What is your favorite stand alone liquor? No mixers, juice, beer etc.
November 7, 2007 2:02 PM   Subscribe

What is your favorite stand alone liquor? No mixers, juice, beer etc.

I have just recently began reading reviews on different kinds of scotch (for example) and marvel at all the wonderful sounding tastes/smells they describe. I'm looking for a few to try with my dad on his upcoming birthday. Please help me find a new drink! Optional links, favored online stores, taste decriptions are appreciated!
posted by Mardigan to Food & Drink (102 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
Hands down I love Makers Mark - Kentucky bourbon whiskey
posted by doorsfan at 2:05 PM on November 7, 2007

Four way tie:

1. Cognac (or good Brandy)
2. Jameson or Bushnells on ice
3. grappa
4. bourbon (Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, etc) and cool water -- no ice

All can be had for reasonable price. I am not into spending excessively on booze. Grappa is carried by Bevmo. It is a sort of brandy made by distilling the grape 'residue' (skins mainly, but also seeds/stems) left over when wine is made.
posted by jockc at 2:13 PM on November 7, 2007

Bourbon. Or, really, whiskey of any sort. Do a tasting! Bourbon is very different from Irish whisky, which is very different from Scotch ... taste them side by side, or multiple brands of one type. I'll come over and help.
posted by librarina at 2:16 PM on November 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

I purchased a bottle of Ancient Age, intending to mix it so's I could have a nostalgic experience.
I ended up liking it a bit too much. Strong caramels and vanillas with a touch of chewing tobacco, but very little of the dirt and burn-your-face-off that I remember from those days of yore.
I also like Old Grandad and Old Overholt.
Maybe I like things with Old and Ancient in their names.
I might have to retry some Old Crow, the plastic bottle of my youth.

Other than that, I like Woodford Reserve.
I really enjoyed Rowan Creek Bourbon when I sprung for that.
posted by Seamus at 2:19 PM on November 7, 2007

I like Laphroaig but it's on the very peaty end of the scale, so it's an acquired taste. Much lighter, and much different is Glenlivet was the whisky I first really liked. Glenmorangie is a good all rounder.

My usual everyday drink is Jameson Irish Whiskey... in fact I think I'll have one now. Cheers!

Oh and it's no ice, no water...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:20 PM on November 7, 2007

Jameson, all the way.
posted by kpmcguire at 2:20 PM on November 7, 2007

Ditto Glenmorangie. I had a Suntory Hibiki whiskey while I was in Japan last month that was particularly nice, as well.

Of course, there's Jagermeister, if I'm feeling particularly self-destructive. Or Licor 43.
posted by deadmessenger at 2:25 PM on November 7, 2007

rum, Barcelo Imperial from the Dominican Republic
posted by barrakuda at 2:26 PM on November 7, 2007

Blanton's bourbon
Herradura tequila anejo reposado
posted by pepcorn at 2:27 PM on November 7, 2007

People will think me insane, but I enjoy a good silver tequila over ice.
posted by jmd82 at 2:30 PM on November 7, 2007

The Macallan is delicious, so is a (heresy! blended!) Scotch from the Hebrides, called Te Bheaig.

You might also want to try some really good gin. Hendrick's is spectacular--light and floral and cucumbery. There's also a delicious one called Old Raj that makes Hendrick's (which is was my absolute favourite) taste like dishwater mixed with turpentine.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:31 PM on November 7, 2007

Scotch, probably Lagavulin as my favourite, although I also like the Macallan.
posted by Crosius at 2:31 PM on November 7, 2007

I never tire of The Macallan (scotch) or Zaya (rum).
posted by malocchio at 2:32 PM on November 7, 2007

Mmm, Jameson neat. Another vote. And Maker's Mark.

And in an entirely different direction, Soju.
posted by solotoro at 2:34 PM on November 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Scotch is the liquor I'll order in bars and pubs, but Jagermeister is what I buy in bottled form - because it's so tasty and also very cheap in European duty free shops.
posted by Flashman at 2:40 PM on November 7, 2007

Rum. In particular, Don Q and Mount Gay.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 2:42 PM on November 7, 2007

Scotch. Glenlivet is my favorite.

