Liquor Laboratory

18 Best Liquors To Drink Straight: Full Guide (2023)

Best Liquor To Drink Straight

Last Updated on November 26, 2023 by Lydia Martin

For many, drinking liquor neat is a way to enjoy a favorite spirit in its purest form without the distraction of mixers. It also allows drinkers to appreciate each spirit’s unique flavors, aromas, and characteristics.

From whiskey to vodka to rum, the possibilities for straight liquor are endless, so we curated a list of the best liquors to drink straight for a guaranteed satisfying drinking experience.

Top 18 Liquors To Drink Straight

1. Jameson Irish Whiskey

Jameson Irish Whiskey Bottle

Average Price: $18.99 per 750 ml (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 40% 

Nose: Vanilla, caramel, corn, floral

Palate: Caramel, grain, black pepper, citrus zest

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: Most whiskey enthusiasts will agree that Jameson Irish whiskey is the best liquor to drink straight. This exceptional liquor is a triple-distilled whiskey aged at least four years.

It is made from a blend of pot still and fine-grain whiskeys, and as we sip it straight, it has a light, floral flavor with hints of vanilla and spice. 

“Liquor, when savored neat, reveals its true character. “-Liquor Laboratory

Jameson is one of the most sought-after spirits on the market, and it only takes a sip or two to know why this has become on our top list.

2. Grand Marnier Cuvee Louis Alexandre Liqueur Cognac

Bottle of Grand Marnier Cuvee Louis Alexandre Liqueur Cognac

Average Price: $73.99 per 750 ml (Caskers)

Alcohol Content: 40% 

Nose: Dark chocolate, nuts, oak, corn

Palate: Wheat, corn, oak, smoke, dark fruit, citrus

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: This high-quality cognac liqueur has been made using a unique blend of orange essence and cognac. 

It is also reasonably priced for a high-quality cognac, making it an excellent option for those looking to enjoy a luxurious spirit to enjoy neat. Drinking it straight, I noticed the smokiness and some dark fruit notes. 

3. Jim Beam Apple

Hand Holding Jim Beam Apple Bottle

Average Price: $11.99 per 750 ml (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 35% 

Nose: Crisp apple, oak, slightly fresh grapes

Palate: Apple, smoky, oak, juicy fresh

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Most people like Jim Beam Apple because it is an excellent value for a quality product; the apple flavor is not too overpowering, and it has a noteworthy smooth finish.

It has distinctive tastes, which make it enjoyable to sip straight, and it is also a versatile spirit that can be used in mixed drinks.

4. Plymouth Gin

Close Up Shot of Plymouth Gin Bottles

Average Price: $34.99 per 750 ml (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 41.2% 

Nose: Pepper, juniper berry, lemon, herbs

Palate: Coriander seed, tangy juniper oil, berry fruits, soft fruits

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Plymouth is a classic London dry gin with a clean, crisp flavor and has been around since 1793.

It is made with juniper berries, coriander, and other botanicals and has a slightly sweet flavor. 

This bottle is perfect for making martinis or other cocktails, but drinking it straight gives a different level of the drinking experience.

5. Cointreau Noir Orange Liqueur with Cognac

Bottle of Cointreau Noir Orange Liqueur with Cognac

Average Price: $42.99 per 750 ml (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 40% 

Nose: Orange zest, honey, vanilla, dried fruits, almond

Palate: Fruity, oak, citrus, honey, vanilla

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Cointreau is high-quality alcohol; one great way to consume it is by sipping it neat. It has a strong orange flavor with slightly bitter notes. 

It’s always known to be a perfect mixer for craft cocktails. However, sipping it on its own is another good story I have discovered.

6. Qui Platinum Extra Anejo Tequila

Qui Platinum Extra Anejo Tequila Bottle with glass, lime and salt

Average Price: Around $79.99 per 750 ml (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 40% ABV

Nose: Butterscotch, hazelnut, vanilla

Palate: Vanilla, caramel, toasted coconut

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: This top-shelf tequila is aged for four years in French white oak barrels, resulting in a rich and complex profile that is perfectly served neat. 

The high quality and attention to detail make Qui Platinum Extra Anejo an excellent choice for discerning drinkers.

