We’re all familiar with the archetypal autumnal night spent on the porch with a glass of whiskey–orange sun, gold leaves, crisp air, a waft of smoke. Come summer, however, we inexplicably cast aside whiskeys to make way for clear alcohols and fruit-filled cocktails. Frankly, there’s no reason everyone’s favorite brown spirit shouldn’t be enjoyed all summer long, you just need the right bottle, and even better if it comes at the right price.
Lighter and full of fruit notes, summer whiskeys offer something a bit different than their ‘cool days and cold nights’ brethren. Today, more and more of these sunshine-ready spirits are hitting the market and many are available for under $60. That’s why we’ve put together this collection of four whiskeys that are perfect for summer sipping.
Hirsch The Horizon Straight Bourbon ($39)
Released mid-pandemic, Hirsch’s The Horizon combines two straight bourbons distilled in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Modeled by the inspiration to travel and discover, each bottle features a grid on the back label with exact batch specifications. 94% of the blend is distilled from a traditional mash bill of 75% corn, 21% rye, 4% malted barley aged a minimum of 4 years. The remaining 6% is distilled from a “high rye” mash aged 6 years for added complexity.
Expect notes of caramel, brown sugar, and roasted pineapple.
Nikka Days ($48)
Nikka Days hit shelves in summer 2020 as the company looked to find a Japanese whisky made for “everyday drinking occasions.” A variety of Nikka’s better-known whiskies are used in the blend: “The blend is structured by the mellow and smooth Coffey Grain Whisky and aromatic non-peated Miyagikyo malts, along with a touch of Coffey Malt Whisky and Yoichi malts to enhance the bright sweetness and rich body.”
Expect fresh, fruity aromas with white flowers, orange blossoms, pear, and citrus. The palate is light and smooth with flavors of cereal, malt, toffee, roasted nuts, and vanilla. The dry finish is filled with apricot, malt, vanilla, and elusive peat.
Kavalan Distillery Select ($55)
For the past decade, Kavalan has been producing some of the world’s most acclaimed, high-end sipping whiskies. Kavalan Distillery Select, however, is an entry level Taiwanese whisky that’s made for those looking to mix up a cocktail or to pair with night market snacks, like fried chicken.
Think tropical fruit, toffee, and honey.
Drumshanbo Irish Whiskey ($60)
Drumshanbo Single Pot Irish Whiskey is the first Whiskey to come out of western Ireland’s Connacht province in more than 105 years. Triple distilled by hand at the Shed Distillery of PJ Rigney, it’s made from a blend of malted Irish barley, unmalted Irish barley, and Irish barra oats. It’s aged for five years in first use ex-Kentucky Bourbon and ex-Oloroso Sherry casks.
The Whiskey offers aromas of toasted nuts, vanilla honey, and toffee notes, accompanied by sweet dried fruit. On the palate, winter spice, redcurrant, and coconut shift elegantly to deeper notes of dark chocolate, almond, and oak. There’s a creamy, full bodied mouthfeel with unexpected depth. The finish features sweet wine notes with a slide of dry space that lingers delicately on the palate.