differences between a standard bottle of Jim Beam and bottle of, say, Bulleit (besides marketing).
We thought we’d look at the bottles available on the market for under $20. Some great bottles don’t make the cut but are very, very close. Jack Daniel’s is just above that price point, as is Jameson. The bottles that did come in under $20 are all perfectly serviceable and drinkable. You won’t find any artificially sweetened whiskeys here. Sorry Fireball fans.
If you’re mixing drinks, shaking up some cocktails, or just looking to Irish-up a cup of coffee, then these are the whiskeys to keep on the shelf.
Canadian Club Blended Canadian Whisky
Canadian Club is where a lot of us started our whisky journeys back in the day. The price point was always accessible. The “Canadian” branding made us feel like international jet-setters. And it got us very drunk for cheap. On the whole, this whisky always works wonders with a Coke, Sprite, or soda water.
There’s a sharpness to the alcohol here, so you’re not gonna want to drink this one neat (unless you got a tall boy chaser handy). Still, at less than 15 bucks a bottle, you could do far worse than a bottle of CC.
Buy it here for $13.99.