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Escape The Winter Doldrums With These Warming Bourbons

Let’s face it, January is a real bummer of a month. All the excitement of the holidays is over and the weather (in general) is pretty bleak. Also, it gets dark at like 4 p.m., which is depressing. But all those hours shrouded in darkness do offer one perk: more time to enjoy bourbon. (As if we really need another reason to drink whiskey.)

“Buffalo trace. Four roses single barrel. High West American prairie. Hudson bourbon. It’s hard for me to pick just one bourbon for staying warm in January,” says Elliot Clark, Apartment Bartender on Instagram. “I have so many different bourbon whiskeys in my apartment that I usually just snag one off the shelf and pour it up.”

We share Clark’s sentiment to some degree, but we definitely prefer those bourbons that offer a long, warming final note this time of year. To figure out which bottles fit the season, we asked some of our favorite bartenders to call out their go-to bourbons for dealing with the late-January slog.

Horse Soldier Straight Bourbon

Dean Hurst, mixologist at Berns Steakhouse in Tampa Bay, Florida

Horse Soldier Straight Bourbon is both delicious and has a great backstory. A big flavor profile from the time you open the bottle to the last drop in the glass.

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength

Rob Guimaraes, manager at Etch in Nashville

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength. Although only recently introduced to it, I found the extra kick of heat to actually wonderfully counter-balance the typically creamier wheated style of Maker’s; at right around 113 proof (depending on the batch) it also qualifies as one I’d expect to capably “warm me up”.

Weller Antique 107

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#wellerbourbon #wellerantique107 #bourbon #goodbourbon

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Natasha DeHart, founder and master blender of BENDT Distilling Company in Lewisville, Texas

I’ve been drinking a lot of Weller this winter and haven’t been disappointed yet. The Antique 107 and Full Proof are generally my favorites, but they’re all delicious. We’ve also been checking out a number of local Texas bourbons and have been impressed with the whiskey our industry colleagues are making. Our whiskey collection is out of hand, so we’re constantly adding/swapping bottles to mix it up and try new releases.

Evan Williams Bottled in Bond

Seth Weinberg, head bartender at Bourbon Steak in Nashville

Evan Williams Bottled in Bond is a great value for sipping. It might be the only Bottled in Bond Bourbon that retails for less than $15. Bottled in Bond are legally 50% ABV and aged at least 4 years, so that is a lot of bang for your buck.

Elijah Craig Small Batch

Christopher Longoria, beverage director at Che Fico in San Francisco

Elijah Craig Small Batch. Because of its versatility. It’s a little spicy, a little dry, a little sweet, has a little heat, can be drunk neat or over. And works great in cocktails. It’s been my go-to bourbon for years.

W.L. Weller 12 Year

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A great pour on an icy, snowy night. #bourbon #weller12

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Sarah Briggs, beverage director at Renata in Portland, Oregon

W.L. Weller 12 Year. If I’m going to drink a bourbon neat, this is the bottle I grab. But, with a bit of a cult following, it’s a hard bottle to keep on the back bar. So, it’s more of a home bar bottle. This bourbon is exceptionally smooth thanks to the wheated mash and 12 years in oak, not to mention minimally allocated so grab a bottle if you can find it.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof

Jamal Granger, Bartender at The Williamsburg Hotel in Brooklyn, New York

You couldn’t refill my glass quick enough with Elijah Craig Barrel Proof. Eminently smooth, it is the perfect bourbon to use in an old fashioned.

Noah’s Mill

Evan Moore, beverage director at Cut DC in Washington, D.C.

Noah’s Mill, it is very rich & chocolaty but still very traditional. The mouth-coating texture and complexity make it perfect for winding down in a cold winter evening. Also shows nicely with a touch of spring water or a big ice cube, so its very versatile.

EH Taylor Barrel Proof

James Sharp, bar manager at Cross-Eyed Critters in Nashville

I have to go for the EH Taylor Barrel Proof. A few drops of water really transforms the taste into a perfect sipping whiskey. On extremely cold nights, drink it neat to stay nice and toasty.

Angel’s Envy

Yotam Bloom, beverage manager at Refinery Rooftop in New York City

I am a big fan lately of Angels Envy. The history behind this bourbon was enough for me to give it a try and I was hooked from the first sip. The combination of being aged in American Oak and Ruby Port Wine casks results in a rich and smooth bourbon that is perfect for my palate. I prefer to sip this neat so that you can get the full taste of its fruit flavor notes mixed with its vanilla aroma. Angels Envy is a must-try! If you are a new bourbon drinker this is the perfect light bourbon to taste.

Michter’s

Chris Amirault, bartender at Otium in Los Angeles

I’m a huge fan of Michter’s right now. I recently toured their operation in Kentucky this past Fall and I can’t say enough about how impressed I was with their facilities and product. It has a beautiful dark chocolate note that brings me back for more every time.

Buffalo Trace

Wade McElroy, director of food and beverages at Fieldhouse Jones in Nashville

Depending on the style of cocktail I’m making, I often go with bonded bourbons. For all-purpose mixing, I think Buffalo Trace is the standard.

Belle Meade

Jill Bulmash, lead mixologist at Monk’s Flask in Asheville, North Carolina

I’d have to go with Belle Meade. Simply, it’s a sweet, smooth, lovely small-batch bourbon and has a cool family history going back to pre-prohibition times.

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