But as they say, any glen will do.
posted by zazerr at 2:42 PM on November 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Campari. A strong shot fridge cold after dinner. It's heaven. You have to like bitter flavors though.
posted by aspo at 2:44 PM on November 7, 2007

posted by kuujjuarapik at 2:45 PM on November 7, 2007

Whiskies of various types are getting a lot of rec's, but I'll still pile on;

Wild Turkey Rye is very near perfect.

Rye, in my opinion, is the best of the whiskey types since it overcomes some of the shortcomings of either bourbon, which can be over-sweet, or scotch, which can drift towards the medicinal. Smooth and complex.
posted by kickback at 2:45 PM on November 7, 2007

Bourbon. I particularly like Elijah Craig.
posted by sanka at 2:46 PM on November 7, 2007

Good bourbon; I'm partial to either Jim Beam's black label, or Jack Daniels. I've tried some of the premium bourbons, but to me they're a diminishing-returns proposition. The difference between regular Jim and Jim Black is very noticeable, but I don't really have a preference between that and Knob Creek or any of the top shelfs.

I normally take mine either neat, or with one ice cube. I like my bourbon just at or slightly below room temperature.

When I'm looking to have a more ... aggressive (for lack of a better word) ... drink, something for toasting rather than slow sipping, I like chilled vodka. I've tried most of the good brands and I really like Finlandia. I find that it has a very distinct, very smooth, almost vanilla-ish flavor. In a pinch I'll drink Absolut, but it's a far second.

I've also enjoyed some very nice scotches, but I don't know enough about them to really recommend one.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:49 PM on November 7, 2007

Yeah, Glenmorangie is at a great pricepoint (~50-60/750mL in Canada, I remember it being >$100 USD - back when the loonie was at $0.75 - in Iowa).

Bushmills is a nice Irish. Try the Black Bush - it's not much more expensive than the 1607.

Finlandia is a great vodka. No need to pay an extra $40 for the paper label on that bottle of Grey Goose.
posted by porpoise at 2:50 PM on November 7, 2007

For a great bourbon tasting, try Woodford Reserve and Old Forrester side-by-side. One is much more expensive than the other, but here's the cool thing: they're the exact same liquid. Woodford comes from the barrels from the "sweet spot" of the Old Forrester warehouses. Exact same liquid, very different results.
posted by jbickers at 2:51 PM on November 7, 2007

If I could get the 130 year old bottle of Metaxa that my father-in-law shared with my family and I a few years ago, that would be it hands down...

But a good scotch (Bunnahabhain is tasty) is my usual go-to. Also, tequila. I've got a warm place in my heart for Cuervo Gold.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 2:55 PM on November 7, 2007

The best gin in the world is the Leopold Brothers top-shelf gin. Hands down. Drink it neat.
posted by klangklangston at 2:56 PM on November 7, 2007

Oh, and Aquavit! Delicious, alcoholic pickle flavor. Sounds odd, I know. Crazy Scandinavians...
posted by Pantengliopoli at 2:58 PM on November 7, 2007

Tito's Handmade Vodka.
posted by snowjoe at 2:58 PM on November 7, 2007

thirding Woodford Reserve
posted by SBMike at 3:00 PM on November 7, 2007

Brandy. Specifically, Germain-Robin XO brandy, made in California. I like everything they make (that I've tried), but I am particulary in love with their XO.
posted by rtha at 3:03 PM on November 7, 2007

Tito's is lovely, also nthing the Macallan. Jager is fun if you can handle a licorice flavor, and I also drink flavored vodkas when I'm in the mood for something unchallenging - a chilled shot of Absolute Citron is pleasant.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:04 PM on November 7, 2007

