4 Best Whiskey For Cocktails According To Bartenders

Best Whiskey


When you delve into the world of mixology, especially in the realm of whiskey-based cocktails, the spirit's choice becomes paramount. Every whiskey has a distinct flavor profile, and understanding which one melds seamlessly with certain ingredients can elevate a drink from good to sublime. Through the counsel of seasoned bartenders, we've identified the best whiskey for cocktails that not only shines on its own but also beautifully complements the smoky allure from a cocktail smoker kit.

The American Classic: Bourbon

Originating from the USA, bourbon is characterized by its caramel sweetness, robust body, and vanilla undertones, making it an incredibly versatile spirit for cocktails. Bartenders appreciate its adaptability, as it can stand as the bold protagonist in cocktails like the Old Fashioned or play a more harmonious role in whiskey sours.

Its robust nature ensures that when infused with smoke using a cocktail smoker kit, it absorbs and complements the flavors without losing its core essence. If you’re keen on experiencing the classic American cocktail culture, bourbon is your go-to spirit.

The Smooth Operator: Canadian Whiskey

Canadian whiskey, often referred to as "rye" irrespective of its actual composition, is known for its smoothness and lightness. Bartenders often lean on this spirit for cocktails that demand a whiskey backbone without overpowering other flavors. Think of drinks like the Whiskey Smash or the Classic Whiskey Highball.

While Canadian whiskey might be subtle compared to its counterparts, it carries a unique spiciness. This element makes it ideal for those who prefer a less aggressive whiskey note in their drinks. And when combined with oak barrels for aging, this whiskey's nuances get more pronounced, adding an extra layer of depth to any cocktail.

The Robust Choice: Scotch

Scotch, hailing from Scotland, is often considered a sipper's delight. However, its rich, smoky, and sometimes peaty profile makes it a bartender's favorite, especially for cocktails that demand a pronounced whiskey flavor. Drinks like the Rob Roy or the Rusty Nail stand testament to Scotch's dominance.

Using Scotch in a cocktail is akin to playing with fire – it's bold, assertive, and can either make or break a drink. But, in skilled hands, the resulting cocktail can be a symphony of flavors. When Scotch, especially the peated varieties, is paired with a cocktail smoker kit, the resulting smokiness can transport you straight to the misty Scottish highlands with just a sip. 

The Versatile Spirit: Irish Whiskey

Irish whiskey is often the unsung hero of the whiskey world. Known for its silky texture and slightly sweet, malty profile, it finds favor among bartenders for its versatility. Whether it's the iconic Irish Coffee, the refreshing Tipperary, or the simple and elegant Whiskey Ginger, Irish whiskey often serves as the backbone.

Bartenders often recommend this for those who are newly venturing into the world of whiskey-based cocktails. Its gentle flavor profile ensures that it doesn't overpower, yet it carries enough character to make its presence felt. When aged in oak barrels, Irish whiskey often develops a deeper character, making it even more delightful in cocktails.

The art of crafting the perfect cocktail is not just about the mix but also about the core spirit. Choosing the best whiskey for cocktails can drastically influence the end result, creating a drink that resonates with both the creator and the drinker.