7. Crown Royal XR Extra Rare Blue Label Canadian Whisky

Close UP Shot of Crown Royal XR Extra Rare Blended Canadian Whisky Bottle

Average Price: $234.99 per 750 ml (Caskers)

Alcohol Content: 40% 

Nose: Black pepper, apple, oak, maple

Palate: Spicy, maple syrup, oak, apple

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Crown Royal XR is a blended Canadian whisky that is extra rare and aged to perfection.

The extra rare designation means it is made with only the finest ingredients.

The high quality of these spirits makes it worth the splurge, no matter the price. As I sip it slowly, maple syrup, oak, and apple notes covers my tastebuds. 

8. Laphroaig Single Malt Scotch

3 Bottles of Laphroaig Single Malt Scotch

Average Price: $39.99 per 750 ml (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 40% 

Nose: Pungent peat, seaside, ash, chocolate

Palate: Bitter chocolate, spicy chili, ash

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Laphroaig is a rich and peaty single malt Scotch that is best served neat. [1]

It has an acquired taste of both smokiness and sweetness in perfect harmony, making it a favorite among scotch lovers.

It is one of those spirits that can be appreciated on its own.

9. Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon

Man Holding a Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon Bottle

Average Price: $46.99 per 750 ml (Caskers)

Alcohol Content: 50% 

Nose: Dried spice, cocoa, vanilla, pear

Palate: Spicy, plum, cherries, caramel, vanilla

Star Rating:★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Four Roses Single Barrel bourbon is a staple in many liquor stores for drinking straight.

The high alcohol content will keep you warm on a cold night without burning your throat.

Flavors of wood and oak notes are present with the finest corn, cinnamon, brown sugar, and caramel, making it an excellent choice for those who enjoy sweeter bourbons that pack a punch.

10. Zacapa No. 23 Rum

Ron Zacapa 23 Rum Bottle and a Glass

Average Price: $42.99 per 750 ml (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 40% 

Nose: Vanilla, cocoa, toffee, caramel

Palate: Banana, orange peel, sweet, oak, vanilla, licorice, ginger

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Zacapa No. 23 is made in Guatemala using a solera aging process, making it a unique luxurious booze.

So usually, if you’re going to order a premium rum or a premium product, you would say, I would have that neat.

-Scott Clime, Liquor Expert

Drinking it neat, my palate is enveloped with notes of caramel, dark fruit, and spices, making it a perfect sipping rum. 

This rum is aged 23 years in oak barrels, giving it a deep and complex taste that rum lovers will surely appreciate.

11. Kings County Distillery Chocolate Whiskey

Kings County Distillery Chocolate Whiskey Bottle and Chocolate

Average Price: $22.99 per 200 ml (Caskers)

Alcohol Content: 40% 

Nose: Dark bitter, cherry, berry, oak

Palate: Chocolate, spicy, cocoa, cherry, berry

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: This bottle of chocolate whiskey from Kings County Distillery is made with New York milk and beans from the Dominican Republic. 

It’s aged in used bourbon barrels, which gives it a smooth, rich flavor. It has a pure taste of chocolate on your palate, perfect for savoring slowly until the last drop.

12. Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey

Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey Bottle and Glass on Top of Wooden Table

Average Price: $16.99 per 750 ml (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content:  40% 

Nose: Biscuit, fruits, vanilla cream

Palate: Caramel, toffee, sherried peels, spice, butter, honey

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Tullamore DEW’s triple-distilled smoothness makes it one of the easy-drinking Irish whiskeys.

It has a light, malted barley sweetness balanced by spicy and floral notes. 

It is one of those best spirits that needs no mixers to enjoy.

13. Siembra Valles High Proof Blanco

Siembra Valles High Proof Blanco Tequila Bottle

Average Price: Around $63.66 per 750 ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 40% 

Nose: Banana, mango, whole spices, corn, honey

Palate: Rich, creamy, mango, honey, caramel, agave

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: This high-proof Blanco is perfect for those who like their favorite drink strong and straight up.

It has a high alcohol content but is smooth enough to drink neat. 

The flavor profile of this tequila is relatively simple, with notes of agave, dried fruit, and citrus, and just enough to be one of the best spirits to sip.

14. Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal

Bottle of Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal

Average Price: $75.99 per 750 ml (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 48% 

Nose: Smoky, oaky, citrus, hazelnut

Palate: Fruity, spiced, citrus, oak

Star Rating:★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: Del Maguey Chichicapa is an excellent option for those who want high-quality mezcal without spending a fortune. 

