16 Popular Flavored Whiskeys, Ranked

Enjoying a decently priced, respectable bottle of whiskey straight or on the rocks is seen as something of a badge of honor, and it's no secret that plenty of people who consider themselves "serious" whiskey drinkers will pooh-pooh the idea of flavored whiskeys. Some view them as nothing more than, well, poo-poo.

But we're here to say that no one needs that kind of negativity in their lives, and — this part's louder for the people in the back — there's absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying flavored whiskey. Love whiskey with a touch of honey, apple, or cherry? You do you, and don't let anyone ever tell you differently.

That said, not all flavored whiskey is created equal. While there are definitely those that are worth every penny, there are also ones that are overpowering. There are others that are fine ... but when we sit down for a drink, we want something that's outstanding, not just middle of the road. To rank these whiskeys, we looked at their flavor and strength, cost, availability, and whether or not they can be consumed independently or need a mixer. So, let's talk about flavored whiskey: what should you get, what should you avoid, and what's going to sit on your shelf for a long, long time.

16. Southern Tier Pumking

Southern Tier's Pumking whiskey will undoubtedly have fans out there — and they might even be very angry to see this coming in at the bottom of our ranking. But here's the thing: It's also incredibly polarizing. This isn't a whiskey that's doing flavored whiskeys any favors, and here's why: For every person who loves it, there's someone who can't even take a whiff without their stomach churning. If that's your first introduction to flavored whiskey, it's no wonder it has such a bad reputation.

Even if you love this one, it's hard to deny that it's perhaps a little too pumpkin-flavored. By that, we mean that the fact that it's pumpkin whiskey sort of gets lost among the overload of pumpkin pie spices and notes of graham crackers. It might as well be a pumpkin-spiced, whatever, and here's the thing: What we want to see from a good flavored whiskey is clear flavors that don't overpower the fact that you're drinking whiskey ... and sorry, Pumking fans, this one's a bit too much.

15. Dough Ball

When we first heard about the release of a cookie dough whiskey, it was like finding out that someone is making a two-hour movie adaptation of your favorite fantasy book series. Eh, all right? Maybe?

We'll be the first to admit that anyone who tries to tell us that eating raw cookie dough is bad will likely get a tearful "You can't tell us how to live our life!" in reply, but there's something jarring about the combination of cookie dough and whiskey. Crack open the bottle, and it smells like something you'd want to take a massive spoonful of. (Or two.) 

This really isn't a drink — it's a dessert. It's overwhelmingly sweet, and that said, it could have a place on the shelf if you're looking for a boozy dessert. Mix it with cream soda, root beer, or ice cream, or use it to make a version of rum balls, but alone, it packs a powerfully sweet punch that makes it way too overpowering.

14. Jameson Cold Brew

Whiskey heavy-hitter Jameson threw its hat in the flavored whiskey ring with a weird one: Jameson Cold Brew. It's a so-so 60-proof bottle that's sure to trigger a roller coaster of emotions. "Coffee and whiskey?" "No." "But ... Irish coffee is a thing, so maybe this is delicious?" In short? Irish coffee: yes. Jameson Cold Brew: no.

Mix an Irish coffee right, and you'll get the warmth of the whiskey under the creaminess and coffee deliciousness, but that's not what's going on with Jameson's Cold Brew. There's so much coffee here that drinking it comes with a sneaking suspicion that you're about to get some grounds, and there's not much in the way of sweetness here at all. It's just ... well, weird, and it leaves behind an odd aftertaste that's a bit like you might imagine chocolate ashes to taste like. It's acceptable enough once it gets a little bit of help, in the form of a cocktail or with the addition of some Irish cream. On the rocks? Not so much.

13. Evan Williams Kentucky Cider

We have a really hard time even calling Evan Williams Kentucky Cider a flavored whiskey, but here we are. What's our main beef with it? It's bottled at a dismal 34 proof, which makes it more along the lines of a really weak liqueur than what you might expect from a whiskey. It is, in fact, a mix of whiskey and apple cider liqueur. 

