By now you’re probably getting tired of being quarantined in your home. You’ve put together the 1,000 piece puzzle of Niagara Falls puzzle that had previously been collecting dust in your closet, you’ve caught up on every streaming show you’ve been meaning to watch, and you’ve eaten most of the food that was supposed to last for three weeks. You’re bored and tired, even though you take three naps per day.
There’s only one thing that will make the whole ordeal better and that’s whiskey. Okay, a vaccine for coronavirus. And a stimulus check. Then whiskey.
Not a ridiculous amount of whiskey (a hangover while stuck at home might not be fun). Just the right amount to take the proverbial edge off. If you’re a fan of bourbon or rye, you’re probably stocked up by now. But what if you were only allowed to pick one brand to be quarantined with? What bottle would you choose?
That’s the question we posed for some of our favorite bartenders. Their answers ranged from long-aged bourbons to classic Scotches, to Japanese whiskies. Check them all out below.
Parker’s Heritage Barrel Finished Curacao Cask Bourbon
Amanda Swanson, bar manager at Fine & Rare in New York City
Parker’s Heritage Barrel Finished Curacao Cask. This seven to eight-year-old bourbon is finished in ex-Curacao casks adding notes of orange that are otherwise very unusual to find in bourbon. It is bright and hot and bursting with orange marmalade flavor.
It doesn’t hurt that it’s a luxury bourbon on the rare side, exactly what you would want in a quarantine.
Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon
Sam Gay, bartender at Ojai Valley Inn in Ojai, California
This is an easy answer for me. I’d go with Woodford Double Oaked Bourbon. Great dark chocolate notes in that whiskey.
Suntory Hibiki 21
Hector Acevedo, part owner of Spanglish Craft Cocktail Bar & Kitchen in Miami
For this, I’ll have to go with my favorite Japanese whisky, Suntory Hibiki 21. Because there’s a lot of dried fruit, strawberry jam, and baked apple — nice and warming for all those hours spent alone.
Wyoming Small Batch Bourbon
Osvaldo Vasquez, mixologist based at Chileno Bay Resort, Auberge Resorts Collection in Los Cabos, Mexico
I like Wyoming Whiskey (specifically their small batch bourbon) because it is crafted in small batches and there are three generations behind this brand. They keep consistency and quality on their product as a family business. You can enjoy it straight and it’s perfect to use in classic cocktails.
Kininvie 17 Single Malt Scotch Whisky
David Powell, Hudson Whiskey Brand Ambassador
I have a 375ml bottle of Kininvie 17 that I picked up on my way back from my first trip to Scotland a couple of years ago. It’s pretty rare in the states, and I’d say it’s my favorite dram not just because it’s delicious, but because I only break it out to celebrate momentous occasions with my closest friends.
Every time I share it and have a chance to taste it myself, there are good vibes surrounding the dram.
Hillrock Solera Aged Bourbon
Darron Foy, head bartender at The Flatiron Room in New York City
Hillrock Solera Bourbon. Hillrock is the first to implement using the solera aging process to bourbon, though the technique is now spreading. You have a stack of barrels and small amounts of whiskey are taken out at different periods of time while all the time new whiskey is being added. A barrel is never completely empty, so the age and flavor increase. The final product is then finished in 20-year-old oloroso sherry casks. Big and bold with full of sherry tones, while still being smooth on the palate.
Medley Family Private Selection Bourbon
Matt Hoffa, lead bartender at The Mayfair Hotel in Los Angeles
This is a really tough question because there are so many great whiskeys. I guess I’ll have to go with Medley Family Private Selection. It’s the one that comes in the blue bottle, it’s over-proof and single barrel. It’s strong, yet mellow.
Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon
Nikki McCutcheon, beverage director at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge in New York City
Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon is a premium bourbon that is perfect to drink neat and requires no mixers or ice. The bottle is also conveniently shaped like a coconut, which could lend a fun island vibe in your lonely apartment.
Buffalo Trace Bourbon
Kyle Walter, bartender at Grayton Beer Brewpub in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
My tried and true is Buffalo Trace bourbon. Though, if you can get it during the quarantine, good on you.
William Larue Weller Bourbon
Ben Schiller, beverage director at RPM Restaurants in Chicago
William Larue Weller – Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. I love wheated Bourbons, and this yearly bottling is one of, if not the best on the market. Finding a bottle of Weller is difficult enough at the moment, but one that’s barrel strength like this selection is almost impossible.