5 Best Whisky For Cocktails You Need To Try! [UPDATED]

Feb 22, 2023 - Views: 428

Rating: 4.6 - 52Votes

There are many different whiskey brands available on the market right now, and with so many possibilities, picking the best whisky for cocktails might be difficult. 

But don’t worry, we have covered all useful information that you need to know in this post! 

Let’s check it!

Best whisky for cocktails

Best whisky for cocktails

What Is Whisky?

Whisky (sometimes written whiskey) is a golden-colored distilled liquor created from fermented grain (most often rye, wheat, corn, or barley). 

Is there a difference between whisky and whiskey

Do not be misled by the spelling; whiskey is whisky. Whiskey is used for alcohol made in Canada, Scotland, Japan while Whiskey is used in the US, Ireland.

Most whiskeys are matured in hardwood barrels before bottling and contain at least 40% alcohol by volume (ABV). 

There are numerous distinct whisky varieties, which are generally characterized by its origin, grain type, blending procedure, or aging process. 

While the flavor of each whisky differs, the spirit is usually characterized as warm, spicy, sweet, caramelly, or toasted.

Whisky

Whisky

What To Consider Before Buying Whisky?

Look at the key factors stated below to simplify the tips for selecting the best whiskey.

Type of whisky

Scotch whisky is divided into five categories, each with several fantastic options. Some, however, are more constant in their quality than others. 

  • Single malt: This is a single distillery's whiskey manufactured from 100% malted barley. Single malts are lauded as the best quality Scotch whiskey when compared to the other varieties.

  • Single grain: Single grain Scotch whisky is prepared using water and malted barley, as well as whole grains of other malted or unmalted cereals. It is distilled at a single distillery.

  • Blended malt: This whiskey is created in two or more distilleries using 100% malted barley.

  • Blended grain: This is whiskey made from wheat or maize that has been created at two or more distilleries, similar to blended malt.

  • Blended: This is the most popular type of whiskey in the world, a blend of malt whisky and grain whisky from two or more distilleries. 

Below is a comparison for these 5 types:

 

Single malt

Single grain

Blended malt

Blended grain

Blended

Made from

100% malted barley

water and malted barley

100% malted barley

wheat or maize

mix of malt whisky and grain whisky

Produced at

a single distillery

a single distillery

two or more distilleries

two or more distilleries

two or more distilleries

Age statement

If a whiskey does not include an age statement, the liquor is most likely between 3 and 9 years old. 

Unless you are certain that the bottle of young whiskey in front of you is excellent, we would recommend anything 10 years or older.

Tasting notes

Many Scotch whisky bottles offer tasting notes that describe the ingredients (typically separated into 'nose' and 'taste') and serve as a good indication of what to anticipate. 

The more specific the taste notes, the better.

Likewise, if a whiskey is smoky, the words “peat” or “smoke” may often appear on the bottle to emphasize this aspect.

The whiskey will more likely have a meatier, heavier character, with numerous meat and fish terms or “bonfire” in the tasting notes.

Tasting notes

Tasting notes

Alcohol strength

If a whiskey has an ABV of 40-50%, this suggests that water was added before the whisky was bottled. 

51%+ typically indicates that the whiskey is “cask strength”, meaning it was bottled without the addition of additional water. 

Remember that many older cask strength whiskies (25 years or more) may still remain cask-strength even if the ABV falls below 50%.

Artificially colored or chill-filtered

Most Scotch whiskies, even the best, are artificially colored, and many are chill filtered (chill filtering applies to whiskies with less than 46% ABV). 

The addition of caramel coloring (e150) to the whiskey makes it appear darker and hence more attractive. 

Unfortunately, it is not a good indicator of quality.

Artificially colored or chill-filtered

Artificially colored or chill-filtered

Maturation

99% of Scotch whiskey is matured in barrels from other beverage industries, and occasionally a bottle may include details about how it was aged.

American oak nearly always refers to ex-bourbon, which has a character that is lighter and creamier. 

Although the word "sherry casks," which encompasses the names "PX," "Fino," and "Oloroso," is somewhat ambiguous these days, this will likely imply fruitier and tannic tastes.

Best Whisky For Cocktails

Whether you love whiskey neat or in a cocktail, there is certain to be a drink that appeals to you.

If you’re looking for the best whisky-based cocktails, try our recommendations below!

Bulleit Rye

The most of rye whiskey sold today is produced from rye mash, which gives the liquor its distinctively smoky taste.

The taste profile of this high-rye whiskey is rich, with hints of oak, vanilla, and baking spices. 

Yet, while having a strong flavor, it blends well with a variety of components, making it a crucial element for any home mixologist.

Bulleit Rye

Bulleit Rye

Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Cocktails taste great when made with Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Straight Bourbon Whiskey. 

Although having an ABV of 46.5%, it has a taste that is well-rounded and ideal for blending.

It has a distinctive flavor that will stand out in any beverage because of the interwoven layers of buttercream, sticky toffee, cedar, and apricot. 