If you can find Junipero from Anchor Distilling (the same people who make Anchor Steam™ beer), it's wonderful and makes a great martini (which is standalone, the way I make mine).
posted by slogger at 3:05 PM on November 7, 2007

posted by timeistight at 3:11 PM on November 7, 2007

Southern Comfort.
Rumplemintz, ice cold!
posted by maloon at 3:11 PM on November 7, 2007

Glenmorangie, although the other big glens are all quite nice. For sipping tequila, I like the Corazon blanko. The other Corazon's are fairly disappointing.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 3:12 PM on November 7, 2007

Another vote for Glenmorangie.
posted by cog_nate at 3:15 PM on November 7, 2007

posted by kanemano at 3:16 PM on November 7, 2007

Another fan of Jameson's or Maker's Mark.
posted by scody at 3:25 PM on November 7, 2007

Woodford Reserve used to be my favorite bourbon, but then I went to a tasting party where we tried a dozen brands blind. Van Winkle is my new favorite, and it seemed like that was the general consensus at the party.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 3:29 PM on November 7, 2007

Tito's has nice buttery flavor neat or on the rocks.
I am usually not a vodka fan, but I will drink that.
posted by Seamus at 3:30 PM on November 7, 2007

Malt Whisky, either Scapa, the older Springbanks (I have a 32 year old, far from cheap but wow!) or Coal Ila (I particularly like the 18 year old).
posted by hardcode at 3:38 PM on November 7, 2007

In no particular order

Bourbon (Booker's, Baker's)
Tequila (A nice Reposado)
Brandy (Cardenal Medoza is my absolute favorite)
Hendrick's Gin is really nice neat
A single Limoncello can be a nice digestif after a big meal
posted by ob at 3:41 PM on November 7, 2007

Seconding Campari, on ice or just served cold. Wondering, selfishly, what else that means I should like . . .
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 3:42 PM on November 7, 2007

Cardhu, Macallan or Oban.
posted by juv3nal at 3:42 PM on November 7, 2007

I like Jura. It has a rich peaty flavor that I actually notice.
posted by TheSlate at 3:48 PM on November 7, 2007

I like Lagavulin scotch, very peaty as described about another scotch above by Fearfulsymmetry. Hard to explain, tastes like burning coal smells? Oh, and no water. No ice.

Another direction entirely, I also like a nice Saki, warmed, and if served properly becomes quite an interesting social event. My favourite is Gekkeikan, although I honestly have no idea if it is considered good by those in the know. I only know I like it.

Knob Hill bourbon is a great drink also, but it seems to really hurt me if I imbibe too much, unlike scotch. Highly recommended, though.

Rye whiskey - Alberta Springs is a very nice sipping rye - on the rocks, and cold.
posted by fox_terrier_guy at 3:52 PM on November 7, 2007

Campari's wonderful, but I tend to mix with that (hooray for Negronis!) more often than I drink it by itself. I quite like Cynar on the rocks, with a twist of lemon if that doesn't violate the rules. You will need to appreciate bitter things, but if you do, it's oh-so-spot-hitting. I'm looking at you, incidentally, Clyde Mnestra.

Oh, and I'm fond of Teacher's, in the realm of blended Scotch.
posted by mumkin at 3:52 PM on November 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Since it hasn't been mentioned yet, a good armagnac, straight up.
posted by gimonca at 3:56 PM on November 7, 2007

Another vote for Glenlivet, but I also like Citadelle (gin) by itself.
posted by deern the headlice at 3:59 PM on November 7, 2007

heh, I must be the only one cheap enough to say Peppermint Schnapps. It's especially wonderful during the winter. I like the Hiram Walker brand. Up with peppyschnapps!

Other than that, I drink Irish whiskey straight (Jameson or Bushmills).
posted by vorfeed at 3:59 PM on November 7, 2007

Any Patron tequila, but I especially like the Reposado.

Single Malt Scotch, preferably The Balvenie or Glenfiddich.

