Best Bourbons for Mint Juleps
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19 Best Bourbons for Mint Juleps on Kentucky Derby Day

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Best Bourbons for Mint Juleps
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House of Bourbon

It's tradition to celebrate the Kentucky Derby with free-flowing mint juleps. Whether making a classic version or putting a spin on it, you'll still want to stock up on bourbon. The corn-based American whiskey is one of the most beloved spirits worldwide and, luckily for all its fans out there, comes in plenty of good options under $50, with many under $30. This list of bourbons all scored at least 90 points in the 2018 Ultimate Spirits Challenge, where they were tasted by no fewer than four professional judges who help shape the beverage world nationally and abroad. Any one of these bourbons is a great foundation for derby day drinks — and for a well-stocked home bar.

Heaven's Door Straight American Bourbon
Courtesy of caskers.com

Heaven's Door Straight American Bourbon ($45)

At 44 percent alcohol by volume, this bourbon is a little higher in alcohol than many standard examples. This means cocktails will be potent — especially useful when using the usual crushed ice.

Noble Oak Double Oak Bourbon
Courtesy of nobleoak.com

Noble Oak Double Oak Bourbon ($35)

This double-oaked spirit picks up satisfying sweet and caramelized flavors from extended wood aging. It's ideal for those who like drinks on the sweet side, or for recipes that use otherwise tart or even spicy flavors.

Stagg Jr. Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Courtesy of buffalotracedistillery.com

Stagg Jr. Kentucky Straight Bourbon ($50)

An iconic bourbon from Kentucky, this splurge-worthy bourbon packs a lot of punch with a higher than average alcohol content of almost 67 percent. This can — and probably should — be cut with plenty of other ingredients to make a balanced drink.

Jim Beam Single Barrel Bourbon
Courtesy of reservebar.com

Jim Beam Single Barrel Bourbon ($40)

This single-barrel release offers unique flavors that are distinct to the particular barrel selected for bottling. Cocktails where the nuances of the bourbon will shine are ideal.

Woodford Reserve Bourbon
Courtesy of woodfordreserve.com

Woodford Reserve Bourbon ($35)

A tried and true classic that's extremely affordable, and a favorite among many bourbon drinkers for its smooth body. Useful in any recipe, or just for sipping on its own, this is a solid choice.

John J. Bowman Single Barrel Virginia Straight Bourbon
Courtesy of specsonline.com

John J. Bowman Single Barrel Virginia Straight Bourbon ($50)

This bourbon shows off Virginia's craft distilling movement. At 50 percent alcohol by volume, the flavors are bold and rich, making for punchy, spirit-forward cocktails.

Maker's Mark Bourbon
Courtesy of makersmark.com

Maker's Mark Bourbon ($25)

Another reliable classic, and a favorite that is easy to find across the country. A safe bet, especially when looking for a bourbon that is easy to mix with.

Related: 15 Best Tequilas Under $30 a Bottle

1792 Full Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Courtesy of 1792bourbon.com

1792 Full Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon ($45)

Full proof means the bourbon hasn't had any water added to bring down the alcohol by volume. With nearly 63 percent ABV, this is a powerhouse of a whiskey that could benefit from mixing with other low- or no-alcohol ingredients.

Eagle Rare 10 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Courtesy of eaglerare.com

Eagle Rare 10 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon ($30)

Getting more rare by the year, this bourbon is a steal, considering the quality in the bottle. Look for it anywhere with a medium- or large-sized bourbon offering.

Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon
Courtesy of thewhiskyexchange.com

Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon ($30)

Another iconic bourbon, the namesake pioneer of the brand is often credited with being the first to age his whiskey in charred oak barrels. A highly awarded yet still affordable option, this is also easy to find around the country.

Four Roses Bourbon
Courtesy of caskers.com

Four Roses Bourbon ($20)

Well known by bourbon drinkers for its incredible value and well balanced flavors, Four Roses' signature bottling is delicious and affordable. Many of its other special bottlings are also reasonably priced.

Old Forester 100 Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Courtesy of oldforester.com

Old Forester 100 Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon ($24)

This 50 percent ABV bourbon comes from Kentucky, the state most steeped in bourbon history. The added strength creates full-flavored drinks for those who like to taste the booze in their cocktails.

Colonel E.H. Taylor Jr. Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Courtesy of oldtowntequila.com

Colonel E.H. Taylor Jr. Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon ($40)

A small-batch release with layers of complexity that integrate into cocktail recipes to create nuance without being overpowering.

Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Courtesy of buffalotrace.com

Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon ($25)

One of the most renowned bourbon producers, Buffalo Trace knows a thing or two about good whiskey. Its entry-level, namesake whiskey is a standard among bourbon fans and hands-down offers incredible value.

W.L. Weller Antique 107 Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Courtesy of sipwhiskey.com

W.L. Weller Antique 107 Kentucky Straight Bourbon ($20)

Using wheat instead of rye, this low-cost and reliably tasty bourbon has become a favorite among people who want an exceptionally smooth and easy sipper or a spirit that easily integrates into a variety of cocktails.

George Remus Straight Bourbon
Courtesy of georgeremus.com

George Remus Straight Bourbon ($45)

Named after a famous bootlegger from prohibition, this whiskey has high rye content that gives body balanced by distinct sweet overtones such as maple and vanilla, and it's that interplay that make this such a sought-after bourbon.

William Wolf Bourbon
Courtesy of stingraybrandingllc.com

William Wolf Bourbon ($35)

Hailing from South Carolina, this bourbon shows off some of the newer distilling efforts of the east coast. It may be a bit tricky to find in every state, but it has national distribution, which means it should be available across the country.

Kentucky Tavern Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Courtesy of applejack.com

Kentucky Tavern Kentucky Straight Bourbon ($11)

A go-to for a shoestring budget. Winning high marks in a blind tasting by experts, this bourbon offers high-quality flavor at an incredibly high value.

Bare Knuckle Bourbon
Courtesy of thewhiskyexchange.com

Bare Knuckle Bourbon ($40)

Made with attention to detail at every step — beginning with the sourcing of raw materials all from Virginia — the quality of the final product is evident.