The internet loves to gawk at the craziest flavored vodkas, but other spirits can get in on the fun too, including whiskey. While it’s easy to infuse neutral vodka with any flavor you like (from bacon to Thanksgiving), whiskey offers more of a challenge, as it is typically already flavored with oak. Here, the craziest flavored whiskeys that take “the honest spirit” for a walk on the wild side.
Rogue Chipotle Whiskey ($38) is the perfect pick for spice fiends looking for a new way to get their chile pepper fix. Rogue Ales & Spirits infuses locally grown Oregon jalapeños into this whiskey during brewing, distilling and barrel-aging to ensure drinkers feel the heat.
Soda cocktails are both satisfying and simple (making them great dive bar orders), but Jeremiah Weed simplified the combo even further by incorporating some throwback soda flavors straight into their Sarsaparilla Whiskey ($16). Rather than opting for classic cola, the distillery chose to flavor their whiskey with the more old-timey sarsaparilla, which amps up the spirit with flavors of vanilla, caramel, wintergreen, and licorice.
The frenzy over the seasonal gourd will not stop until we have pumpkin-flavored everything. Pumpkin spice is such a hot commodity there is not one but two distilleries offering spiced whiskeys. Get your fix with Sons of Liberty Pumpkin Spice Flavored Whiskey ($50) or venture into a backwoods pumpkin patch with Corsair Pumpkin Spice Moonshine ($40).
There’s room in this world for both liquor and beer (just look to the majestic Boilermaker for proof). Lovers of both the hard and hoppy brown stuff can now get the classic combo in a single beverage with various beer-flavored whiskeys. Charbay is now on their fourth release of its popular hop-flavored whiskey ($80), distilled from Racer 5 IPA, while Sons of Liberty offers both hop ($40) and grapefruit-hop ($45) flavors. You can also find old Corsair blends for resale (prices vary), including the Oatmeal Stout flavored whiskey and a blend called Hopmonster, which combines the grain bills of a Belgian tripel and an American IPA.
Chocolate in whiskey is one of those things you never knew you needed in your life—until the day you find out it’s the best thing ever. Brooklyn-based Kings County distillery uses cacao bean husks from the nearby Mast Brothers chocolate factory to infuse their moonshine, in order to make their Chocolate Whiskey ($23).
Some whiskeys have subtle notes of dried fruit while others give off a faint fruity aroma. If citrus is involved, it’s usually orange. Not so with Ballantine’s Brasil ($28), which is flavored with lime and vanilla, flavors more commonly found in South American cocktails like the Caipirinha. We wouldn’t suggest mixing this scotch into a Mojito, but it could satisfy any simultaneous cravings for the tropics and the Highlands.
Pie and whiskey are made for each other—just ask a great bourbon pecan pie. You could make your own apple pie moonshine or infuse rye with pumpkin pie, but if you’d rather pick up a pre-mixed bottle, try the cherry, pecan or apple pie-flavored whiskeys from Piehole Whiskey ($15), or apple pie moonshine from Midnight Moon ($20).
A Bourbon and ginger ale is a classic Southern spin on the Presbyterian, so it was only natural that Virgil Kaine would incorporate the distinctive spice straight into their Ginger Bourbon ($36). The flavor only enhances the natural sweetness of the Kentucky booze.
Chicken Cock Cherry Bounce ($23) isn’t flavored to taste like cherries. It’s meant to taste like cherry cola, satisfying a very narrow but very enthusiastic brand of whiskey drinker. It might just be the perfect niche spirit.
The only whiskey to come with its own branded watch, Jim Beam Apple ($12) takes “fruit-forward” to a new level, incorporating strong apple liqueur into the blend. Next time you consider apple picking, remember how chilly the great outdoors can be and go booze bottle-picking at your local liquor shop instead.
The Whiskey Girl line of flavored booze includes maple-apple and peach-flavored whiskeys as well, but it’s Butterscotch ($20) that’s worth seeking out, if just for curiosity’s sake. The distillery points out that the sweet liquor isn’t just good for drinking straight but also makes an excellent dessert topping.
The word “botanical” is often associated with gin and digestifs, but the folks at Georgetown Trading Company appropriated the word for their Pow-Wow Botanical Rye ($37). The whiskey is infused with orange peels and saffron, along with a heap of undisclosed botanicals. It’s a brave new world for whiskey.