Best Budget-Friendly Bourbons

Zero George's Mint Julep
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Rachael Burrow

Serving mint juleps at your Kentucky Derby party sounds like fun until you start the mental math of how much bourbon you'll need to stock. Even a relatively small guestlist can make for one expensive shindig if you don't know which bottle to buy. Rest assured, we have 10 budget-friendly bottles under $50 that will check one more thing off your to-do list and free you up to polish those silver cups.

01 of 10

Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey

Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey

Our number one with a bullet (sorry), this pleasantly spicy bourbon (thanks to its mash bill high in rye) plays nicely off the sweetness of the sugar and the tingly taste of mint.

02 of 10

Wild Turkey 101

Wild Turkey 101
Campari Group

The flagship bourbon under father-son master distillers and bourbon country legends Jimmy and Eddie Russell, Wild Turkey 101 provides a solid foundation for any cocktail and sips nicely on its own too

03 of 10

Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Buffalo Trace Distillery

The same distillery that produces pricier favorites like Eagle Rare and W.L. Weller, this namesake bourbon has undercurrents of molasses and brown sugar that lends itself to classics like the old fashioned.

04 of 10

Old Forester Classic 86 Proof

Old Forester Classic 86 Proof
Old Forester

Pair this vanilla noted bourbon with drinks driven by citrus. They will compliment its subtle but bright orange character.

05 of 10

Four Roses Bourbon Small Batch

Four Roses Bourbon Small Batch
Four Roses Bourbon

With a honeycrisp apple backdrop, this long-loved variety doesn't need much dressing up even for bourbon beginners.

06 of 10

Old Grand-Dad

Old Grand-Dad Bourbon
Old Liquors

A staple of mixologists, Old Grand-Dad might be bottom shelf, but isn't slim pickings. And for roughly $18 a bottle, you can afford a few extra bottles in case your party draws a big crowd.

07 of 10

Old Fitzgerald

Old Fitzgerald Bourbon
Heaven Hill Distillery

Because Old Fitzgerald is a wheated bourbon, this is the perfect one for anyone who prefers a smoother, sweeter, and softer situation in their cocktail or in the rocks glass

08 of 10

Evan Williams Black Label

Evan Williams Black Label
Evan Williams

Widely available and $25 for a handle, Evan Williams Black Label is perfect for mass mint julep making.

09 of 10

Jim Beam Black Label

Jim Beam Black Label
Beam Suntory

While some might write Jim Beam off from their college days, this staple is worth appreciating, especially with its 8-year aging, which makes it a much more complex tasting sip than Jim Beam's 4-year-old bourbon.

10 of 10

Very Old Barton

Very Old Barton
Sazerac Company

Hard to find outside of Kentucky (but possible!), snag this bottle if you see it. The quality for the price point is hard to beat. It's also a great bourbon for anyone who wants a dry drink rather than sweet.

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