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8 Best Well Whiskey Brands Listed (2024 Updated)

Well Whiskey Brands 

Last Updated on February 24, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Bartenders make well drinks by default using the liquor they think is best and easily accessible – unless you request a particular brand of spirit. 

But while you can freely ask for a specific liquor brand, it can be hard to decide which spirit should make up your well drink. 

For this reason, we asked several bartenders for their recommended well whiskey brands that you need to try now, so read on. 

Top 8 Well Whiskey Brands Recommended By Bartenders 

8. Old Grand Dad Bonded Bourbon 

Close Up Shot of Old Grand Dad Bonded Bourbon Bottle

Average Price: Roughly $24.99 /375ml (Total Wine)

ABV: 50% ABV 

Why We Like It: Old Grand-Dad Bonded is a high-proof bourbon that stands out in various applications, such as Old-Fashioneds and whiskey [1] sours. 

Also, it is very popular among whiskey drinkers due to its higher rye content.

Its tobacco notes, which are very sweet and spicy, are a great addition to any cocktail or shot. 

7. Old Overholt Rye Whiskey

old man holding Old Overholt Rye Bottle

Average Price: Roughly $18.99 /750ml (Total Wine)

ABV: 40% ABV 

Why We Like It: This is a great steal for anyone who enjoys drinking generally and not-at-all-harsh whiskey. 

It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a robust yet balanced rye with a subtle vanilla note. 

Although this spirit isn’t that complex, it remains a solid choice if you’re looking for something that will stand out.

6. Four Roses Yellow Label Bourbon

Four Roses Yellow Label Bourbon on a bar counter

Average Price: Roughly $23.99 /750ml (Caskers)

ABV: 40% ABV 

Why We Like It: This bourbon is so consistent and affordable that many bartenders, from amateur to professional, like to stock up on it. 

Its smooth and well-rounded character is great in various drinks, and it is hard to replace it with another brand due to how it hits the perfect balance between oak, spice, and fruit. 

5. Jim Beam Rye

Bottle of Jim Beam Rye

Average Price: Roughly $18.99 /750ml (Total Wine)

ABV: 40% ABV 

Why We Like It: This well whiskey is made with only 51% rye grain. Despite this, it still manages to taste like bourbon. 

Jim Beam Rye is a spicy and warm drink with a black pepper bite and hints of oak and vanilla.

The finish is warm, with hints of caramel, honey, and chocolate. 

It’s also full of bitter mint and Licorice. This bottle is a heavy and substantial drink that can you can enjoy neat. 

4. Dewars White Label Scotch

Dewars White Label Scotch Bottle and a Box on Top of a Wooden Table

Average Price: Roughly $17.99 /750ml (Total Wine)

ABV: 40% ABV

Why We Like It: This classic blend will not overwhelm you with its complexity or peat. It will help train your palate and deepen your appreciation for more complex Scottish spirits. 

“My God, so much I like to drink Scotch that sometimes I think my name is Igor Stra-whiskey.”

— Igor Stravinsky, Composer/Russian Pianist

It’s woody, and the peaty finish lingers on the mouth for around 10 minutes after you’ve finished drinking it. This is a great blend to enjoy with a long finish.

3. Rittenhouse Bottled-in-Bond Rye Whiskey

Rittenhouse Bottled-in-Bond Rye Whiskey Bottle with glass and a plant on the table

Average Price: Roughly $23.99 /750ml (Total Wine)

ABV: 50% ABV 

Why We Like It: Rittenhouse Rye is the perfect blend of both classic and modern whiskeys, and it’s also very spicy with a gentle finish. 

This bottle delivers everything one could need from a rye whiskey. 

We agree with the claims that no other Rye can match this flavor.

It’s great on its own or in combination with other drinks due to its distinct spicy and dried fruit note.

2. Wild Turkey 101

Average Price: Roughly $19.99 /750ml (Total Wine)

ABV: 50.5% ABV 

Why We Like It: This rich, scrumptious bourbon has plenty of alcohol, heat, and spice. It’s a great addition to an Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Boulevardier, or for sipping neat.

The Wild Turkey 101 is known for its classic flavors, but it also has a distinct and unique spice that sets it apart from other spirits. 

Overall, this is a straightforward and drinkable spirit. It’s also very mellow, which is ideal for many situations.