These are all nice, robust, oakey, smokey drinks. The Balvenie is a bit sharper than most Scotches, as it is partially aged in a sherry barrel, which gives it a nice flavor.
posted by lekvar at 4:03 PM on November 7, 2007

Islay scotch, particularly Laphroaig (like drinking an old dock piling), with just a tiny few drops of water or one small ice-cube in the less expensive kinds.

Good old Jack Daniels on the rocks or one of the fancier Bourbons, I used to drink a bunch of Wild Turkey until I realized one day it tasted like garbage squeezings.

Stoli neat from the freezer or on the rocks with a little lemon, I also like Tito's and it's cheap.

A nice calvados after a big meal is great.

I've been in the middle of a booze vacation, but when I get back on the horse I think I'll have one of each.
posted by Divine_Wino at 4:05 PM on November 7, 2007

Bushmills. Maybe I'll have one now.
posted by filmgeek at 4:10 PM on November 7, 2007

Jack Daniels Single Barrel, if I'm in the mood for a sippin' whiskey.

Oban or Laphroiag for a Scotch.

Tanqueray Ranjpur (the ads suck, the gin is good, more citrus than juniper notes) or 10 for a gin. (Hennessy and Hendricks' don't agree with me.)

If you can find it, Absente (absinthe without the bitter wormwood -- the taste isn't exactly like a friend's homemade absinthe, but he doesn't make much) is very good, but very licorice-y (as you might expect).

I was introduced to Becherovka. a few weeks ago. Yummy stuff, but I have no idea where you'd find it. (Somebody brought it to a party, and I had to leave before I found out where s/he bought it. wine delight claims to have it, but I've never tried ordering liquor online.)
posted by jlkr at 4:12 PM on November 7, 2007

Now I feel a little weird that nobody has mentioned Crown Royal yet.

How on earth is everybody storing their Scrabble tiles if not for those purple bags?

It's cheap and it's good. Somewhat singular; if I feel like one and there isn't one, I move to another variety of booze entirely, not another whisky. Very easy-sipping with a bit of ice.

If his birthday isn't too too soon, you can get free personalized labels for the bottle.
posted by kmennie at 4:15 PM on November 7, 2007

I don't have a favorite scotch, my favorite liquor is house tequila in the summer. Which probably doesn't help you much.

Or Absolut Vanilla in the winter.
posted by sondrialiac at 4:23 PM on November 7, 2007

Weller bourbon. Made with a significant wheat component, it's sweet and buttery, and oddly, not expensive.

Any single malt Scotch.

If you like rum, Ron Zapaca, 23 year old.

I don't drink, but when I did, these were favorites. Weller is at the top, but not nearly as complex as various Scotches.
posted by FauxScot at 4:24 PM on November 7, 2007

Krupnik - a locally produced honey vodka (local to Poland, that is)
posted by jedrek at 4:24 PM on November 7, 2007

Elmer T Lee Kentucky bourbon whiskey
Made at the "Buffalo Trace" distillery. Retails for less than 25 dollars a bottle usually and I've never had a better bourbon.

posted by Kioki-Silver at 4:33 PM on November 7, 2007

Knob Creek, with two distilled water ice cubes.

Myers Dark Rum on the rocks in the summer.

I just had Van Gogh espresso vodka the other night, which honestly, was pretty friggin' awesome.
posted by Phoenix42 at 4:40 PM on November 7, 2007

I almost forgot! Wild Turkey Rare Breed Single Barrel. It backs a punch, but it's great.
posted by Phoenix42 at 4:42 PM on November 7, 2007

Canadian guy seconds the Crown Royal suggestion, how typical.
posted by travosaurus at 5:04 PM on November 7, 2007

Pastis (all it needs is some cold water)

Decent bourbon -- Makers Mark or Jack Daniel's
posted by brain cloud at 5:06 PM on November 7, 2007

Goldschläger. Yum!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 5:12 PM on November 7, 2007

I was weaned on Jameson but I'll take the Redbreast if I can get it, that's some smooth drinking Irish.
posted by nicwolff at 5:17 PM on November 7, 2007

I would be remiss (since I'm a native) if I didn't point out that Jack Daniels is not actually a bourbon, It's a Tennessee Whiskey (using the Lincoln County Process. That Said, try George Dickel for a different take on the Tennessee Whiskey.