This mezcal [2] has a beautiful smoky flavor with hints of citrus and floral notes, with a lingering finish of allspice, menthol, and pepper, perfect for an after-dinner buddy.

15. Balvenie Caribbean Cask

Bottle of The Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask and a Glass

Average Price: $76.99 per 750 ml (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 43% 

Nose: Vanilla, creamy, apple, orange

Palate: Vanilla, caramel, corn, mango, orange essence

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: This single malt whisky from Balvenie is aged 14 years in ex-bourbon barrels before being finished in rum casks from the Caribbean. 

The result is a delicious, complex spirit with notes of vanilla, honey, and tropical fruit juices. It’s a complex spirit that’s sure to please any whiskey lover.

16. Jack Daniels Old No. 7

Close Up Shot of Jack Daniel's old no 7 whisky

Average Price: $26.99 per 750ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Nose: Darker honey, banana, maple syrup, cinnamon

Palate: Subtle burnt sugar charcoal, rich vanilla, toasted bread

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: Jack Daniels Old No. 7 is one of the most popular whiskeys in the world, and while people enjoy it on the rocks, it tastes bold and decadent when you consume it straight.

JD Old No. 7 has a nice balance of sweetness and oakiness. It is just as lovely as we remember- toasty and nutty, with rich notes of cinnamon, clove, licorice, grass, and grain.

17. Tequila Ocho Añejo

Bottle of Tequila Ocho Añejo

Average Price: $73.78 per 750ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Nose: Floral, gardenia, citrus, chocolate, agave

Palate: Cooked agave, vanilla, honey, maple, light cocoa

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: Tequila Ocho Añejo is a great sipping tequila that drinks nicely, even without ice and mixers.

We noticed the nice American oak notes on the palate profile as it is gently aged for 12 months in former American oak barrels.

It is bold and rich, with lovely agave notes, toffee, coffee, salted caramel, and black pepper. We also enjoyed the liquor on the rocks but recommended trying it neat.

18. Hennessy VS

Bottle of Hennessy Very special

Average Price: $48.99 per 750 ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Nose: Woody, nuts, floral

Palate: Berries, vanilla spice, oak, floral

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: Hennessy VS is an excellent cognac [3] meant to be enjoyed straight. It has a bold and fragrant aroma and a unique palate profile.

We noticed the fruity and toasted liquor notes while enjoying the cognac’s neatness. It is defined and very welcoming to our palate.

The robust and round flavor of Hennessy VS also drinks nicely in cocktails, making it a versatile liquor.

Note: The star rating was determined based on a blind test, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest.

FAQs

What’s the best liquor to drink straight for a newbie?

Whiskeys are a great, if not the best, type of liquor to drink straight for a newbie. You can opt for flavored whiskeys, Irish whiskeys, or bourbon.

These spirits offer smooth and mellow flavors that don’t overwhelm someone not yet accustomed to alcohol.

What’s the best sweet liquor to drink straight?

Flavored whiskeys like honey and chocolate are the best sweet liquors to drink straight.

These types of whiskeys are known to have sweet, complex, and balanced flavors that will surely please your palate.

What is the healthiest liquor to drink straight?

Tequila, vodka, gin, and rum are the healthiest liquor to drink straight but with moderation. They do not contain carbs, so they won’t raise your blood sugar if you drink them straight [4].

What is the best cheap liquor to drink straight?

Jameson Irish Whiskey is the best cheap liquor to drink straight. For less than $20, you can enjoy a bold, rich, complex whiskey that does not taste cheap.

Final Verdict

Many different types of liquor can be enjoyed straight. Some of the most popular include whiskey, tequila, vodka, and gin.

Jameson Irish Whiskey, Grand Marnier Cuvee Louis Alexandre Liqueur Cognac, and Jim Beam Apple are must-try liquors to drink straight.

Each of these liquors has its unique flavor profile and tasting notes that can be enjoyed when sipped neat, but Jameson Irish whiskey is the best liquor to drink straight.

Jameson offers a unique and inviting sipping experience with its signature smoothness and distinctive flavor.

References:

  1. https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-single-malt-whisky-761283 

  2. https://www.insider.com/guides/kitchen/mezcal-vs-tequila 

  3. https://www.britannica.com/topic/cognac

  4. https://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/a27491762/healthiest-ways-to-drink-alcohol/

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