Summer is long since over, and that might seem like a complete bummer.
Gone are the hot, humid days of boating, swimming, and sunbathing. The turning of the calendar to autumn also turns the page on vodka, gin, and tequila. There’s no need for lighter, fruit-filled cocktails either. Just as the days grow darker, so do the spirits.
But all is not lost. The cooler weather is perfectly suited for whiskey (or whisky). The only question is: How do you decide what to drink? There are myriad styles and varieties, each suited for everyone’s particular, unique tastes. Here are just a few choices.
Smoky Whisky: Ardbeg An Oa
So, you’re one of the whisky aficionados who enjoy a smoky, peated whisky every now and then. Islay (Ardbeg in particular) is full of smoky options. Even if you’re not, Ardbeg An Oa is the perfect smoky whisky to dip your toes into. This offering is much more balanced than its counterpart, Ardbeg 10 Year Old. It’s no secret that this is one of Ardbeg’s smokiest whiskies, but it’s rounded out by being aged in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. “It’s absolutely a more approachable Ardbeg than the 10, so yes on that count, but I think a lot of smoky whisky fans are going to love it, too, because it offers up so much new smoky flavors and it’s the first new permanent Ardbeg in ten years,” says Brendan McCarron, head of maturing whisky stocks at The Glenmorangie Company.
Bourbon: Four Roses Small Batch
Recently, Four Roses released its 2017 limited edition Small Batch. This year’s offering is extra special because it features three of the iconic brand’s ten bourbon recipes, and also contains low rye mashbill to give drinkers of this bourbon a truly unique taste experience. It’s bottled at “barrel strength” with a proof of 107.3. That’s more than 50% alcohol, so it should be given the respect it deserves and sipped slowly on your front porch as you watch leaves slowly tumble off the trees to the ground.
Rye: WhistlePig Straight Rye
In the early 2000s, Raj Bhakta bought a failed dairy farm in Vermont and turned it into one of the most famous distilleries in the world. There’s a reason WhistlePig keeps winning awards for its whiskies. The flagship spirit is its Straight Rye whiskey. Whiskey innovator Dave Pickerell looked all over the world to find the best old-stock rye whiskey barrels from all over North America and created one of the most beloved whiskies ever made.
White Whiskey: George Dickel White
You might not know it, but whiskey doesn’t start off amber-colored. When it’s first distilled, it’s clear and resembles vodka or gin. It’s the barrel aging that gives it the distinct color we all know and love, as well as much of the oaky flavor. But that’s not to say that it doesn’t start off with great deal of flavor. This is especially true with George Dickel’s unaged offering. The biggest difference between Dickel White and other white whiskies on the market is the chill charcoal-mellowing process it goes through right after it leaves the still. It’s smooth and perfect for mixing into cocktails or sipping on its own.
Can’t Make Up Your Mind? Try High West Campfire
Sometimes in life you just can’t make up your mind. That’s why a whiskey like High West Campfire is perfect. That’s because when you’re enjoying this whiskey, you don’t have to make up your mind. It’s made by blending a straight bourbon, a spicy straight rye, and a smoky blended malt Scotch that has been peated in the style of Islay whiskies. It’s the perfect whiskey to sip while you sit around a campfire on a chilly fall evening surrounded by friends and family.