Otherwise, I'm seconding what a lot of folks have already said - Powers Gold Label is my personal favorite, Maker's Mark, Bushmills Black... Or try some rums - Darker spiced rums, or something flavored can be an interesting sip. I've been known to carry a flask of Malibu to a social occasion...
posted by pupdog at 5:21 PM on November 7, 2007

Irish Whiskey. The ten year single malt Bushmills is a great bargain, at around $35 (it costs the same as Bushmills Black, but is loads better, in my opinion).
posted by solipsophistocracy at 5:33 PM on November 7, 2007

Thirding rye whiskey. Old Overholt is amazing for its price point.
posted by saladin at 5:59 PM on November 7, 2007

Absolutely nothing is better than a good cognac. A little pricey, though.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 6:01 PM on November 7, 2007

Gin, especially Sarticious Gin from Santa Cruz. A different mix of flavors than most gins, but still tastes like gin. I'm lucky they weren't making it when I went to school there.
posted by cftarnas at 6:04 PM on November 7, 2007

So at the reception following a friend's wedding, the father of the groom wanders over to me while I'm in the midst of tying one on. The groom has a German grandmother and with my two semesters of German 121 under my belt, it's my job to keep her entertained. After establishing that my name is Drew and I do not know which way the library is, we've resorted to the universal language of drinking beer.

The groom's dad places his hand on my shoulder. "My son says you like rum," he says, plopping down a shot glass of something. "This... this is Rum."

I could hear the capital letter there. This was a Big Deal.

Not wanting to offend, I say, "You bet I like rum, sir!" and promptly shoot the Rum. The dad gets this horribly shocked look on his face, somewhere between finding a ding in your car door and seeing a bird fly into a plate glass window.

"That's not how you drink Rum!"

"Uh, that's how I drink rum... How should I drink Rum?"

He pours me another shot glass. "You sip it! You savor it! Drink it slow!"

"Okay.." So I drink it slow. Of course, being a college kid, my concept of 'slow' and 'sipping' is akin to others' 'pound' and 'chug'.

"Wrong again! This is an anjeho Rum. You must drink it slower."

We try again. I'm still too fast. He's somewhere between pity and amusement, so he says, "You will not leave this table until you learn how to drink Rum."

I wince and start to make some excuse about how I don't want to puke, have been drinking, have not had enough to eat, but the words die in my throat as the German-speaking grandmother turns to me and say, I kid you not, "Zoo not be a panzy. Drink Rum!"

I do not know how long it took for me to learn how to drink Rum. There's a huge SCENE MISSING covering most that night. I'm told that not only did I eventually get it right, but was speaking fluent German, leading the room in song, and got the phone number, maybe more, of a bridesmaid.

Several weeks later, after the headache finally subsided, after I could eat solid food again, and after the scratch marks on my back healed, I asked the groom if he could find out exactly what type of Rum that was. After all, it was obviously a magickal drink, a powerful elixir, a tincture of pure awesome. The groom agrees, knowing I need all the help I can get, and says he'll ask his dad.

A few days later, I follow up with the groom. "So, what was it? Is it expensive? Do I have to smuggle it out of Cuba? What's it called?"

The groom looks into his beer and mumbles something.


"I said, it was Captain Morgan's."

I'm shocked. Me and the Captain have made things happen many, many times before. In fact, I'm having some as I type this right now. "No... That couldn't have been Captain Morgan's!" If it was, my entire worldview would crumble. Crumble!

"No," agreed the groom, "I wasn't. That's all my dad would tell me. He says that until you stop drinking rum like an American, that's all he'll tell me."

"But I passed the test!" I whined. "I drank the Rum Right! I had a great night! I didn't even make an ass of myself!"

