The top spirits from the twelfth annual Los Angeles International Spirits Competition were announced today, and there’s some good news for fans of affordable spirits. For the most part, the winners are surprisingly inexpensive, meaning you really don’t need to spend big to drink well.
More than 140 producers from 27 countries submitted 402 spirits for consideration in the competition. Twenty judges ranked the spirits on a 100-point scale, and awards were given out for best of category and best of division, as well as gold, silver and bronze medals. The top award for all spirits went to W. L. Weller 12 Year Old, which original sold for $25 but now sells for around $200 thanks to scarcity and demand. The top award for mixers went to Q Drinks Grapefruit (perfect for those jumping on the Paloma trend).
If you’re looking for an everyday drink that won best in its category, though, you’re in luck. Not all the winners are expensive or swooped up by super fans.
In the whiskey categories, Zackariah Harris won best bourbon and sells for around $12. That’s about as low as you can go for a sippable bourbon, and there are only two others in that price range (Heaven Hill Straight Bourbon and Evan Williams Green Label) with the Supercall stamp of approval. The best American rye was Burnside Rye Oregon Oaked from Eastside Distilling, which sells for around $35.
The majority of the top awarded vodkas come in under $20. New Amsterdam Vodka ($14) won best vodka overall, Portland Potato ($18) won best potato vodka, Khortytsa Platinum ($12) won best corn vodka and Smirnoff Kissed Caramel ($16) won best flavored vodka.
One category that was more dominated by pricier options was tequila, reflecting the premiumization of the spirit overall. Camarena Reposado ($19) won best reposado and was the only one under $20. Other category winners were Herradura Anejo ($57) Herradura Plata ($45) and Tequila Corazon Extra Anejo ($40).
Other notable category winners that won’t break the bank include E & J VSOP ($13) in brandy and Hue-Hue Coffee Rum ($20), which won best rum overall despite being a flavored rum.
The full list of winners can be found on the Los Angeles International Spirits Competition website.