Craft distillers are small operations. They don’t have acres and acres of vats and rackhouses that they can use to bring down costs on sheer scale alone. The other significant cost factor is quality. Genuine quality isn't cheap and not something that can be done on the same scale of the major brands.
Sometimes people want something unique and beyond the bland, run of the mill national brands, but they also don’t want to spend like it’s the booze for their best friend’s bachelor party. Here's 6 of our favorite budget-friendly, quality spirits.
1. Rebel Yell Bourbon
This wheated bourbon is crafted with the right wheat-to-corn ration to produce a surprisingly smooth whiskey. Which is wonderful considering the name brings to mind a throat burn from hell. This multiple award winner is good over ice and great for mixers.
2. Eight Degrees Vodka
This Holland born vodka is distilled eight times, uses select grains, and has a nice peppery taste. It won a gold medal in the 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Moreover, it's vodka. That peppery flavor profile just begs to be a Bloody Mary or a berry spritzer.
3. El Dorado 3 Year White Rum
This white rum isn't a bland little mixer. It has a surprising bouquet that includes a bit of citrus, chocolate, vanilla, and coconut. It's great on its own or as the base of tropic-inspired cocktails.
4. Evan Williams Bottled in Bond (White Label)
Short version - this is regular Evan Williams (black label), but with a stronger kick at 100 proof. Caramel, vanilla, and a hint of citrus even out this warm bourbon. Several bars use it as their base for cocktails since it tends stand out more in a mix unlike some lower proof whiskeys.
5. Gordon's London Dry Gin
Need a good gin, but also need to keep enough in your bank account to afford the Uber ride home? Gordon’s London Dry is a good compromise. Called “good, but not great,” by many, this slightly lower proof gin (80 instead of 90) is a fantastic mix of value and flavor.
6. Glenmorangie 10 Year Old - The Original
A good Scotch at a price a Scotsman would be happy with. This 10-year-old classic malt has a fruity and thick feel with hints of candied apple, toffee, and pear. At under $35 a bottle, this sippa Scotch is definitely within budget.
When splurging on liquor isn't in the cards, these six keep our spirits up and our wallets padded. These brands are still worth a shot or three to try them out.