"You're right, you drank the Rum right and were the life of the party. You harnessed the power of the Rum," he shrugged, inscrutable. "But that's exactly why you can't have any more without the proper supervision. I think he's worried that you use its powers for evil."

"Do you agree with him?"

And my friend, the man whom I served as Best Man at his wedding, who returned the honor at mine, stared nervously into his beer. He did. He did agree.

So that's my favorite stand alone liquor - Mystery Cuban Anjeho. I've thought about trying to find it again, trying Rum after Rum, but really, I'd only be fooling myself. They're right - I would use the power of the Rum for evil. I'd Drink It Right and next thing you know, flames wreath the mountains and the sky runs red.

I just hope that if you, dear reader, ever find your mystical liquor of power that you'll use it far more responsibly than I ever would.

With great booze comes great responsibility.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:09 PM on November 7, 2007 [77 favorites]

If you want to dip into single malts, try Lagavulin or Balvenie. 12 years are fine, but they smoother and more complex with more years. Balvenie is not as well known as the big Glens, but it has a taste that is easier to start enjoying right away, having slight...(I'll say it)...a wee more honey taste. As well as a pretty darn good value.
posted by artdrectr at 6:10 PM on November 7, 2007

Wow..judging by the number of responses I think you have touched off a passionate thread, and that speaks to the delightful nature of discovering all the intricacies of spirits.

I'll second *artdrectr's* plug for Lagavulin...it is probably the most distinctive of the single malts. It is VERY peaty and most people either love it or hate it. I love it but my wife says it smells like Band-Aids!

I'd consider Glenlivet to be "baseline" for single malts. There are several varieties of Glenlivet (15yr, 18yr, and even a cask-strength "Nadurra" that should probably only be taken with a splash of water if you're worried at all about your liver). If you become a regular scotch drinker and have any type of budget you'll come to appreciate Glenlivet. For the price it really can't be beat and since i've watched Lagavulin/Laphroaig/Talisker/Oban labels move from the $40 range up to close to $100 per bottle I find myself turning more to Glenlivet!

For a smoother and more gentle scotch i'd recommend Dalwhinnie...it's very pale but has a wonderful finish.

Macallan is delicious but I do not get from it what others do and i think the "cadillac of malts" honorific to be a bit misplaced. there are many other ultrafine single malts (double matured Glenmorangie anybody? 1967 Springbank?) that I think easily top Macallan.

I think the most important thing to draw from this thread is that stand-alone spirits are MUCH better than any abomination of mixers and can be every bit as delicate and mysterious as wine. Jump in, find a good merchant and begin exploring. You have a lifetime to do it and I guarantee you'll enjoy every sip of it!
posted by monkeybutt at 6:32 PM on November 7, 2007

posted by iguanapolitico at 6:37 PM on November 7, 2007

I recommend some different vodkas - I personally hate most straight hard liquor, since it tastes like hairspray or high school to me, and when I get whiskey in my system I start getting fighty.

Let me heartily recommend Zubrowka - I got to drink some at a vodka-drinking party I was at, and it was awesome. I drank some smuggled-in kind, that I think has coumarin in it, but it doesn't have it here in the States.
posted by mckenney at 7:11 PM on November 7, 2007

posted by whoaali at 7:15 PM on November 7, 2007

posted by wv kay in ga at 7:17 PM on November 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

bourbon: Maker's Mark
scotch: Glenlivet
for kicks: Licor 43
for kicks in the head: Black Haus
posted by Melinika at 7:17 PM on November 7, 2007

Just typing the word makes me want some. It's indescribable. Please try it. Straight. Those Scots know their alcohol.
posted by wv kay in ga at 7:21 PM on November 7, 2007

Oh, and really good tequila is totally worth it. I was amazed to discover tequila can be sipped... without puking... and enjoyed, even.
posted by Melinika at 7:22 PM on November 7, 2007

posted by wv kay in ga at 7:28 PM on November 7, 2007

Armagnac is indeed wonderful, and usually much better and more interesting than cognac at that same pricepoint.
posted by kickingtheground at 7:33 PM on November 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Tuaca - think Brandy with Vanilla and Citrus notes. Yummy on ice.
posted by mmascolino at 8:02 PM on November 7, 2007

