Rye Whiskey has a few distinguishing qualifications from other whiskies. First, it is made from a mash bill that contains at least 51 percent rye. Second, the mash is aged in charred, new oak barrels. This high rye percentage leads to more peppery and spicy characteristics. It is a wonderful spirit used in many different classic cocktails including the Manhattan, Sazerac, and Boulevardier.
Here are my picks for the best value Ryes on the market (Prices are from Total Wine and More’s Website for consistency)
- Old Overholt ($12.50)
“There’s pretty much no argument out there. This is one of the best value ryes on the market, if not the best of the best of the cheapest.” Vine Pair
If this is your first rye, just stop reading here, get in your car, and go pick up this bottle. It is an absolute steal at under $15 dollars for a rye. Prices like this are hard to find for a rye, period, much less one of this value!
- Rittenhouse 100 ($23.99)
“Some dark fruit and spice linger deeper down, with bits of honey florals and vanilla on top. Oak picks up the spice on a dry but gently palate-cleansing finish.” Vine Pair
While being the most expensive on this list, there is no doubt a value here. Being 100 proof you can use slightly less in cocktails to a similar result as a typical 80-86pf whiskey, meaning the bottle will be on your bar longer.
- George Dickel Rye ($22.99)
“Lately it seems to get harder and harder to find an approachable whiskey for under $25. Many whiskeys are young or sacrifice quality for price. Dickel not only comes in at a reasonable price, but it also delivers a whiskey with a high rye content that isn’t seen among its peers at this price point.” Breaking Bourbon
If you are looking for a solid whiskey with a good rye kick, look no further! This is a great value for what you are getting in the bottle.
- Wild Turkey Rye ($20.99)
“Wild Turkey 81 Proof Rye is great for mixing cocktails. That’s not a put down, it’s just the truth. For having such a high quantity of rye (65% vs the 51% of many ryes on the market now) the rye notes are muted in the nose and not nearly as assertive on the palate as I was expecting them to be.” The Whiskey Jug
As mentioned, for a high rye, it is still fairly muted which it not a terrible thing for those starting out in rye whiskey. Sometimes that spicy, peppery kick is too much for those getting into rye, you will not have that problem here.
- Jim Beam Rye ($17.99)
“This Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Rye provides an ideal stepping stone for core Jim Beam fans into the world of rye, and it provides a solid taste experience at an affordable price.” Drink Spirit
This bottle is what you would expect from Jim Beam, classic, consistent, flavors at a good price to quality ratio.