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Jim Beam Substitute: 10 Bourbon Alternatives (2022 Updated)

Last Updated on November 22, 2022 by Lydia Martin

Jim Beam is an exceptional brand known for its best-selling bourbons worldwide. We won’t be surprised if you can’t find a bottle of Jim Beam in your favorite liquor shop.

But if that happens, don’t worry—it’s not the end of the world yet. There are many great Jim Beam substitutes you can try.

We listed our best recommendations for a Jim Beam substitute and other liquor alternatives for cocktails and cooking. Here’s the list.

Top 10 Jim Beam Substitutes To Try 

10. Buffalo Trace

Bottle of Buffalo Trace and a glass

Average Price: Around $34 for 750ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 45%

Why We Like It: You can substitute Buffalo Trace bourbon whiskey for Jim Beam. A bottle of Buffalo Trace may not be easier to find (for some), but in case you chance upon a bottle of this spirit, grab one and don’t even think about it. 

Buffalo Trace has a rich profile combination of candied fruit, toffee, and vanilla.

The Buffalo Trace distillery has consistently produced award-winning bourbon whiskey, including one of the most coveted Pappy Van Winkle.

9. Four Roses Bourbon

man holding bottle of Four Roses Yellow Label on top of a barrel

Average Price: Around $24 for 750ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It: This bourbon is also known as Four Roses Yellow Label. It is a straight Kentucky bourbon whiskey that is more affordable than Jim Beam but has an appealing taste.

The Four Roses brand has been around since 1888. Its versatile signature bourbon is crafted from different blends of bourbon recipes made perfect for sipping neat and in cocktails.

8. Maker’s Mark

Bottle of Maker’s Mark Whisky

Average Price: Around $26 for 750ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 45%

Why We Like It: Maker’s Mark is never bitter or sharp compared to other alcoholic beverages because there’s no rye used in its mash. 

Its full-flavored bourbon is easy-to-drink and can be a great substitute for your bottle of Jim Beam.

Maker’s Mark offers an easy, sippable bourbon, making it friendly for newbies.

7. Basil Hayden

hand holding a bottle of Basil Hayden

Average Price: Around $45 for 750ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It: Basil Hayden is a straight high-rye bourbon with a refined flavor at a reasonable price. It is uniquely made using single small-batch bourbon whiskeys. 

Although it uses twice as much rye as other bourbons, it is still gentle on the palate with a warm finish.

It’s an extremely approachable whiskey, great to substitute for Jim Beam.

6. Willett Bourbon

Bottle of Willet Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Average Price: Around $59 for 750ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 47%

Why We Like It: Willett Pot Still Reserve bourbon is one of the market’s most highly respected crafted bourbons. It has a unique bottle shape with a wax seal in front.

Willet bourbon has refreshing floral notes with a nice and smooth profile. It is packed with herbal sweetness and some spiciness, a substitute for a bottle of Jim Beam.

5. Evan Williams

Evan Williams Black Label Bottle

Average Price: Around $14 for 750ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 45.3%

Why We Like It: Evan Williams bourbon is made by Heaven Hill Distilleries. It is a decent rich, silky whiskey budget option for a comparable bottle version of the Jim Beam black label.

Evan Williams has a rich and easy-on-the-palate profile that can be enjoyed on its own or mixed in traditional cocktails like Kentucky Mule, Kentucky Sunrise, and Whiskey Sour.

Did you know? Evan Williams built their distillery in 1783 on the Ohio River, which became Kentucky’s first distillery.

4. Knob Creek

Knob Creek 9 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky Bottle and a Glass

Average Price: Around $38 for 750ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 50%

Why We Like It: If you like Jim Beams’ flavor profile, you’ll also love Knob Creeks’ excellent tasting profile. It is finely aged in highly charred oak barrels to provide a smooth yet full-bodied flavor.

“I know bourbon gets better with age because the older I get, the more I like it.”

– Booker Noe, Master Distiller of Jim Beam

But there’s a little comparison between the two bourbons—Knob Creek’s whiskey has more smokey sweetness because it’s patiently aged for nine years and has higher alcohol content. 

Beam Suntory distillery produces Knob Creek from a small batch of Jim Beam barrels.

3. Angel’s Envy

Bottle of Angel’s Envy

Average Price: Around $54 for 750ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 43.3%

Why We Like It: Angel’s Envy is a bourbon whiskey masterpiece with a port wine barrel-infused sweetness.