I like whiskey. Bourbon, Irish, Tennessee. I drank Jim Beam for a long time, I'd go through a Texas fith every two weeks, and I'd drink it with ice. But for health reasons I've moved to Jack Daniels, it tends to treat my guts better than bourbon. But you asked what was my favorite stand alone liquor. Well I'm not sure, but I'd say Knob Creek sounds good. Why are you buying?
posted by nola at 8:36 PM on November 7, 2007

FauxScot has it, only it is called Ron Zacapa, not Zapaca. Amazing stuff. I would even go on to say that even if you don't like rum, this is something else altogether.
posted by micayetoca at 8:46 PM on November 7, 2007

Flor de Cana rum: 12 year or 15year. Go to nicaragua and you can buy a bottle for $10!
posted by lalochezia at 9:03 PM on November 7, 2007

If I were put on a desert island with one bottle, it'd be Aberlour a'bunadh. I have never found another Scotch worth passing up a glass of bourbon for, although I have promised myself not to drink any Islay whisky until I'm 40.

The first liquor I ever enjoyed was Remy XO; a friend bought me a bit of it at his wedding. After that I went to the liquor store and did some experimenting; I soon discovered Jack Daniels Single Barrel (which is not a bourbon, it's a Tennessee whisky.) Eventually I discovered Elmer T. Lee, Eagle Rare, and Blanton's bourbons, which are all made by Buffalo Trace and share a mashbill; I like them all, depending on the mood I'm in.

The El Tesoro de Don Felipe Platinum that I picked up as a result of an earlier AskMe is fantastic and I'm quickly falling in love with it.

Limoncello and soju aren't generally strong enough proof to qualify as liquor.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:28 PM on November 7, 2007

posted by DelusionsofGrandeur at 10:48 PM on November 7, 2007

I was introduced to Becherovka. a few weeks ago. Yummy stuff, but I have no idea where you'd find it.

Well, if you mean on a more general level, you'd find it in the Czech republic. It's one of the national alcoholic drinks, and it's nearly always served with tonic water. It is pretty tasty neat (and chilled) but it absolutely shines with a splash of tonic water. I realize that this ruins the answering, but if you want to try some of the bitter liquors -- such as Cynar or Campari, you can always ease in by adding tonic water.
posted by Deathalicious at 11:01 PM on November 7, 2007

..although I have promised myself not to drink any Islay whisky until I'm 40.

Are you mad? The Ardbeg 1977 is one of the most sublime, memorable and enjoyable drams you'll ever taste.

Anyways, the Glenmorangie 10yr old is an affordable and very enjoyable malt, though I prefer the Truffle Oak. The Cardhu is also worth a mention.

Or you could just get a copy of Jim Murray's Whisky Bible and work your way through them.
posted by Nugget at 12:44 AM on November 8, 2007

I like most single malts, but my very favourite is Port Ellen, a close cousin to Ardbeg & Lagavulin. Alas, the distillery has been closed since 1984, and what's left of it is getting ever more expensive.

I'm a recent convert to the delights of fine rum: Havana Club Añejo 7 Años was the first I fell in love with. My new favourite is the 15-year-old Barbancourt Reserve du Domain.

While I like a good cognac, I've a particular fondness for good Spanish brandy, my preference being for Osborne Brandy Solera Gran Reserva which comes in a marvellous bottle designed by Salvador Dalí.
posted by misteraitch at 2:23 AM on November 8, 2007

Tobermory single malt scotch. Mmmmmmmm.....
posted by LN at 5:21 AM on November 8, 2007

I'll second the recommendation for Aberlour a'bunadh, above. I'm kind of shocked at how good that stuff is.