This bourbon is appropriate for any situation because of the clean spice and charred wood aromas in the finish.

Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Old Forester 1910 Old Fine Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Writers’ Tears Copper Pot Irish Whiskey

In the London International Spirits Challenge, the Irish whiskey Writers' Tears Copper Pot won a gold award.

This whiskey's scent features elements of apple, vanilla, and honey with a pot still foundation. 

Ginger and butterscotch are mildly flavored on the tongue, and there are also toasted wood undertones.

With gentle aromas of milk chocolate and almonds, the finish is lengthy and beautiful.

Also read: How to drink Irish whisky?

Writers’ Tears Copper Pot Irish Whiskey

Writers’ Tears Copper Pot Irish Whiskey

Ardbeg’s Wee Beastie 5-Year Old Single Malt Scotch

If you're wanting to mix scotch drinks, Ardbeg's Wee Beastie 5-Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is a fantastic option.

Its 47.4% ABV, which is greater than that of most scotches on the market, makes it ideal for adding a little additional kick to your drink.

Vanilla, pear, black pepper, and flavors of honeyed ham can be detected in the lively, herbaceous nose. The flavors of chocolate, smoky bacon, eucalyptus, and aniseed are present on the tongue. 

The finish is lengthy and salty, with lingering cocoa and cured meat aromas.

Ardbeg’s Wee Beastie 5-Year Old Single Malt Scotch

Ardbeg’s Wee Beastie 5-Year Old Single Malt Scotch

Nikka Coffey Grain

"Most things from Nikka are delightful," Odien says, and numerous bartenders suggested different bottlings from the producer. 

This Japanese whiskey is a good alternative for bourbon in cocktails; what it lacks in robust oak flavor, it makes up for in subtlety. 

It's reasonably priced for the category and delicious to drink or combine.

Nikka Coffey Grain

Nikka Coffey Grain

Besides that, there are many impressive whiskies for you to try such as Imperial Blue Whisky, Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Hot Toddy…

Factors To Consider When Choosing Whisky For Cocktails

Apart from aesthetics, there are a few additional factors to consider when making the best whisky cocktail recipe.

A whiskey that fits the following criteria is suitable for use in cocktails.

Price

Because you'll be combining it with other components, choose a bottle that costs no more than $30. 

Keep the pricy premium bottles for savoring on your own so the mixer doesn't obscure the whiskey's subtleties.

Pay attention to the price of whiskies

Pay attention to the price of whiskies

Smooth and balanced

You generally don't want to use a whiskey that is highly peaty, smoky, or difficult for novice palates unless it's for a very specific style of cocktail.

Instead, choose a whiskey that will mix well with mixers and be easy to drink.

Light but not watery

A bottle that won't overshadow your mixers is ideal, but you also don't want the mixer to overpower the whiskey. 

Looking for a proof of 80 to 96, or an ABV of 40% to 48%, is a reasonable general rule of thumb.

What To Mix With Whisky?

Are you wondering how to drink whiskey cocktails and mix them? The mixers you use will depend on the drink; however, some of the more well-liked ones for whiskey are as follows:

Things to mix with whisky

Things to mix with whisky

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is the most popular whiskey cocktail?

These are our recommendations for the most popular whiskey cocktail that you need to know:

  • Old Fashioned 

  • Manhattan

  • Whisky Sour

  • Hot Toddy

  • Sazerac

  • Rusty Nail

  • Mint Julep

  • Whisky Highball

2. Is whisky good for cocktails?

Yes, it is. When mixing, they're sweet, sour, spicy, spirit-forward, and fruity. This is definitely something for everyone, even those on the fence about this hot spirit.

3. Is bourbon the same as whisky?

The type of grain used and the location of production are the fundamental distinctions between bourbon and whiskey. 

Bourbon is an American whiskey that must be matured in brand-new, charred-oak barrels and have a minimum corn content of 51%.

Conclusion

Whisky has several benefits such as being a gift, keeping the bar stocked, mixing it with cocktails for new flavor, or just because you like the occasional pleasant sip on a regular basis. After all, we hope that this post on best whisky for cocktails will guide you in the right direction!

Rating: 4.6 - 52Votes

7 Comments

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  1. Violet James

    Violet James

    Some great nuggets of information in this guide

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    1. Barcodelive

      Thanks

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  2. Harrison Ryan

    Harrison Ryan

    Is whisky only used for classic cocktails ?

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    1. Joshua

      Joshua

      Definitely not! Penicillin and Paper Planes are modern classics, just off the top of my head.

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    2. Olive Johnson

      Olive Johnson

      No. Head to one of the sites that offer searching by ingredient(s), and enter either whisky, whiskey, bourbon, rye or scotch. There will be many non-classics to see

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    3. Barcodelive

      It is not only used for classic cocktails. Rye, scotch, and bourbon are all used in modern cocktails too

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    4. Harrison Ryan

      Harrison Ryan

      Thanks for answering

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