North American Whiskies
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
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: John Walker & Sons 2015 Private Collection Blended Scotch Whisky
97 points
Irish Whiskey
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
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 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: elit Ultra Luxury Vodka
97 points
French Brandy
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
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: Denizen Merchant's Reserve 8 Year Old Rum
97 points
Tequila, Mezcal & Agave Spirits
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, 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: Grand Marnier Quintessence Liqueur
98 points
World Whiskies
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
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
The South American spirits category includes cachaça, pisco, aguardiente and other spirits indigenous to South America.
Top Rating: Sagatiba Preciosa Cachaça
98 points
Specialty Spirits
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: La Trentina Morbida Grappa
94 points
Eau de Vie & Fruit Brandies
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 Obstwasser
94 points
Asian Spirits
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 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: Fat & Juicy Cayenne Bloody Mary Mix
95 points
Cocktail Bitters
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: The Bitter Truth Cucumber Bitters, Germany
94 points
Ready-to-Drink Cocktails
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