Best Whiskey Under $40 (Top 5)

ultmiate guide to whiskey roamilicious

If you’re looking to buy a bottle of whiskey, you’re probably looking to spend less than $40. While there are tons of affordable whiskeys out there, which ones are the best and most unique?

What is Whiskey?

Whiskey is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. While it has been around for centuries, modern whiskey is a relatively recent invention.

Some people argue that the name whiskey comes from the Irish word uisce beatha, which means water of life, others believe that it is a Gaelic word. 

Is Irish Whiskey the best? Irish Whiskey vs Whiskey made in Scotland

The first category is Irish whiskey. While many people assume that only Ireland makes whiskey, it’s actually Scotland that is home to the majority of the world’s distilleries. The reason is that Scotland has cooler weather, which gives its whiskey a smoother taste. Irish whiskey is usually made from a mix of malted barley and unmalted barley.

How to make a perfect whiskey sour

Whiskey Sour

A whiskey sour is a classic cocktail made by mixing bourbon or Scotch with a sweet, sour, and spicy blend. It’s usually served up with a straw and garnished with a lime wedge.

But did you know that there are many ways to make a whiskey sour?

You can easily make a whiskey sour at home by following a few simple steps.

First, mix a shot of whiskey with a teaspoon of simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water). Second, add the juice of half a lime. Third, top off with club soda or sparkling water.

While the basic recipe may seem straightforward, you’ll quickly see that there are countless variations. Some versions call for orange juice, others use fresh fruit, and others add rum.

Here are our favorite Whiskies under $40

Mercer + Prince ($32) 

Image Courtesy of Mercer + Prince

This whisky is a blended Canadian whisky born at the intersection of art and culture.This is a new release from pop artist,  A$AP Rocky.This bottle is absolutely gorgeous and I’ve absolutely loved having it on my bar cart. But what does it taste like? Complex profile with fruit aromas on the nose, smooth vanilla and caramel notes on the palate layered with intense hints of baked apple and cinnamon from the Japanese Mizunara Oak influence. It is hard to believe something this tasty is only $32. It would make for a great gift for any whisky lover. 

Cooper’s Craft Bourbon Whiskey ($30)

Lovely and affordable Bourbon Whiskey – Coopers Craft

Coopers’ Craft bourbon is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, which uses a unique beech and birch charcoal-filter finishing process for a smooth and flavorful bourbon. Another reasonably priced whisky that is smooth. I loved the spicy cinnamon finish on this whiskey. I’m not a huge fan of oak and this is light on the oak and super smooth. You can make cocktails if you like but this is so delicious you won’t want to waste it on mixers. 

Slane Irish Whiskey (37.99)

Whiskey pairs well with all kinds of food

The triple distilling is this brand’s not-so-secret way of achieving it’s distinctly delicious taste.  Their aged in virgin oak, seasoned oak and sherry casks for a rich but  smooth taste. I didn’t taste the oak or sherry but did taste more of a brown sugar / butterscotch mixture. And boy did it make for some fabulous cocktails like their Irish Sands with Slane Whiskey, rum and grenadine. Yum! Slane Irish Whiskey was created in 2017 by Brown-Forman, a leader in whiskey since 1870, in partnership with family of Slane Castle, whose roots in Ireland date back more than three centuries. You can book a tour on your next trip to Ireland.

Fireside Whiskey ($28.99)

It smells slightly sugary at first, possibly with vanilla or marshmallow. As it dissolves, it is also sweet but slightly softened by heat. The marshmallow flavor is more pronounced and the aftertaste is still sweet. After swallowing, it remains on the tongue for about 20 seconds.

Ransom Bourbon Whiskey (30.99)

Image courtesy of Ransom Whiskey

Deep chestnut in color with classic bourbon aromas – notes of toffee and soft caramel, this is a strong whiskey perfect for sipping in front of a fire during winter. This will warm you right down to your bone. But it would also be great in cocktails. It has hints of cocoa and anise giving a rich, complex flavor to any cocktail. Honey and rye notes are evident too. This is definitely something I would consider adding to a blind whiskey tasting. 

FAQs about Whiskey

What is the difference between whiskey and scotch?

The difference between whiskey and scotch is more than semantics. They are two different types of alcohol with distinct flavors and characteristics.

Scotch is made from grain, whereas whiskey is made from grain, barley, or rye. Scotch typically has a higher alcohol content (around 50%), while whiskey typically has a lower alcohol content (around 40%).

Scotch is typically smoother, sweeter, and more subtle than whiskey.

Bourbon vs. Whiskey

Bourbon is a type of whiskey, which is made from fermented mash of grain. This means that it contains no grain, but must have been aged in barrels for at least 2 years. However the process is more complex and the end result is a more sweeter tasting drink.

Whiskey is made from fermented mash of grain. This means that it contains grain, but has been aged for at least 2 years.

What is Single Malt Whiskey?

Single malt whiskey is the best. There is no debate. However, the price range can be tricky. While a small batch may cost $20-30, most of the major brands can cost $50+ per bottle.

While whiskey is generally cheaper in Ireland than in the United States, this is not the case for single malt whiskey.

Why you should not mix whiskey with Coke

A great whiskey has the right amount of sweetness, a smooth finish, and the right amount of bitterness.When mixed with cola, however, the whiskey loses its character. The cola takes away all the complexity and nuance of the whiskey, and it leaves a drink that tastes like a watered-down version of Coca-Cola.

Ultimate guide to whiskies. The different types based on production and location, best whiskey cocktails. Best affordable whiskies!
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About the author

Malika Bowling

Malika is the author of several books including Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More! and the founder of Roamilicious. She is also a Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultant. Follow us @Roamilicious on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for the content not shared on the blog. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter (subscribe box below) and never miss a contest, giveaway or the latest must visit restaurant!