Bartenders Pick The Best Bottles Of Bourbon For National Bourbon Day


The summer is full of food and drink related holidays. Some of them are less important (we’re looking at you National Tapioca Day), but others deserve a whole week instead of just one measly day. The latter includes National Bourbon Day (June 14th). Celebrated this Friday, the holiday is a love letter to Kentucky’s native spirit (although it doesn’t need to be made in The Blue Grass State).

The sweet, corn-fueled, aged spirit is perfectly suited for sharing a glass (or three) with friends and family around a summer campfire or mixed into a refreshing highball. Just like you, bartenders will be celebrating the holiday and they were nice enough to tell us which bourbons they’d be sipping on.


Cari Hah, bar manager at Big Bar in Los Angeles

Legent Whiskey is my favorite bourbon to drink this summer. Legent is a really amazing collaboration whiskey between Fred Noe, the master distiller of Jim Beam and Shinji Fukuyo, the master blender of Suntory Whisky. It has every yummy flavor that is associated with good bourbon but in a more nuanced, elegant, subtle flavor profile that I love in Suntory whisky.

It is perfect for summer drinking!


Daniel King, beverage director at Butchertown Hall in Nashville

Is it an option to say that I don’t usually drink bourbon in the summertime? Honestly, though, bourbon is bourbon no matter what time of year for me. If I’m going to sip bourbon, it’s going to be Willett.

Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon

Josh Cameron, head bartender at Boulton & Watt in New York City

This summer, in addition to my year around go-to Russell’s Reserve, I am drinking the Texas-born, straight shooting, and strong, Garrison Brothers Bourbon. I’m loyal to Kentucky and have had a few Texas whiskeys that I would never recommend, so I was surprised when my buddy offered me a taste of their flagship. Bold, strong, and like the best bourbons, without apology.


Brock Schulte, bar director at The Monarch Cocktail Bar & Lounge in Kansas City

My favorite is probably Blanton’s. I like whiskey on a large, perfect ice cube; Blanton’s is — ounce for ounce — an industry standard in regard to flavor and price point. If I can’t find a bottle, I’m no stranger to Weller Special Reserve, Antique 107 or 12 year.

Elmer T. Lee