5 Superb American Whiskeys

  • Dan Dunn
APRIL 17, 2017

“It’s nice to be free,” says legendary barman Dale DeGroff, founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail. He’s talking about whiskey. Or rather, the folks who make whiskey here in America. Of the non-bourbon variety, that is. “There are lots of rules in bourbon production,” DeGroff continues, “and at some point a bunch of really talented people decided, ‘Hey, I don’t care if I get to call my whiskey bourbon,’ I just want to make it the way I want to make it.”

These maverick distillers harbored no illusions of ever outselling iconic bourbon brands such as Jim Beam or Maker’s Mark, but they relished the opportunity to carve out their own niche without restraint.

In DeGroff’s estimation, the American whiskey revolution began in 1993 when Fritz Maytag of San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing opened a micro-distillery and released a wonderful small-batch rye whiskey called Old Potrero. “Now here we are two decades later,” says DeGroff, “and there are more artisanal whiskeys made in America than you could sample in a lifetime.”

Of course, it can’t hurt to try. Not if you’re responsible about it, anyway. Here are five fabulous artisanal whiskeys made right here in the U.S. of A.

Featured Slideshows

From Around the Web...
Glenmorangie Pride 1974 ($9,050). Photo by Anna Isola Crolla
Glenmorangie’s new Pride 1974 whisky is a knockout…
Riedel Vinum Extreme Rosé Provence Glass, $69 for a set of two
An exquisite new way to enjoy rosé, just in time for summer…
These blends of rare old malt and grain whiskies elevate the art of blending to new heights…
Glenmorangie Bacalta
This limited edition from the legendary distillery is destined to become a collector’s item…
Photo by Damion I. Hamilton
Cuban cigar legend Montecristo turns 80 with a big party at Harvest Inn by Charlie Palmer in Napa...
The 2006 Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs is “an all-Chardonnay cuvée, in the style our ancestors created,” says  Taittinger
A classically trained artist, Vitalie Taittinger is furthering her family’s traditions in Champagne…
5 Superb American Whiskeys
These top non-bourbon made-in-America spirits showcase the freedom of whiskey distilling in the U.S...
Puebla ($85)
Mezcal is gaining in popularity and entering the premium market…
 Hochstadter’s Family Reserve Straight Rye Whiskey ($200)
This premium rye whiskey is an homage to pre-Prohibition spirits…
Nikka Coffey Malt Japanese Whisky ($75)
This Japanese whisky uses Scottish barley in its malting…