As our liquor tastes have evolved from the cheapest of the cheap, our once-robust liver now requires something a little more refined. This is a guide to the best liquor to buy that won’t break that entry-level budget too much. Prices may vary, but I am going straight off of North Carolina ABC and grocery store prices.
1. Bourbon: Fighting Cock ($15)
This is a tough category as I am certainly a bourbon drinker, just like any red-blooded American man should be. Fighting Cock really is the best for your money. Maybe I’m a little partial because I grew up a die hard South Carolina Gamecock, but with 51.5 percent ABV, you get some bang for your buck. The smoothness is there, but if you don’t think so, pour a little ginger ale in there and you’re all set.
2. Canadian Whisky: Rich & Rare ($8.25)
The price sounds like this is bottom shelf, but the taste is upper middle shelf. This is a knock-off Crown Royal–the taste are indistinguishable. The bottle looks ways fancier than it should for the price, so Rich & Rare is nice to have around if you want to look like you drink well.
3. Scotch Whisky: Grant’s ($17.95)
Okay, the price is a little steep but it’s Scotch, so pony up. I am a Scotch man and this is one of the best scotches I have ever tasted. It is smooth, but still has a wonderful smoky flavor. Honestly, I prefer this to any of the expensive Scotches I have had–this is my drink of choice on this list.
4. Gin: Fleischmann’s Dry ($8.75)
I am not a gin drinker, but this is one of the few I can tolerate. If you like the taste of Christmas trees, then you’ll probably like this brand. You can make a mean homemade martini with this gin, too.
5. Vodka: New Amsterdam ($13)
Why in the hell are you still drinking vodka after your college experience with Burnett’s? Vodka is awful, but if you have a young lady over who is a vodka drinker, give her this in whatever concoction she desires. She will certainly be pleased.
6. Rum: Admiral Nelson ($10)
This is one that I actually carried over from college. Yes, it is bottom shelf, but don’t let its place on the shelf fool you–this rum is tasty. It is a Captain Morgan knockoff (obviously) that tastes exactly the same, but it’s $8 cheaper. If you have never had this, give it a try.
7. Tequila: Two Fingers Gold ($15)
With tequila, it doesn’t matter if you buy an $800 bottle or a $5 dollar bottle. You will still do at least one of these four things: throw up, pass out before midnight, get lost, or get arrested. One thing is certain though, and that is the inevitable, crippling hangover that will occur the next morning. Two Fingers is as smooth as the fire water gets, and is good for shots. It also has enough flavor to taste good in that special margarita recipe.
8. Light Beer: Miller Lite ($9-$12 For A 12 Pack)
I used to hate Miller Lite. I thought it tasted like cat piss. Now, as my taste buds have been ruined by thousands of Natty Lights, I have come to appreciate the bitter nectar that is a cold Miller Lite.
9. White Wine: Kendal Jackson Chardonnay ($8-11)
Talk to any casual white wine drinker who is between 45 and 60 and he or she will most certainly tell you this is the go to white wine, and for good reason. I am a red wine drinker, but I like a glass of white with chicken. You’ll also impress the cute girl in the wine isle who is scouting out whites when you pick up a bottle of KJ Chard.
10. Red Wine: Noble Vine’s 337 Cabernet Sauvignon Or 181 Merlot ($9-13)
This one may spark some debate. However, I worked on a vineyard making wine and giving tours throughout my college years, so if you want to try to school me, go ahead. Make my day. Both of these are the best wine for the price point. If you’re just going to get wine drunk and pass out, go with some Two Buck Chuck. If you want to actually enjoy some grapes, either one of these are good to go.