Summer is finally here. That means backyard parties, days at the beach, fun by the lake, camping, and ALL the outdoor activities. It also means we’ll be looking for great drinks to accompany those good times. What better beverage for summertime fun than whiskey? Whiskey isn’t just for cold weather drinking; it shines when the mercury rises too. So we put together your complete guide to drinking whiskey for the next 13 weeks of the summer season. This game plan is laid out week-by-week, but if it seems overwhelming, just pick a few bottles and enjoy them all summer. No matter what you decide, there are no wrong choices here.
The Glenlivet Caribbean Rum Cask (Week 1 - June 21-28)
Kick-off summer with this light and tropical Scotch that has been finished (additional maturation) in Caribbean Rum casks. Soft, highly drinkable, and more importantly … mixable. Pour a few ounces over a giant ice cube, top off with coconut water, and let your worries slip away with a lovely summer sunset.
Traverse City Whiskey Lakeside Peach (Week 2 - June 29-July 5)
This is the perfect pour for celebrating America’s Independence. The Traverse City Whiskey team steeped fresh Michigan peaches in their Bourbon and basically bottled a summer day at the lake. Throw the bottle in the freezer and free-pour it into your glass while you barbecue your hot dogs and burgers. It’s like drinking a melted peach popsicle with a little kick.
Penelope Bourbon Rosé Cask Finish (Week 3 - July 6-12)
Bourbon and Rosé … what’s not to like? Yes, this seems like a really odd combo, but Penelope Bourbon, the innovators of this style of finished whiskey, has it dialed in. Four-grain Bourbon finished in French Grenache Rosé Wine Casks for several months. The result is a vibrant whiskey that bursts with flavors of strawberry, floral vanilla, and fresh herbs. Drink this lightly chilled out of a wine glass at brunch (pinkies out) or while you float in the pool on a sun-drenched afternoon.
Chattanooga Whiskey Spring 2018 Vintage Bottled in Bond (Week 4 - July 13-19)
Last year, Chattanooga Whiskey began releasing a bottled-in-bond Bourbon to showcase and highlight some of the experimental batches of whiskey they have created over the years. Through blending, they create a much more complex product than the individual components could ever be on their own. The Spring 2018 vintage (made up of whiskeys distilled and barreled in 2018 and released in 2022) is a blend of four different whiskeys. The result is something that reminds us of a trip to the ice cream shop on a humid summer night. Flavors of vanilla soft-serve ice cream with toasted sugar and coconut sprinkles on a fresh-made malted waffle cone. We’ll take two.
Castle & Key Distillery 2022 Small Batch Bourbon - Batch 2 (Week 5 - July 20-26)
After much anticipation, Castle & Key released their first small batches of Bourbon this year. Batch 2 is complex and nuanced with aromas ranging from cinnamon spice to pine needles and flavors of dried fruits, pepper, wood, and dark, rich sugars. This whiskey has a lot going on and screams fun and sophistication. We’d pair it with a night on the patio with some close friends, a giant charcuterie board, and a great playlist (might we suggest this one from Satin Jackets).
Middle West Spirits Dark Pumpernickel rye (Week 6 - July 27-August 2)
Middle West has distilled America’s first rye whiskey using dark pumpernickel, and we adore the result. Toasty oak, a peppery bite from the rye, and loads of vanilla and caramel chews. This is the perfect bottle to enjoy while sitting on the porch and watching a thunderstorm roll through.
Westward Whiskey Cask Strength American Single Malt (Week 7 - August 3-9)
This week marks the mid-point of summer, and this American single malt has all the flavors made for drinking by a campfire. Expect honey-graham crackers, chocolate, and a spicy lingering finish. The ideal whiskey to serve alongside campfire s’mores … we’ll take our marshmallow extra crispy.
Starward Whisky Two-Fold (Week 8 - August 10-16)
When the temps rise and the humidity ramps up, we like an ice-cold gin & tonic to cool us down. But you know what’s even better? Australian double-grain whiskey from Melbourne, Australia. Starward Two-Fold is a blend of single malt and wheat whiskies that have been matured separately in red wine barrels and brought together into a final product layered with deep tropical fruits and sweet caramel flavors. Two ounces of Two-Fold topped with tonic and garnished with a fat wedge of grapefruit is the ideal remedy for a scorching summer day.
Sagamore Spirit Canned Cocktails (Week 9 - August 17-23)
As the dog days of summer set in, reach for the lineup of craft canned cocktails from Sagamore Spirit. These incredibly well-balanced drinks aren’t cloyingly sweet, and you can actually taste the underlying straight rye whiskey. Each cocktail is made with organic fruit juices and natural ingredients. Flavors include Lemon Tea Fizz, Black-Eyed Rye, Honey Paloma, and a Pineapple Ryegarita (coming soon). Ditch those boring hard seltzers, pack a cooler full of these, and make your way to the beach.
Whiskey Acres Distilling Co. Blue Popcorn Straight Bourbon (Week 10 - August 24-31)
This whiskey reminds us of the county fair, so it’s perfect for late summer drinking. Made from a variety of corn known as Blue Popcorn, it is filled with the distinct flavors found at the fair: caramel apples, funnel cake, and kettle corn. This would go great in a flask as you peruse the midway and “step right up” to try your hand at knocking down some milk bottles.
Laws Whiskey House Henry Road Malt Whiskey (Week 11 - September 1-September 7)
As the calendar flips from August to September, resist the urge to declare that summer is over. It isn’t. Including this week, there are still three weeks until the autumnal equinox. But if you really need your fall apple-picking fix, this malt whiskey will help satisfy your urge. Made with an heirloom varietal of barley kept from extinction by a farmer in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, this whiskey is all about green apples. The green apple aroma explodes as soon as it hits your glass and transfers over to the palate like boozy apple juice, along with baked cookies and earthy tobacco. Now get back to enjoying the last few weeks of summer.
Woody Creek Distillers Rye Whiskey (Week 12 - September 8-14)
We could all use a good lawnmower whiskey, and Woody Creek rye delivers. It’s made from 100% Elbon rye, which offers some herbal, fennel, citrus, and earthy aromas. It’s a bit like fresh-cut grass. It’s an easy drinker with nice punches of citrus and spice. We suggest a couple ounces over a cube and a splash or two of ginger beer. Hop on the riding mower and enjoy yard work like never before.
Pinhook Bourbondini Kentucky Straight Bourbon (Week 13 - September 15-21)
As summer drifts away, we wanted a Bourbon to transition us from one season to the next, and we love the Pinhook flagship Bourbon to get us there. It reminds us of summer with peach and wildflower honey aromas emanating from the glass, and then the flavors of toasted nuts, light baking spices, and citrus lead us toward the crisp days of fall that lie ahead. Have a pour and reflect back on your journey of the last 13 weeks and then look fondly at what lies ahead in the next season.