North American Whisky
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North American whiskies are all-grain spirits that have been produced from a mash bill that usually mixes together corn, rye, wheat, barley and other grains in different proportions and then generally aged for an extended period of time in charred American oak barrels.
Top Rating: Ballast Point Devil's Share California Moonshine
96 points
 
Scotch Whisky
202301-10
Scotch Whisky is a spirit that is distilled from grain. Sometimes the grain has been malted, sometimes not. It is aged, often for long periods of time, in ex-bourbon or Sherry mostly and occasionally more exotic finishing barrels.
Top Rating: Jura 1977 Single Malt Scotch Whisky
99 points
 
Irish Whiskey
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Irish Whiskey is defined as spirits distilled at less than 94.8% alcohol, from cereal grains, and aged for a minimum of three years in wooden casks.
Top Rating: Teeling 21 Year Old Single Malt Vintage Reserve Irish Whiskey
98 points
 
Gin & Genever
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Gin and its Lowlands cousin Genever (Jenever in Belgium) are white spirits that are flavored with juniper berries and so-called botanicals (a varied assortment of herbs and spices). The spirit base of Gin is primarily grain (usually wheat or rye), which results in a light-bodied spirit.
Top Rating: Cotswolds Dry Gin
97 points
 
Vodka
202418-9
Vodka is ethyl alcohol in its purest form, distilled at a high proof and generally unaged. It can be, and is, made from virtually any grain or vegetable material. It has become the base spirit for endless cocktails, and for equally endless versions of flavored spirits, due largely to its neutrality.
Top Rating: Moulin by Jean-Paul Vodka
97 points
 
French Brandy
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Cognac is the best known type of Brandy in the world, a benchmark by which most other Brandies are judged. Armagnac is the oldest type of brandy in France, with documented references to distillation dating back to the early 15th century.
Top Rating: Drouet et Fils Cuvée Ulysse XO Grande Champagne Cognac
97 points
 
Rum & Cane Spirits
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Rum, and its fraternal twin, cane spirit, are made by distilling fermented sugar and water. This sugar comes from the sugar cane and is fermented from cane juice, concentrated cane juice, or molasses.
Top Rating: Barceló Imperial Premium Blend 30 Aniversario Rum
97 points
 
Tequila, Mezcal & Agave Spirits
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Tequila and Mezcal are made by distilling the fermented juice of agave plants in Mexico. Tequila can be made only from blue agave and can be produced only in specifically designated geographic areas, primarily the state of Jalisco. Mezcal is made from the fermented juice of other species of agave and is produced throughout most of Mexico.
Top Rating: Herradura Seleccion Suprema Extra Añejo Tequila
97 points
 
Liqueurs
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Liqueurs, Schnapps, Anise, and Bitters are terms that cover a wide variety of types of spirits. What they all share in common is that they are flavored spirits. Liqueurs (also known as Cordials) are sweet, flavor-infused spirits that are categorized according to the flavoring agent (i.e., fruits, nuts, herbal and spice blends, creams).
Top Rating: Merlet Crème de Cassis de la Saintonge Boisèe
98 points
 
World Whiskies
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World whiskies are whiskies produced outside the traditional regions of Scotland, Ireland, and North America. They generally follow the Scottish tradition, with malt whiskies being double distilled in pot stills and grain whiskies in column stills. Most are single malt bottlings, however more blends and single grain expressions are appearing on the market. Asian whiskies are particularly noteworthy in the world of world whiskies.
Top Rating: Kavalan "Solist" Sherry Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky
99 points
 
World Brandy
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The word Brandy comes from the Dutch word brandewijn, ("burnt wine"), which is how the straightforward Dutch traders who introduced it to Northern Europe from Southern France and Spain in the 16th century described wine that had been "burnt," or boiled, in order to distill it.
Top Rating: Cardenal Mendoza "Carta Real" Solera Gran Reserva Brandy
98 points
 
South American Spirits
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The South American spirits category includes cachaça, pisco, aguardiente and other spirits indigenous to South America.
Top Rating: Fazenda Mãe de Ouro Barrel Reserve 5 Year Old Cachaça
96 points
 
Specialty Spirits
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The specialty spirits category includes some of the more unique and individualized spirits that don't fit into traditional spirits categories. Pomace brandies such as grappa and marc are included as part of this category as are aquavit, dry schnapps, and other European specialties.
Top Rating: Monte Sabotino Gran Riserva Superiore Grappa Stravecchia
97 points
 
Eau de Vie & Fruit Brandies
202005-5
Normandy is one of the few regions in France that does not have a substantial grape wine industry. Instead it is apple country, with a substantial tradition of producing hard and sweet cider that in turn can be distilled into an Apple Brandy known as Calvados.
Top Rating: Schladerer Kirschwasser
94 points
 
Asian Spirits
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The Asian Spirits category includes baijiu, shochu, soju and other spirits indigenous to the Asia Pacific region. Wildly popular in their home countries, these spirits have not gained much market share outside of these regions.
Top Rating: Sơn Tinh Nếp Cẩm Sticky Red Rice "Port" Liqueur
94 points
 
Mixers
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Mixers are the nonalcoholic components of various cocktails that have been conveniently packaged so that one just needs to add the alcohol base, and perhaps ice, to make a complete cocktail. We include sodas and bar syrups in this category as well.
Top Rating: Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix
95 points
 
Cocktail Bitters
202325-96
Cocktail bitters are combinations of bitter herbs, barks, and other botanicals in a neutral alcohol base designed to be added in minute quantities to give final layers of aromatic and flavor complexity to cocktails.
Top Rating: Abbott's Bitters
96 points
 
Ready-to-Drink Cocktails
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Ready to Drink cocktails, or RTDs, are just that conveniently packaged, alcohol-included cocktails that are ready to drink on their own, chilled, or with ice.
Top Rating: Crafthouse Moscow Mule
96 points