How to Drink Bourbon: 4 Ways Everyone Can Enjoy
Written by Emma C | Updated March 2023
When it comes to bourbon, you’ve likely heard that there’s no wrong way to drink it. There is certainly no one-size-fits-all method, and it all depends on who you are, where you are, and what your preferences are. There are some tried and true tips and tricks that will maximize your enjoyment of this classic American whiskey. With that in mind, we’ve tasted many bourbons and have curated this Taster’s Club guide on how to drink bourbon to help you on your journey. Below, you’ll learn all about the ways to drink bourbon along with some of our favorite bourbons available in our bottle shop. Find your own way to enjoy your next tipple of bourbon. Happy shopping!
4 Ways to Drink Bourbon
1. Drinking Bourbon Neat
Drinking bourbon neat, or without any mixers, is the best way to experience its full flavor profile. This method allows you to savor the nuances of the bourbon and appreciate the unique taste and aroma that each bottle offers.
While bourbon is traditionally served in a rocks glass, there is a preferred method that allows for a heightened sensory experience - using a Glencairn glass. This uniquely shaped glass features a tulip-shaped bowl that narrows towards the top, which helps to concentrate the aromas and flavors of the bourbon.
By using a Glencairn glass, you can fully appreciate the nuances and complexities of the bourbon, from the initial scent to the lingering finish. The narrow opening of the glass also helps to prevent the alcohol vapors from overpowering the aroma, making it easier to detect the subtler notes.
If you’re wondering what bottle makes the best neat bourbon drink, we offer plenty of bottles meant to be enjoyed this way. Check them out, below
We offer plenty of bottles that can be enjoyed neat and recommend these, specifically.
Top 4 Bourbons To Drink Neat
1. Wilderness Trail Small Batch
This award-winning small batch bourbon mash bill consists of 64% corn, 24% rye, and 12% malted barley using the maker’s own yeast strains. The result is smooth enough to be had alone or added as a delicious kick to your favorite mixed drink.Buy Now
2. Kentucky Owl Confiscated
Kentucky Owl Confiscated pays tribute to the barrels seized from the Kentucky Owl distillery before prohibition. On the nose, you’ll experience hints of peach, mature oak, vanilla, and tobacco with aromas of cardamom. The palate fills with spicy oak, peaches and cream, and cinnamon butter, while the finish offers herbal notes and lots of spice, rounded off by nutmeg.Buy Now
3. Four Roses Single Barrel
This complex, full-bodied, and surprisingly smooth single barrel bourbon has a delicate, long finish that’s unbelievably mellow.Buy Now
4. Laws Bottled in Bond
This special offering of Laws’ Four Grain is the first bonded bourbon in Colorado history. True to the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897, this bourbon is at least four years old, a product of a single season and a single distiller, and has been aged entirely in the maker’s federally-bonded rickhouse.Buy Now
2. Drinking Bourbon With A Splash of Water
Adding a few drops of water to your bourbon can unlock new flavors and aromas. Water can help to open up the bourbon and soften any harsh or bitter notes. Just adding a few drops of water slowly, one at a time until you’re satisfied, will help take off the heat and spice notes, allowing some sweetness and more flavor and aroma to come through.
Cask strength vs non-cask strength bourbon
Cask strength bourbon can clock in between 50-75% ABV (alcohol by volume), with the typical expression being 60-65% ABV. On the other hand, most whiskey is diluted to a standard ABV, usually around 40%.
But, cask strength bourbon can be too strong for some to tolerate. Try adding a drop or two of water to open your bourbon and you will explore more nuances you would not have tasted otherwise.
3. Drinking Bourbon On The Rocks
Some bourbon drinkers enjoy a chilled drink with ice cubes or an ice ball. Ice will cool the spirit off to bring out more captivating flavors and aromas, while mellowing out the harshness of stronger expressions. Ice balls are a preferred alternative to ice cubes as they will not dilute the spirit too much or too quickly. This way your bourbon is not watered down, causing you to lose the true nature of the spirit in your glass.
We’ve got some excellent bourbon options to enjoy on the rocks. Check out the bottles below from some top bourbon brands, and pick one up from our bottle shop. Check out our favorite bourbons to drink on the rocks.
Best Bourbons To Drink On The Rocks
1. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof
Elijah Craig’s Barrel Proof is award-winning bourbon in its purest form: uncut, straight from the barrel, and without chill filtering. Each bottle is hand labeled with its unique proof and batch number, but the nose, taste, and finish are pure Elijah Craig.Buy Now
2. Breckenridge 105
This is Breckenridge’s blended bourbon but with a twist, bottled at a gripping 105 proof. As they blend, the brand’s distillers taste a wild ride through rich, dark caramel and toasted almonds, burnt Baker’s chocolate, and dried orange peel, with a lingering finish of vanilla and spice.Buy Now
3. Brother’s Bond Cask Strength
This limited release of Brother’s Bond’s original cask strength expression showcases the brand’s bourbon in its undiluted form, unfiltered and uncut at 115.8 proof. It’s influenced only by the barrel’s qualities, the passing of time, and the artful blending of three distinctive mash bills to create a four-grain straight bourbon original cask strength whiskey.Buy Now
4. Maker’s Mark Cask Strength
Maker's Mark Bourbon in its purest form, the brand’s cask strength is bottled at barrel proof and nonchill filtered, ranging from 108 to 114 proof depending on the barrels. Surprisingly smooth, this bourbon retains the signature, front-of-the-palate flavors of Maker's Mark while amping up the vanilla and rich oak notes.Buy Now
4. Drinking Bourbon In A Cocktail Or A Splash Of Soda
Bourbon is one of those great spirits that mixes well in cocktails if you want to jazz up your drinking experience. A bourbon cocktail can be sophisticated, classy, flavorful; and a fun way to try new flavor combinations.
Some ideas for you is to try one of the most famous Bourbon cocktails; the Old Fashioned is one of the most famous bourbon cocktails that can help with those spicier styles of bourbon.The Mint Julep is a refreshing cocktail popular in the southern US. Bourbon and Cola is a simple drink that can often mask the authentic flavors of the bourbon, but it's still a taste worth exploring and can be a great option for those who prefer a sweeter drink.
Drinking bourbon is an art form that can be enjoyed in many ways. Whether you prefer it neat, on the rocks, or in a cocktail, there are endless possibilities to explore and savor. By understanding the various nuances of this spirit, and experimenting with different drinking methods and pairings, you can elevate your bourbon experience to new heights. So go ahead, pour yourself a glass, and savor the complex flavors and aromas of this timeless American classic. Cheers!
Try new and exciting Bourbon from Award-Winning distilleries with our amazing Bourbon of the Month Club.
Taster’s Club is the Premiere online shop for anyone looking for a curated Liquor of the Month Club or a one-off bottle purchase from our Bottle Shop.