Fall in much of the country is chilly, cool, damp, and downright depressing. It’s the kind of weather when we’d all rather find a cozy chair, tuck in with a warm blanket, and read a good book than venture out into the rainy, leaf blanketed world. But while autumn can get drab, it’s the perfect time of year to get reacquainted with bourbon. Specifically, high-rye bourbons — the spicier-but-still-sweet cousin of the original bourbon whiskey we all know and love.
Sure, if you enjoy the flavor of rye, you can literally just buy a bottle of rye whiskey. But for some whiskey drinkers the spice you’ll find in a bottle of Rittenhouse or Dad’s Hat is just too much to embrace. That’s where high-rye bourbons come in. Many aficionados consider it the perfect amount of corn sweetness and peppery rye. Extra points if the booze is barrel-aged.
“The extra concentration from the high alcohol level adds to the spicy hit from the rye,” says Alex Boyd, lead bartender at The Delta Hotels in Toronto, Canada. “It amplifies the overall flavor experience.”
Keeping this in mind and not wanting to send you blindly into the high-rye wilderness, we asked some of our favorite bartenders to tell us their go-to high rye bourbons to drink this fall.