Oh whiskey… For some it sparks joyful memories, but for others it cause horrific flashbacks to when they tried to sneak a sip out of Uncle Franks flask. Even if that isn’t what happened to you I ask that you don’t give up on whiskey quite yet. You probably just haven’t tried the right one.
There are many kinds of whiskey out there, but I am only going to focus on the three I feel are best for beginners. Once you have developed a taste for whiskey I would recommend trying out some of the other types like lowlands and Indian. However, for this when it comes to the best whiskey for beginners I really think these 3 categories are best.
Bourbon is traditionally a whiskey that comes from Kentucky (although it can be made anywhere). It is a smooth and sweet whiskey that usually has a strong vanilla taste.
Bourbon is the best starting point if you are wanting to try whiskey. There are many brands at all different price points making it very accessible for everyone.
Now let’s get into what you came here for. What bourbon should you buy? Here are my top recommendations:
Wild Turkey 101
This is absolutely amazing stuff. It’s all about sweet toffee and vanilla notes, and a really well rounded balance. At 50.5 ABV, it properly sings when you use it in mixology.
Buffalo Trace Bourbon
This is a solid, and relatively inexpensive option for anyone looking to take a leap into whiskey. It’s smooth with plenty of sweet toffee flavor. It is also my go to when I want an old fashioned.
Four Roses Single Barrel
This is an inexpensive whiskey that is complex, balanced and easy to sip neat. It is also smooth enough that it is perfect for beginners.
Irish whiskey tends to be smooth, relaxed and rounded, with just a perfect amount of sweetness. Now I’m sure you’ve seen Jameson spread across every bar you’ve ever been to, but that is not where I would recommend starting with with Irish whiskey. Instead give this a try…
Redbreast Irish Whiskey
This is aged in Oloroso sherry barrels, which imparts a rich, nutty flavor reminiscent of the holiday season. With no trace of most well whiskeys’ harsh burn.
This goes great in an Irish Coffee or just neat.
Japanese whisky has seen a increase in popularity over the last few years. Now, they’ve crafted their very own style. It’s a very fruity, smooth and drinkable whisky. Japanese whisky is for people who don’t want the complexity of Scotch, and who instead want something that is easy to drink but with plenty of character.
I only recommend one type of Japanese whiskey.
I absolutely love this whisky. Creamy, fruit, and so well balanced. The 12 year old is more accessible and genuinely representative of what good Japanese whisky is all about.
So if you are looking to get started in the amazing world of whiskey that is where I recommend you start. There is no need to gag down Jack Daniels or pretend to be tough as you sip Jameson with your lads. Instead venture out and find what whiskey you like. If you are looking for the best whiskey for beginners it is important to remember you are the one drinking it. If you ant to add soda then add soda. If you want and old fashioned have one. Quit falling into the traps on the “whiskey experts”. It is meant to be enjoyed, and the only way to do that is to drink it the way you like it.
Beginner Whiskey FAQ
Bourbon is the best for beginners because it is smooth and accessible to everyone. There are a wide range of flavors and prices to fit whatever you’re looking for.
Despite what the whiskey purist say the best way to drink whiskey is the way you like it. If you like it with cola use cola. If you like to add lemon juice or whatever do that. You’re the one drinking it so drink it the way you like.
Wild Turkey 101 is an amazing bourbon that is a great starting point for people wanting to try whiskey. It is super smooth and has a great vanilla flavor.