Here's how to drink well on a budget

As proven by the thefts and hysteria surrounding the limited release of 23-year-old Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, people will go to great lengths to get their hands on a hyped up, pricey bottle of booze. While there’s no doubt a high price tag can up the appeal of an alcoholic beverage, there are plenty of reasonably priced products out there that still taste opulently good, and it’s my duty to share that information with you. The next time you want to drink like royalty without spending a ridiculous amount of money, forget the high priced hooch and choose from one of these luxuriously thrifty alternatives.

If You Want To Drink A Sauternes
…Go For A Late Harvest Muscat Instead

Sauternes is rich and indulgent – for both your tastebuds and your wallet. While this is undoubtedly the wine I want to be buried with, a bottle can set you back north of $50. Next time you’re craving a velvety dessert wine, reach for a late harvest Muscat. Affected by the same Noble rot as Sauternes, the late harvest Muscat will provide a comparably sumptuous taste for less than half the price.

If You Want To Drink A 23 Year Old Bourbon (Cough, Cough, Pappy Van Winkle)…
…Go For Something Aged Half As Long

While hanging out in a barrel certainly matures a spirit, old doesn’t mean good and young doesn’t mean terrible. In fact, many people like the brash, spunky tastes of baby bourbons. However, if you’re aiming for that deep, caramel taste that comes with aging, go for a bourbon aged around 10 years. Some good contenders are Knob Creek Bourbon or Four Roses Single Barrel, aged for 9 years and at least 8 years respectively. You’ll still get plenty of sophisticated flavors, but you’ll skip out on an obnoxiously high price point.

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If You Want To Drink A Fancy Bottle Of Vodka…
…Just Don’t. Drink A Good, Inexpensive Vodka Instead.

I love vodka, and contrary to popular belief I do believe different vodkas can yield unique and tasty flavors. However, I also think that since vodka at it’s best should be “clean,” this is the spirit least worth spending a lot of money on. Think of vodka as a high-priced mixer: it’s essential to many drinks, but it’s not something you’re going to sip straight. Don’t buy really bad vodka, but don’t spend more than $40. When it comes to widely available brands, I like Belvedere. Though it advertises as a luxury vodka, a 750 ml bottle usually retails for around $30, give or take $10.

If You Want To Drink A $20 Cocktail…
…Buy Some Bitters, Liqueurs And Nifty Glasses For Your Home Bar

Nothing replaces the queenly and slightly nauseating feeling of spending a load of cash on your weekend booze, but you can make yourself feel like you’re out at a swanky bar just by stocking a few ingredients at home. Start with a classy home bar, then head over to your local liquor store and buy a decadent liqueur and cocktail bitters. Buying a whole bottle of liqueur might initially seem more expensive than purchasing a single drink, but it will save you money in the long run. Channel your own inner bartender and get creative making fancy cocktails. Plus, a few swanky glasses will lift your drinking mood.

If You Want To Drink A Glass Of Snazzy Scotch…
Go For A Good Entry Level Mezcal

Hear me out. Scotch and mezcal have different flavor profiles, but they often contain the same key element: smoke. While not all Scotches are costly, the good ones tend to be. If you’re feeling in a peaty mood, try a younger mezcal. In addition to smoke, you’ll pick up some lively fruit. El Buho and Vida by Del Maguey are both examples of great entry level mezcals.

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