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Bartenders Name Warming Whiskeys For The Cold Fall Evenings To Come

Not to be the bearer of (more) bad news, but the carefree (yeah, right), sun-filled days of summer are almost behind us. Fall and its brisk mornings are coming down the track. That means evenings will now be paired with a light jacket or sweatshirt and (hopefully) a glass of whisk(e)y.

While we’re all about dark beers during the autumnal months, there’s nothing quite like a mellow, warming dram of Scotch, bourbon, rye, or Irish whiskey on a cool evening. Especially if you’re still intrepid enough to get a little fire going and sip your drink while the crickets chirp. Since we want to get the most out of our fall drinking experience, we decided to ask some well-known bartenders to tell us their picks for the best whiskeys to warm you up on a chilly fall eve.

Knob Creek Smoked Maple

Reniel Garcia, bar director at Havana 1957 in Miami

Knob Creek Smoked Maple is my fall go-to. As the name suggests, it has a smoky flavor and a perfect touch of maple on the palate. It’s ideal for a cool fall evening.

Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie

Crystal Chasse, beverage director at Talk Story Rooftop in Brooklyn

Scotch is usually my go-to and on a cool night, I’d opt for a smooth drinking Scotch like Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie.

Made in Islay where most Scotches are peated heavily (including many from Bruichladdich), Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie is unpeated, with a silky body and notes of dried fruits and baking spices. It’s the perfect mix for a breezy fall evening.

Johnnie Walker Blue

Marla White, lead bartender at Lona Cocina & Tequilera in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Johnnie Walker, with your choice between the red, black, green, or blue. This whiskey is best served neat and is meant to be sipped — never to be rushed so that you can experience the evolving flavors.

Suntory Toki

Frantjesko Laonora, lead bartender at Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort in Curaçao

Japanese Whisky brand Suntory Toki is a whisky with simple fruity notes and hints of vanilla custard, toasted cereal, and wood spice that will inspire you to come back for more because of the light, refreshing and clean taste.

Kessler Whiskey

Hayden Miller, head bartender at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila in Miami

Kessler may not always live up to its “smooth as silk” tagline for every drinker but to me, it’s a throwback. Autumn sweaters and nostalgia can only be complemented by a bottle tied to memories — pick yours and reminisce.

Jameson Irish Whiskey

Molly Safuto, bartender at Mila Rooftop Bar in Glendale, California

Jameson Irish Whiskey will always be my favorite. From mixing it with ginger ale, to have it on the rocks it reminds me of holidays with my family and warming up by the fireplace.

Woodford Reserve Double Oaked

Mitchell Cochran, bar manager at Shades Bar & Grill in South Walton, Florida

Woodford Reserve Double Oak. It has flavors of caramel, honey, and vanilla it gives a very creamy finish. Great for sipping in cooler weather.

David Nicholson Reserve

Andy Printy, beverage director at Chao Baan in St. Louis

The best whiskey for those cool fall evenings has to be David Nicholson Reserve. Originally an old “store” brand, this is a great high rye bourbon that Lux Row distillers have brought back to life. Punching much softer than the 100 proof on the label would suggest, this features tons of pecan and gingerbread up front and finishes with dry lumber and vanilla.

It’s very light and gently complex, this one is best served neat or just a bit of ice.

Bunnahabhain 18

Brendan Bartley, head bartender and beverage director at Bathtub Gin in New York City

I can recommend one of my guilty pleasures in whisky. Bunnahabhain 18 Year is my poison of choice. Islay is known for making smoky whiskies and very good ones at that. This is one of the best to come out of there, in my opinion. Natural color, no-chill filtration, aged in mainly sherry. It’s a whisky that, given the right environment, will whisper sweet nothings to your soul. Has a load of fruit flavors and baking spice, but also some lighter fruits you might not expect, like pineapple and pomegranate.

It may not be for everyone, but those who like it will love it.

Mister Katz’s Rock & Rye

Max Stampa-Brown, beverage director at Borrachito in New York City

Mister Katz’s Rock & Rye from New York Distilling Company is sweet and comforting. Lots of tobacco and husk cherry going on. I would gladly cozy up with a Manhattan made with this juice. A Manhattan with Mister Katz’s tastes like a damn sunset.

Sazerac Rye

Gavin Humes, bartender at Scratch | Bar & Restaurant in Encino, California

My favorite cocktail in the world is a beautifully made Sazerac. When I’m sipping one of those on one of the few cool fall evenings we have here in California, I’m reaching for the Sazerac Rye. It’s a fantastic pairing with the Peychaud’s bitters, and just makes an excellent Sazerac. It’s delicious neat as well.

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