It is one of those sophisticated bourbons that’s a great substitute for Jim Beam. 

This bourbon brand is known for creating distinct flavors from unique whiskey barrels.

Last 2020, Angel’s Envy launched its first-ever bourbon whiskey, aged in Japanese oak casks. [1

2. Heaven Hill

Close Up Shot of Heaven Hill Bottle in Bond Bourbon Whiskey

Average Price: Around $60 for 750ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 50%

Why We Like It: Heaven Hill BiB is also a straight bourbon whiskey, which makes a good substitute for a classic Jim Beam bourbon whiskey.

It is a fine whiskey for neat drinking and is perfect for an Old Fashioned cocktail. Heaven Hill has a similar taste to Jim Beam and is also good for cooking and baking. 

You can replace your Jim Beam with this full-bodied Heaven Hill bourbon. Its smooth and sweet notes are a great substitute and could complement any dish that calls for Jim Beam.

1. Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve Bourbon Bottle

Average Price: Around $39 for 750ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 45.2%

Why We Like It: Woodford Reserve has a deliciously smooth profile and is considered the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby.

Woodford Reserve is a popular bourbon brand from the Brown Forman Corporation, which also produces the famous Jack Daniels and the Old Forester. 

The Brown Forman Corporation in Kentucky has been creating smooth whiskey, and its Woodford Reserve is a whiskey produced in a Civil War Era distillery.

Alternatives To Try

Bourbon Extract

All bourbon extracts are from bourbon but are alcohol-free. It is also versatile in making drinks or in cooking. 

Bourbon extract is a great alternative when making an alcohol-free mocktail, especially in Kentucky Sunrise or Manhattan. But it’s highly concentrated, so you must only use a few drops.

Unlike bourbon, you can’t rehydrate dried fruits with bourbon extract. However, pure bourbon vanilla extract can be used in cakes, cookies, and ice cream. 

Cognac

Cognac is a type of brandy made in France. [2] It’s a French liquor that works well with Jim Beam, but it is also a good alternative for Jim Beam. 

You can use cognac’s deeper flavor in chocolate pastries and unique sauces while incorporating rich ingredients such as brown sugar, soy sauce, cheese, olive oil, and nuts. 

Brandy

Consider brandy an excellent choice for cooking when substituting a bottle of Jim Beam. It goes well with savory dishes like chicken, fish, beef cheeks, steak sauces, and lobster soups.

Since this distilled alcohol has a sweeter-tasting flavor than Jim Beam, its liqueur is also perfect for dessert recipes such as cakes, chocolate desserts, and pastries like pecan pie. 

Rum

Rum is spicier and sweeter with a prominent molasses flavor than Jim Beam. It is also considered a versatile ingredient in the culinary world.

You’ll love savoring it in cocktail making, but you can also perfect your barbecue ribs when you drench them in a rum marinade.

Rum also goes well in sweet desserts like coffee mousse and rum balls. But we recommend you adjust the sweetener in your recipe for balanced flavors.

FAQs

Is Jim Beam whiskey or brandy?

Jim Beam is not a brandy but a bourbon, a type of American whiskey. It is famously known as one of the world’s best-selling brands of Kentucky bourbon whiskey.

What is the best Jim Beam substitute for cooking?

In cooking, we recommend an affordable bottle like Wild Turkey or Four Roses. But you can also use brandy as an alternative.

Although the brandy flavor might vary by brand, it’s a great liquor for all kinds of food, both sweet and savory dishes.

Key Takeaways

Jim Beam is one of the classic American liquors with a great trademark in offering the best bourbons.

Fortunately, you can substitute it with brands having the same notable flavors.

You can substitute your Jim Beam with a Heaven Hill or Knob Creek bottle if you prefer a higher alcohol content.

But if you want a cheaper version, go for Maker’s Mark or Four Roses.

Also, when using it in cooking, you can replace your Jim Beam with the same quantities of cognac, brandy, rum, or alcohol-free bourbon extracts.

Whatever your purpose, may it be for drinking or cooking, our top bourbon recommendations above are all excellent Jim Beam substitutes.

References:

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/bradjaphe/2020/07/29/angels-envy-releases-first-ever-bourbon-finished-in-japanese-whisky-barrels/ 
  2. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/cognac