That said, it doesn't taste terrible, but it doesn't taste at all like whiskey, either. It's typically only available starting in September, which makes sense. The perfect time to drink this is in the autumn when you're looking for something light, affordable, and sort of like a drinkable version of the perfect autumn apple pie. Serve it over ice, and it's not terrible but not exactly what you think of when you think of whiskey. And shouldn't a flavored whiskey be, well, whiskey?

12. Fireball Whiskey

We get it: Fireball is popular for a reason, and not just because it has a cool logo. But we still have thoughts.

First, Fireball is just 66 proof — well below the average whiskey and well below many other flavored whiskeys. Second, as it tastes more like a cinnamon Red Hot candy than the actual spice cinnamon, it comes with a back-of-the-throat burn that can be a little too much. And here's the thing: We're here to talk about flavored whiskeys, not pontificate about things like mouthfeel. But it's something that stands out with Fireball because it doesn't feel like you're drinking whiskey at all. It's got the smooth, silky texture of a liqueur, and while that's fine, that's not what we're going for here.

This also gets downgraded because of potential confusion. In addition to Fireball's Cinnamon Whisky, the company also produces Fireball Cinnamon. What's the difference? The latter is an even lower-proof malt beverage, but given that they're packaged in almost exactly the same way, it's easy to grab a bottle thinking it's whiskey ... when it's not. It's even been the subject of a class-action lawsuit. Not cool!

11. Jim Beam Red Stag

With Jim Beam's Red Stag, we're still hovering in flavored whiskey territory that's just fine ... we suppose. And Jim Beam's customers seem to think so, too, with Red Stag netting 3.5 out of 5 stars on the company's website. Jim Beam definitely gets points for honesty; when we checked out the site, the very first review was unflattering, "I thought I would give this a chance, but if I wanted cough syrup, I would've bought cough syrup."

We can't say we entirely agree, as Red Stag isn't the best, but it's not the worst, either. Just the fact that it's black cherry flavored sets it apart, but it does have a cloying sweetness with some ... alright, cough syrup vibes.

Sometimes, you're in the mood for a sweet drink, though—and mixing this with cola is surprisingly good—as long as you're in the mood for it. It's a different kind of sweet than the dessert-style cookie dough and pumpkin spice whiskeys that we've already looked at, which makes it a little more versatile. Need to satisfy your sweet tooth? Red Stag will treat you right.

10. Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey

The explanation for this one really just needs to be a meme of someone throwing their hands up in the air with a caption that says, "So, this is where we are as a society now. I don't know what's going on anymore, but it's delicious."

That's because Skrewball's Peanut Butter Whiskey is both a thing, and not nearly as weird a thing as it might seem at a glance. It's here that we actually get into the section of the rankings that are sort of defined as being the flavored whiskeys that we'd keep on hand should the mood suit, and it's also the segment that we'd comfortably and confidently buy.

But here's what holds Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey back from being higher up. Not only do you have to be in the mood for this one, but while the first few sips are delicious, it quickly becomes heavy feeling. The sweetness comes more and more to the forefront, and if you've poured the tumbler over ice, you'll be ready for it to end. It's a great dessert drink, but only in moderation.

9. Crown Royal Peach Whiskey

When it comes time to pick a whiskey to take to a fancy dinner party, there's no way to go wrong with Crown Royal. If you're having to pick up a bottle of something to head over to christen a friend's new basement bar instead, there's no way to go wrong with Crown Royal Peach. (For the sake of completeness, we have to mention that Crown Royal's other flavors, like salted caramel and vanilla, are also decent options, but we decided to go with the peach for the novelty.)

Why should you give this one a try? Open the bottle, and the peach smell is unmistakable — but unlike some of the other cloying, candy-sweet options that are out there, this is a more well-balanced whiskey. The peach isn't super overwhelming, but it's still there and doesn't have some of the weird textures some flavored whiskeys tend to get. Crown Royal remembered that it's not all about the flavor, it's about the whiskey, too — and that makes this a perfectly respectable summertime drink. This peach whiskey might have placed higher, except for two things: It tends to come with the Crown Royal price tag, and it also has a history of being difficult to find.

