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The best bourbons to drink around a summer campfire

Bourbon and campfires are made for each other

Whiskey fire
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In the pantheon of summer activities that we think about and pine for in the dark depths of winter, few beat the appeal of the campfire. Regardless of whether it’s during a camping trip with friends and family or in our backyard, we love a good, warming campfire. It’s the perfect way to wind down the day with fiery heat warming your body from the evening’s chill and a gooey, melty, sweet s’more in one hand and a glass of whiskey in the other.

And if we’re drinking whiskey around the campfire, you better believe it’s sweet, mellow, easy-drinking bourbon. The corn-based whiskey is well-suited to be sipped neat or on the rocks while you sit around a roaring summer fire in comfortable Adirondack chairs.

The best bourbons to drink around a summer campfire

Whiskey bottles
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You could spend all day wandering the aisles at your favorite liquor retailer or scrolling through online retailers while you read bourbon reviews, or you could just let us do the work for you. We found a great mix of bourbons. Some are bargain-priced, some are high-proof to warm you on an unseasonably cool summer night, and all are well-suited for sipping while you sit alongside a warming campfire. Keep scrolling to see all of the picks.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof
Elijah Craig

Named for the former Baptist minister who some believe invented bourbon, Elijah Craig is one of the best value brands on the market. One of its best expressions to sip while you sit near a roaring campfire is its Elijah Craig Barrel Proof. This small batch of whiskey is uncut, comes straight from the barrel, and is non-chill filtered. While every batch is a little different in terms of proof and flavor, you can bet you’ll find notes of butterscotch, fresh leather, vanilla beans, charred oak, and gentle spices.

Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style

Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style
Old Forester

Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style is the only bourbon that’s been made since before, during, and after Prohibition. It’s an award-winning, 115-proof whiskey known for its nose of dried cherries, toffee candy, chocolate, maple candy, and oak. Sipping it reveals notes of candied nuts, graham crackers, peppery rye, vanilla beans, and toasted marshmallows. Could there be a better bourbon to drink around a campfire? Probably not.

Wild Turkey 101

Wild Turkey 101
Wild Turkey

If you were to take an informal poll of bourbon drinkers, distillery, and bartenders and had them tell you their favorite everyday sipping bourbon, you’d get a lot of people raving about Wild Turkey 101. This 101-proof whiskey is known for its mix of candied orange peels, vanilla beans, caramelized sugar, cinnamon candy, oaky wood, and gentle spices. This warming, sweet, lightly spicy whiskey is the perfect accompaniment to a summer campfire.

Still, Austin Cask Strength

Still Austin Cask Strength
Still Austin

If you’re ready to branch out away from the big brands, we suggest grabbing a bottle from Still Austin. Specifically, it’s Still Austin Cask Strength. This award-winning, 118-proof whiskey has a mash bill of 70% white corn, 25% rye, and 5% malted barley. Matured in charred oak barrels for at least two full years, it’s known for its aromas and flavors of candied cherries, ripe berries, cinnamon sugar, brown sugar, pecans, butterscotch, and a gently spicy finish.

Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace
Buffalo Trace

When it comes to bargain bourbons, very few match the appeal of Buffalo Trace. This flagship expression from the iconic distillery is made with a mash bill of corn, rye, and malted barley. It’s matured in charred oak in the century-old rickhouses at the distillery. This award-winning sipping whiskey is known for its mix of sticky toffee, dried fruits, vanilla beans, butterscotch, gentle spices, and rich oak. It’s a great addition to a summer campfire.

Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage

Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage
Evan Williams

There might not be a more underrated bourbon brand than Evan Williams. You can’t go wrong with any of its expressions, but its Evan Williams Single Barrel is a great choice for campfire sipping. This award-winning single-barrel bourbon was matured in charred oak barrels between seven and eight full years. Labeled with its vintage number like a fine wine, it’s known for its flavors of orchard fruits, toffee, charred wood, honey, candied orange peels, and light spices.

Bottom line

Whiskey barrels
Katherine Conrad/Unsplash

Whether you purchase one of the above bottles or you crack open your favorite whiskey, campfires are only made better with the addition of a glass (or two) of bourbon neat or on the rocks. Stock up on a few bottles now to guarantee the best summer experiences possible. Trust us. You wont be happy if that first campfire is list and you realize you have to run to the liquor store before you can enjoy yourself.

Christopher Osburn
Christopher Osburn is a food and drinks writer located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. He's been writing professional
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