Podcast: I have $25. Can I buy a good bottle of bourbon?
Updated: Mar 29, 2020
Quick answer: yes, you can! If you know what to look for, $25 should be all you need.
After years of buying beer at liquor stores, I know what I like. I know the fancy stuff (Gulden Draak? Yes please!) and the cheap stuff (Coors Banquet does the job every night). As beer's popularity exploded and prices rose with it, going into the liquor store to pick out what I liked took a bit more time, but in the end it was easy to pick based on type of beer, price, brand, and my mood.
When I started enjoying bourbon more and more, I knew I wanted to invest in good bottles, but I was back at square one when I went into the liquor store. This was a whole new world of terms and types and colors and labels. And holy cow, those prices! $120 for a bottle? No way I'd be that guy. (I am.)
This was a whole new world of terms and types and colors and labels. And holy cow, those prices!
But hey, what about those $25 bottles on the bottom shelf? That's just the stuff college kids buy to get wasted on Saturday night, right?
Not so fast.
Big price tag does not always equal big flavor
Let me tell ya, some of the best bottles on my shelf cost me between $25 and $50. Some of the bottles I've liked the least cost me over $100. When you head into the liquor store to find a bottle of bourbon, it's not only possible, but also likely, that you'll find one you'll love in a price range you can afford.
On the very first episode of The Practical Still podcast, Mark and Dan give you the basic info you need to make a solid bourbon purchase, without emptying your wallet. As it turns out, if you know the basics, you can spot a good bottle whether it's perched on the top shelf or tucked down low.
A lot of those big boy bottles, the one with those really tall price tags, pack a lot of flavor because they've been curated and perfected over time. They're the best stuff from the best parts of the rickhouse. Usually it's damn good (occasionally it's a big whiff).
But that doesn't mean other bottles in their lineage, most of which linger on those lower shelves, can't pack a flavor punch too.
Listen to the Practical Still podcast now to hear what Mark and Dan recommend for finding an excellent bottle of bourbon without spending a fortune.