8. Jack Daniel's Tennessee Apple

Simply put, anyone who loves apples will love Jack Daniel's Tennessee Apple. While many flavored whiskeys come in way too heavy on sweetness, this one doesn't — and in fact, it even has a bit of a sourness to provide balance. It is, after all, a green apple flavor, and once the vanilla and toffee apple get added in there, it all comes together to be a completely respectable beverage that's not going to stop you in your tracks with a distracting sweetness.

While it's perfectly fine alone, pouring this over rocks definitely takes it up a notch. This gets extra points, too, because while many apple drinks are considered only during the autumn, the sour bite of the green apple here makes this a great summertime drink, too. Use lemonade, a lemon-lime soda, or a tonic for something light and refreshing.

Now, the elephant in the room: How does it stack up against Jim Beam's Apple? It's definitely not as sweet, and the biggest difference is perhaps this: You don't need to be a fan of the standard Jack Daniel's to appreciate this, but you should probably like Jim Beam before you try Jim Beam's Apple. An important difference, right?

7. Ballotin Bourbon Ball Chocolate Whiskey

Now, we know we ranked some of the dessert-like flavored whiskeys fairly low, so before there's any crying foul on this one, let's say this: Ballotin's Bourbon Ball Chocolate Whiskey knows what it is, and it stays in the right lane. (It's also worth mentioning that Ballotin's other chocolate whiskeys are also worth a try, but this is the one that stood out to us.)

For anyone who's had bourbon balls around the holidays, this is sure to be a win. The strong amaretto and vanilla flavors give this one a nutty vibe that is indeed reminiscent of homemade bourbon balls ... incidentally, if you happen to enjoy a few of those sweet treats alongside your drink, so much the better. Also, pro tip: Instead of just serving this one over ice, turn it into a white Russian, and you will have absolutely zero regrets. It is a little light — only 60 proof — but it's so rich that the lower alcohol content is fine.

6. Dewar's Highlander Honey

Dewar's Highlander Honey is, as the name suggests, a flavored Scotch whisky, and it's got a few things going for it. Not only is it affordable, but it's a respectable 80 proof — and that means you're getting more bang for your buck.

Honey can be a tough flavor to get right, but this one does. It's also not as sweet as you might expect, and while the honey is definitely at the forefront, it's not the sweet, artificial sort of honey flavor that makes you feel as though you've managed to get sticky just by being in the same zip code as the bottle. We like this, too, because it's versatile: It's not too sweet to serve on the rocks, but it's also flavorful enough to serve in a modern cocktail or — because a drink doesn't have to be fancy to be good — it's also delicious in a simple cola drink.

5. Old Forester Mint Julep

Old Forester Mint Julep is one of the most complicated flavored whiskeys out there, but it works because, well, mint juleps have been a thing for a long time. It's more than that, though, and this affordable, 60-proof bottle could have gone horribly wrong.

It's the mint that's super easy to fall down on because there are precisely two kinds of mint flavors: real mint and toothpaste. Real mint is the stuff of a winning mint julep or mojito, and toothpaste is, well, artificial, gummy, and falsely tingling. Fortunately, this offering from Old Forester leans toward the former, and it also helps that Old Forester is known for putting out a quality product. (The company was, after all, one of the first kids on the block when it comes to bourbon.) When served over crushed ice with the addition of fresh mint, Old Forester Mint Julep is a delightful, refreshing drink — whether it's race day or not.

4. Jim Beam Vanilla

Jim Beam Vanilla might be a surprise to come in near the top of the pile, but it really shouldn't be. Even though it comes at a slightly low 70-proof, it's got affordability, accessibility, and taste all going for it. Vanilla is a great option for literally any time when you're not sure what someone is going to like — they'll like vanilla. And here's the thing: It's a phenomenal mixer.