1. Black Bottle Blended Scotch

woman holding Black Bottle Blended Scotch Whisky

Average Price: around $37.99 /750ml (Total Wine)

ABV: 40% ABV 

Why We Like It: This blend is known for its elegant and complex flavor, with hints of brine and sea air. 

You can get the spicy, sweet, smoky, and grainy character –all at once. It’s very subtle on the nose with hints of spices, floral, and toffee. 

The palate is filled with burnt sugars, spice, and fruity notes – finished with honeyed sweetness and smoke.

This is a very simple and refreshing blend of whisky that will leave you wanting more. But the best thing about this drink is that it is very affordable.

What is a Well Whiskey? 

Well whiskeys are usually cheap liquors stored in a convenient area near the bar counter. These drinks are also known as “speed rack,” “speed rail,” or “well drink.” 

The well is the best place to store the most commonly poured liquors, as it’s easy to access, and a good bartender can quickly make a drink out of it.

A well whiskey is typically served in cocktails [2], or it is used in making mixed drinks.

It is usually mixed with tonic water [3], club soda, simple syrups, vermouth, sour mix, bitters, grenadine, etc. 

When To Drink Well Whiskey 

While you can certainly drink well whiskey at any time, some bars offer specials during specific times. 

The most recommended time for drinking well whiskey is during happy hour. There are offerings of good deals that you can save some bucks for your next shot. 

But it’s important to know what type of liquor or drink you’re looking for.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is well liquor a bottom shelf?

Yes, well liquor is typically considered to be on the bottom shelf of the bar. Well liquor refers to the lower-priced, non-premium spirits that are readily available and commonly used as the house pour in bars and restaurants.

These spirits are often used in mixed drinks and cocktails where the quality of the liquor is less important than the other ingredients.

Is Jameson a well drink?

No, Jameson is not typically considered a well drink. Jameson is a popular Irish whiskey known for its smoothness and distinct flavor profile. It is classified as a premium or top-shelf spirit and is often priced higher than well liquors.

Jameson is commonly enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails where its quality and flavor can be appreciated.

What is a premium well drink?

A premium well drink refers to a higher-quality spirit that is still used as the house pour in bars and restaurants. While well liquor is often considered to be of lower quality and typically comes from the bottom shelf, premium well drinks are upgraded versions of these standard spirits.

Premium well drinks may include mid-range brands or slightly higher-priced options that offer better quality and flavor compared to traditional well liquors.

Can I drink whiskey well? 

Yes, you can certainly drink whiskey as a well drink if it is available at the establishment and offered as part of their house pour selection. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that the term “well drink” typically refers to the lower-priced, non-premium spirits used in mixed drinks and cocktails.

If you choose to order whiskey as a well drink, it may be mixed with other ingredients in cocktails such as whiskey sours or whiskey and cola.

If you prefer to enjoy the quality and flavor of whiskey on its own, you may want to order a specific brand or type of whiskey from the bar’s selection of premium spirits.

Are there any benefits to using whiskey brands well? 

Using well whiskey brands can offer several benefits for both establishments and customers. For establishments, well whiskey brands are often more affordable, allowing them to manage costs while still offering a selection of spirits for mixed drinks and cocktails.

Well whiskey brands are also widely available and familiar to customers, making them an accessible choice for a house pour.

For customers, well whiskey brands provide a budget-friendly option for enjoying mixed drinks and cocktails without sacrificing quality.

Do they taste different from premium whiskies? 

Yes, well whiskey brands may have a simpler flavor profile compared to premium or aged whiskies. They might lack the depth and complexity found in higher-end options but can still be enjoyable in mixed drinks.

What types of drinks can I make with whiskey? 

Well whiskey is versatile and can be used in various cocktails, such as whiskey sours, old fashioneds, whiskey and soda, or even simple mixed drinks like whiskey and cola.

Are well whiskey brands cheap?

Well whiskey brands are generally more affordable because they’re mass-produced and may not have the same level of complexity or aging as higher-end whiskies. However, they can still offer a decent drinking experience, especially when mixed in cocktails.

Final Thoughts

A well drink isn’t always mixed with cheap and low-quality spirits. You can request a particular brand and even make it a premium drink. 

But cheap doesn’t mean low-quality spirits. With all the liquor brands on this list, you can still enjoy delicious and satisfying drinks without sacrificing your budget. 

References:

  1. Whiskey distilled liquor
  2. Can a Cocktail Help Save the Planet?
  3. What is tonic water?
  4. Why Grey Goose is pouring more marketing dollars into metaverse
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