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10 Best Cheap Bourbons For Old Fashioned Reviewed (2022)

Last Updated on August 4, 2022 by Lydia Martin

Old Fashioned is one of the classic cocktails served during an event, family gathering, or friendly party. However, you don’t have to empty your pocket to have a good mixing bourbon base whenever serving a huge crowd.

If you want to find the best cheap bourbon for Old Fashioned, check out our list.

Top 10 Budget-Friendly Bourbons for Old Fashioned

10. Four Roses Single Barrel 

Four Roses Single Barrel 

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $40-$50

How It Tastes In Old Fashioned: The Single Barrel expression from Four Roses uses the brand’s high-rye mash bill and delicate fruit yeast.

It only features one of the ten famous recipes of Four Roses, and this one gives a herbal, spicy, and fruity character to an Old Fashioned.

The 100-proof alcohol content remains strong and gives a good punch to the cocktail even after diluting the liquor.

9. Buffalo Trace Straight Bourbon Whiskey 

Buffalo Trace Straight Bourbon Whiskey 

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $25-$30

How It Tastes In Old Fashioned: This flagship Buffalo Trace bourbon from the country’s oldest continuously operating whiskey maker uses the commonly used Mash Bill #1 [1]. 

The low rye mash bill (less than 10%) offers a unique flavor combination of mint dark fruit, toffee, anise, and vanilla to the Old Fashioned.

It also imparts an orange spiciness to the cocktail, despite its relatively low alcohol content.

8. Elijah Craig Small Batch 

Elijah Craig Small Batch 

ABV: 47%

Average Price: $25-$35

How It Tastes In Old Fashioned:

This bourbon has a traditionally high percentage of corn (78%) on its mash bill, giving it the vibrant flavors of sweet fruit, vanilla bean, and fresh mint. 

Incorporating it into an Old Fashioned cocktail enhances its other ingredients, imparting a delightful complex blend of spiciness, sweetness, and smokiness.

7. 1792 Small Batch Bourbon 

1792 Small Batch Bourbon 

ABV: 46.85%

Average Price: $30-$40

How It Tastes In Old Fashioned: The Small Batch is an entry-level offering from 1792 presented in a stylish decanter. It is full-bodied with flavorful notes of toasted oak and caramel. 

Mixing it in an Old Fashioned leaves the cocktail with subtle spice, chocolate, and coffee bean flavors.

Read: 1792 Bourbon vs Buffalo Trace

6. Maker’s Mark Bourbon 

Maker's Mark Bourbon 

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $20-$30

How It Tastes In Old Fashioned: Maker’s Mark bourbon uses soft red winter wheat instead of rye on its mash bill, along with corn and malted barley. 

This product is a great budget bourbon for beginners who want to avoid the spiciness of the usual bourbon.

It imparts sweet caramel notes, fruity essences, and a little heat as a base liquor for Old Fashioned.

5. Bulleit Bourbon 

Bulleit Bourbon 

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $25-$35

How It Tastes In Old Fashioned: Bulleit Bourbon offers a spicy base liquor for an Old Fashioned due to its high rye percentage.

It adds a load of black pepper and ginger flavors to the bitters and simple syrup of the Old Fashioned. It also offers a smooth caramel corn and vanilla taste to the cocktail.

4. Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon

Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon

ABV: 50.5%

Average Price: $20-$25

How It Tastes In Old Fashioned: The Wild Turkey 101 bourbon remains pleasantly smooth while giving bursts of flavors to different cocktails for a very affordable price.

It has been a versatile sipping bourbon for many decades, but it also provides slightly sweet vanilla and caramel notes to an Old Fashioned.

3. Fistful of Bourbon Whiskey Blend 

Fistful of Bourbon on desk with old fashioned glass

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $20-$30

How It Tastes In Old Fashioned: This product is a blend of five American straight bourbons, created by Master Blender Kelsey McKechnie and Master Distiller Brian Kinsman [2]. 

The resulting complex yet smooth liquor provides balanced flavors of cinnamon, buttery toffee, warm spice, and hints of sweetness when mixed in an Old Fashioned.

2. Old Grand-Dad Bonded 

Old Grand-Dad on table with glass

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $20-$30

How It Tastes In Old Fashioned: The high-rye mash bill and 100-proof alcohol content of Old Grand-Dad Bonded offer a spicy flavor to an Old Fashioned. 

Its spiciness makes it the perfect base liquor for rye whiskey fans who are also looking for the traditional vanilla sweetness of bourbon.

1. Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 

Jim Beam on desk with glass

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $15-$25

How It Tastes In Old Fashioned: This bourbon is probably the best cheap bourbon for Old Fashioned that will fit both beginners and seasoned bourbon fans. 

Jim Beam is a refreshingly adorable bourbon base, imparting oaky vanilla and spicy backdrop to the cocktail. It also offers subtle oak, grain, fruit, and caramel notes.

What We Considered

Price Point

The most important thing when looking for the best cheap bourbon for Old Fashioned is to find a cheap but versatile base liquor that can enhance every cocktail recipe.

Cheaper bourbon products are ideal for serving when hosting a family gathering or a huge party.

Meanwhile, more expensive or mid-range bourbon bottles are better to consume neat and straight than mix with cocktails like Old Fashioned.

Bite

Bite

Among the bitters and sugar, a bourbon can significantly change the flavor of an Old Fashioned.

Most of the time, the high alcohol content and rye mash bill of the bourbons impart a stronger punch to the cocktails. 

Although it still depends on the drinker’s preference, finding a bourbon that does not overpower the other ingredients is important. 

Old Fashioned Bourbon Cocktail Recipe

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Total Time: 3 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • ¼ ounce simple syrup
  • Luxardo cherry or orange peel

Instructions: Combine the bitters and simple syrup in a rock glass filled with ice. Add the bourbon and mix it well for around 30 seconds until well-chilled and properly diluted. Garnish the cocktail with either cherry or orange. Serve and enjoy. 

Serving: 1

FAQs

Can you use any bourbon for Old Fashioned?

Yes, you can use any bourbon for Old Fashioned. The minimum alcohol content for bourbon is 40% which leaves enough bite to the cocktail.

On the other hand, a higher alcohol content imparts stronger flavors. 

Is rye or bourbon better for Old Fashioned?

Bourbon is better for Old Fashioned than rye whiskey.

Although it depends on the drinker’s personal preference, bourbon imparts sweeter and mellow flavors that are perfect for both seasoned enthusiasts and beginners. 

In Summary

The cheapest bourbon for Old Fashioned is the Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

Aside from the price, our team carefully considers its availability, flavor profile, and alcohol content. 

It is widely accessible in the United States, providing a decent and versatile base liquor for any cocktail.

The 40% ABV gives enough bite without overpowering the bitters and sugar of the Old Fashioned. 

However, there are also affordable bourbons on the list with at least 50% ABV if you’re looking for stronger base spirits. 

References:

  1. https://www.gearpatrol.com/food/drinks/a544955/buffalo-trace-whiskey/   
  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeanettehurt/2021/12/17/holiday-gift-guide-2021-best-whiskeys-and-whiskies-made-by-women/

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