Anyone who makes sure to check the shelves for Vanilla Coke or Vanilla Pepsi needs to keep a bottle of this on hand ... add it to cherry cola, and it might just be the perfect way to treat yourself to a little TLC after a bad day. This is also amazing in both root beer and cream soda, so much so that drinking it straight or on the rocks isn't coming anywhere near unlocking the full potential of this seemingly kind of plain bottle. Vanilla, after all, generally isn't on anyone's list of super-fun flavors, but in this case? It should be.

3. Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey

Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey is technically a liqueur made with whiskey, and while there's likely to be plenty of people saying, "That's not a whiskey," that doesn't change the facts that it involves whiskey, and it's darn tasty. Like some of our other favorite picks, it's affordable and widely available, which is important. At 70 proof, it's not the strongest option out there, but that means it's not going to put you on the floor immediately, either. Best of all, the honey flavor is legit.

Honey, after all, is a sweetener — so it sort of goes without saying that it would be incredibly easy to make this too sweet. Jack Daniel's gets it right, though, and it's not overpowering. That's probably because it's set against a slight caramel flavor that takes the edge off any potentially cloying sweetness, and it absolutely works. Throwing a fancy dinner party and looking for an aperitif? Look no further. Planning on sitting on the back porch in sweatpants, watching the sun set with a drink in your hand? Also ... look no further. 

2. Knob Creek Smoked Maple

Knob Creek Smoked Maple comes in at a whopping 90 proof, making it something of a heavy hitter among flavored whiskeys. That's not why we love it, though, but it does help to justify the price tag. And if you're thinking you might shy away from it because of the alcohol level, you really don't have to worry about it being reflected in the taste. Just like the standard offerings from Knob Creek, this is definitely worth space on your liquor shelf or at your bar.

Anyone who loves maple syrup should give this a try, and don't worry — it's not like pouring a bottle on your pancakes. The maple notes are prominent but not tooth-achingly sweet, with the edge taken off by a wonderfully smoky caramel-and-cinnamon flavor. While this might end up being a special occasion or particularly bad day sort of bottle, there's no denying that it's sure to become a favorite, with no mixers required.

1. Wild Turkey American Honey Sting

The thing about a lot of flavored alcohols — and not just whiskey — is that it's tough to get excited about the announcement of a new one. Oh, another cinnamon drink? One more apple-flavored beverage? Wild Turkey, though, didn't just think outside the box for American Honey Sting; the company kicked it over and set it on fire.

This 71-proof whiskey drink is flavored with standard honey ... and the sting is supplied by ghost peppers. Both of those ingredients are the real deal, and you don't have to be one of those people who eats hot peppers for fun to enjoy it. Wild Turkey's drink isn't melt-your-face-off hot, and honestly, you might not even think ghost peppers are involved. While they won't leave you reaching for the milk, they do serve to balance the sweetness of the honey in the same way that a really good barbeque sauce will be a pleasant combination of sweetness and heat.

While American Honey Sting is a bit on the high side as far as price goes, treat yourself. You won't regret it.


Ranking flavored whiskey is no easy job, but someone has to do it. Our methodology behind this article used a relatively straightforward approach. We started by doing research into which popular distillers on the market had flavored versions of signature whiskey. Upon collecting various contenders from these larger producers, the author then scoured the whiskey market for smaller, independent brands that have prominent offerings of flavored whiskeys. The author of this article had personal experience tasting many of the brands on this list, but for those that they hadn't tasted, online consumer reviews from both company websites and retailers were taken into consideration. 

To determine where a particular bottle fit on this list, several factors were evaluated: First, we considered the taste of the whiskey. Does it match the intended flavor as listed on the label, or did the taste require mixers to mask it? Next, we considered cost and availability. Was the whiskey worth the spend, could we see it having a place on a home bar as a bottle that deserved to fit in a regular rotation, and is it easy to find? Finally, we looked at the composition of the bottle. Was the whiskey high or low-proof, and is it technically a whiskey at all? With these things in mind, we developed a list that we're confident ranks the best-flavored whiskeys on the market.