14 Value Spirits Under $25
When it comes to spirits, it’s easy to be attracted to the luxury of high-end selections. While there’s nothing wrong with indulging in pricey, top-shelf pours, sometimes, you want more bang for your buck.
To be clear, it is not just about finding what’s cheap; it’s about discovering what’s great, yet available at a reasonable price point. To narrow things down, we’ve defined “reasonable” as under $25 a bottle—but many of the spirits below deliver excellence for even less.
Although the goal is to keep quality front and center, it’s worth noting that many of the bottles in this category don’t skimp on quantity. Many of these spirits are packaged in bottles that hold a full liter, rather than the standard 750 milliliters.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Kirkland—the private label brand for bulk-product warehouse retailer Costco—topped all the other submissions in the quantity department, sending in startlingly enormous bottles holding as much as 1.75 liters (that’s more than two 750-ml bottles). Kirkland’s Tequila offerings were a particularly pleasant surprise on the value front. Indeed, that’s one worth keeping in mind for next year’s Cinco de Mayo party, when the urge suddenly hits to whip up margaritas for 50 of your closest friends.
But right now, when many of us are focused on party-going and gift-giving, it’s nice to be reminded that it’s possible to fill Thanksgiving punch bowls with plenty of good cheer, without completely emptying out your wallet.
95 Rain City Spirits DRIP Coffee Liqueur (USA; Rain City Spirits, Seattle, WA). Made with local cold-brewed coffee, cane sugar and Rain City’s vodka, this liqueur has a bold, authentic coffee aroma and flavor, with light sweetness and a slightly creamy mouthfeel. Just add cream for a head start on a white Russian-style cocktail. Best Buy.
abv: 26% Price: $22
94 Damrak Amsterdam Gin (Holland; Lucas Bols USA, New York, NY). Versatile and crisp, this cocktail-ready gin offers a mild lemon peel aroma and mouth-filling notes of sweet, juicy grapefruit tempered by coriander and white pepper. Best Buy.
abv: 41.8% Price: $23
94 Rain Cucumber Vodka (USA; Sazerac Co., Frankfort, KY). Light, fresh and just faintly sweet, this flavored vodka has spa-like notes of cucumber and lime peel. Smooth sipping, especially when chilled, and natural for spring/summer cocktails. Best Buy.
abv: 30% Price: $17
94 Tequila Don Ramon Añejo (Mexico; ER Distributors, San Antonio, TX). Soft and well-structured, this aged Tequila mixes spicy and sweet to delightful effect. Long honey notes linger on the tongue, tapering off with a welcome touch of cayenne-ginger heat. Sip straight up or pair with Mexican dishes with bold flavors. Best Buy.
abv: 40% Price: $24
93 Marie Brizard Orange Curaçao (France; The Other Wine and Spirits, Miami, FL). Made with Cognac and bitter orange from Haiti, this is an orange liqueur with a darker side. It has a deep amber hue and a robust, enticing orange-peel scent. On the palate, it’s appropriately thick and syrupy, bursting with orange peel and fruit, burnt orange peel, almond and vanilla. Would work particularly well to sweeten darker spirits like aged brandy or rye whiskey in cocktails. Best Buy.
abv: 30% Price: $20
93 Prairie Wolf Spirits DARK (USA; Prairie Wolf Spirits, Oklahoma City, OK). This velvety, nut-brown craft coffee liqueur is reminiscent of sweetened coffee dosed with dried orange peel and maple. Made with Kona coffee beans roasted in Oklahoma, plus vanilla, molasses and cane sugar, it has a rounded, almost Bourbon-like alcohol feel that cuts through the sweetness for a balanced sip. Best Buy.
abv: 20% Price: $22
93 Skyy Vodka (USA; Campari America, San Francisco, CA). Skyy is best known for its flavored vodkas, but this will please most unflavored vodka purists, too. Overall this vodka is neutral in aroma and flavor, with a hint of vanilla and a crisp, light finish. Best Buy.
abv: 40% Price: $17
93 Tanqueray London Dry Gin (England; Diageo, New York, NY). Inside the recognizable green bottle, look for bold juniper plus notes of anise, lemon peel, and a faint white-floral touch, laced with black pepper heat. Overall, a clean, classic profile that’s just the ticket for gin & tonics. Best Buy.
abv: 47.3% Price: $20
92 Bols Elderflower Liqueur (Holland; Lucas Bols USA, New York, NY). Relatively light and delicate, this liqueur has a pale gold hue and is fragranced with white flowers and citrus. It’s not overly sweet or heavy on the palate, showing subtle floral notes and a whisper of grapefruit peel. This nuanced liqueur would play well with gin or light rum in aperitif cocktails. Best Buy.
abv: 17% Price: $18
92 The Fat Trout Blended Scotch Whisky (Scotland; BH Group USA Imports, Manhasset, NY). Bright gold in the glass, this whiskey offers vanilla and fresh-cut grass aromatics. It’s similarly light and fresh on the palate, with touches of oak, vanilla and a fleeting tropical fruit note, finishing with a faint salt-air touch. The label makes this bottle a fun gift for a favorite fishing enthusiast. Best Buy.
abv: 40% Price: $25
92 Wild Turkey 81 Proof (USA; Campari America, San Francisco, CA). This Kentucky Bourbon is aged up to six to eight years in “alligator charred” barrels, yielding honey-vanilla aromatics and mouthwatering, rounded maple and vanilla notes that close out with clove and cinnamon spark. Best Buy.
abv: 40.5% Price: $18
91 1800 Silver Tequila (Mexico; Proximo Spirits, Jersey City, NJ). Surprisingly floral and delicate, this workhorse silver Tequila has a pleasing agave aroma and a crisp, peppy flavor profile with touches of vanilla and white pepper. Margarita material. Best Buy.
abv: 40% Price: $25
91 Espolon Tequila Reposado (Mexico; Campari America, San Francisco, CA). This light gold reposado balances vanilla sweetness with mild, zingy notes of mint, menthol and green pepper, finishing with a perky cayenne pepper tingle. Best Buy.
abv: 40% Price: $25
91 George Dickel Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey No. 8 (USA; Diageo Americas, Norwalk, CT). With its tawny hue, smooth caramel and maple notes braced up with a slight oaky edge and buttery finish, this is a whiskey to savor. Try it in a Manhattan. Best Buy.
abv: 40% Price: $18