The Fourth of July will be here before you know it, and there’s no reason to celebrate the holiday with anything other than these American whiskeys.
This year, we’ve selected six different American whiskeys, each made in a different region of the country, to celebrate American distillers’ amazing diversity and craftsmanship. From that first sizzle of hot dogs hitting the grill, to the very last fireworks fizzle, these whiskeys will help you ring in the nation’s 241st birthday in good taste, no matter where you are.
Wyoming Whiskey in (naturally) Wyoming has consistently impressed us with their well-made, well-aged releases. We recently reviewed and really enjoyed Wyoming Whiskey Outryder, made from a blend of high-rye whiskey and bourbon produced from Wyoming-grown grains. It’s complex and refined without being wimpy—but we’re not sure Wyoming has ever produced anything that could be called “wimpy.”
The West Coast is all about innovation and creativity, and Anchor Distilling in San Francisco, California, has been leading the craft spirits industry for decades.
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Their Old Potrero Single Malt is one of the only 100% malted rye whiskeys in the country, and they introduced it back in the whiskey dark ages of 1993, when craft spirits were in their infancy and bars were serving appletinis rather than old fashioneds. Sweet, spicy, and smooth, Old Potrero is a tribute to the good things that happen when you think outside the box.
Good whiskey comes from good grain, so it only makes sense that the breadbasket of the nation would produce some fantastic examples of the spirit. Cedar Ridge Wheat Whiskey from Cedar Ridge distillery in Iowa is made from 100% winter white wheat, and offers refreshing, ester-forward flavors of green fruit and banana bread that would pair beautifully with a big plate of strawberry shortcake and a romp through the backyard sprinkler.
Out West, people do things their own way—and perhaps no distiller better exemplifies that attitude than Balcone’s. Their Texas Blue Corn Bourbon is made from 100% heirloom blue corn, using a variety that has been grown for generations in the Southwest by Native Americans. Bottled at cask strength, it’s rich, salty, and intense, with a serious backbone of leather and spice.
Ah, the South—undisputed king of the American whiskey world. You can’t throw a stone without hitting a piece of bourbon history down here, and picking one example from the hundreds of great whiskeys made south of the Mason-Dixon line seems like a fool’s errand. Oh well—we’re willing to risk it.
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This year, we’re reaching for a bottle of Rittenhouse Straight Rye from Heaven Hill. This bottled-in-bond release is affordable, outstanding in cocktails, and eminently sippable.
While it’s no longer the nation’s whiskey leader, the Northeast has a deep history with distillation. Back around the time of Independence Day number one, rye whiskey produced in the Northeast was the tipple of choice for freshly minted Americans. Though Prohibition took a major toll on Northeast distillers, the craft distilling boom has initiated a distilling renaissance in the region. Wigle Whiskey in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is keeping the Pennsylvania rye tradition alive with its Straight Rye Whiskey, a soft and sweet sipper with notes of banana and marshmallow.