I've also been drinking a lot of Macallan cask-strength, which is surprisingly cheap (for the Macallan) and allows you to prepare it to taste by adding varying amounts of distilled water. I take just a splash; my wife likes it at nearly 50/50. Either way, the addition of water in the glass really opens up the smell and taste.
posted by Joey Bagels at 6:46 AM on November 8, 2007

Let me heartily recommend Zubrowka

Thirded. Love it. I've also had a few handmade vodkas (some bison grass, some not) that were absolutely delicious, but not commercially available (a Polish friend's father had a wall - a wall! - of local vodkas). Has to be ice cold.

Of the whiskeys/ whiskys - Jameson and Laophraig. I also don't mind Grappa Artesanal Brandelli when I can get some.

I know you asked for liquor, but old vintage port is delicious for sipping.
posted by goo at 7:35 AM on November 8, 2007

Response by poster: Just as an update, I got a few questions on why I am looking for a nice stand alone liquor. My Dad's 50th Birthday is coming up in late December and while he enjoys a drink, I have NEVER heard or seen him buy any particular brand. From what I know he like to try different labels and enjoy different flavors/smells/etc. He also doesn't like to mix anything in with his drinks from what I have seen.

I feel like his birthday being so incredibly close to Christmas he somewhat gets bamboozled and his gifts get rolled into the holiday feeling. My brother and I are wanting to get him something he will love and "maybe" even partake in his enjoyment! Thanks a lot for your suggestions and stories this has been a great read so far!
posted by Mardigan at 7:55 AM on November 8, 2007

Chiming in to back up Becherovka. Goddamn, it tastes like Christmas.
posted by piratebowling at 8:22 AM on November 8, 2007

Agreeing on Maker's Mark and bourbon generally.
After dinner, my dad likes Grand Marnier which I used to think was nasty and sticky but heaven help me, I've learned to enjoy it.
posted by pointystick at 8:44 AM on November 8, 2007

La Pinta Pomegranate Tequila. Technically it's got a mixer in it, but it's absolutely delicious chilled. They sell it at Bevmo for $38 (I see it's on sale!), but we've actually crossed the border to get it at TJ liquor stores for $21 a bottle.
posted by changeling at 9:26 AM on November 8, 2007

Calvados. I prefer Calvados Boulard.
posted by plinth at 11:22 AM on November 8, 2007

In that case, Mardigan, any of the single malts would be a good bet. Lagavulin or Laphroig are excellent.

otoh, perhaps a bottle of Hennessy or Remy Martin VSOP (or XO). Remy Martin VSOP is "reasonably" priced and is an acceptable cognac. If you're feeling adventurous, going the Armagnac route might be worthwhile (if your pocketbook can afford it).

If you've got cash oozing out of your pockets, perhaps try the Johnnie Walker Blue Label but I suspect that it isn't worth it, on an even more collosal scale than how Grey Goose really isn't worth it.

I'm Canadian but Crown Royale is horrible. I love their bags, but not the whiskey.I prefer Canadian Club over Crown - Tangle Ridge is a rather drinkable cheap Canadian rye.

If you want to get drunk with your old man, who likes some flavour in his drink, I'd definitely recommend the 1607 (ie., regular) Bushmills. Aromatic, but not heady (albeit not peaty at all). Smooth and slightly sweet. I've downed 750mL bottles throughout the course of a day and was perfectly fine the day after. I'm not a fan of Jamesons - it lacks character to me; it's like the generic vodka of Whiskeys (and I can tell between Absolute, Smirnoff, Ketel, Finlandia, &c).
posted by porpoise at 7:56 PM on November 10, 2007

Tullamore Dew is my favorite whiskey. Their website also has a customized label maker.

As for tequila, Sauza Tres Genaraciones Anejo was the first tequila I could ever stand straight. The Plata is excellent, too.
posted by erisraven at 4:46 AM on December 6, 2007

Bhutanese Dragon Rum. Lovely notes of caramel and orange. Sip very, very slowly.
posted by sushiwiththejury at 12:44 AM on December 17, 2007

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