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Resolve to Drink Better in the New Year - Kevin Gray

Lounge Concierge

6 Liquor Swaps for Better Drinking in 2024

Each new year is a new opportunity to make some positive changes in your life. But let’s skip the typical resolutions and focus on something that’s equally important: drinking better spirits. Because if you’re going to imbibe, you might as well tip back the good stuff. These are six liquor swaps to make in the new year, whether you’re ordering at the bar or stocking your own bar at home.

The usual: Maker’s Mark Bourbon

The upgrade: Four Roses Small Batch Select Bourbon

There’s a time and a place for simple bourbon — the golf course comes to mind — but with so many excellent expressions on the shelves these days, there’s no reason to limit your glass to the basics. Instead, try Four Roses Small Batch Select. It’s relatively easy to find and won’t break the bank, but this 104-proof, non-chill-filtered bourbon has flavor dialed up to 11, with notes of baking spices, vanilla, berries and cooling mint.



The usual: Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch

The upgrade: Chivas Regal XV

Single malts are always a good choice, but if you enjoy the easygoing nature of blends like Johnnie Walker, try Chivas Regal XV. It’s aged for 15 years in French oak, finished in Grand Champagne Cognac casks, and features notes of poached pears, orange marmalade, honey and toffee.


The usual: Patron Añejo Tequila

The upgrade: El Tesoro Extra Añejo

There are a lot of good aged tequilas on the market, but it’s hard to beat El Tesoro Extra Añejo, which manages to extract flavors from its time in oak without losing the underlying agave it’s made from. The tequila is rich and silky, with notes of vanilla and caramel complementing the natural flavors of cooked agave.


The usual: Ketel One or Grey Goose Vodka

The upgrade: Kástra Elión Vodka

Ketel and Goose are solid picks, and you can confidently serve them to your vodka-drinking friends. But those vodka-drinking friends will surely appreciate a glass of Kástra Elión, a Greek vodka that’s distilled from olives. It’s rich and silky on the palate, and while most vodkas are neutral in flavor, this one’s sporting notes of vanilla, butterscotch, citrus and pepper.


The usual: Tanqueray Gin

The upgrade: The Botanist Islay Dry Gin

Craft gins have exploded in the past decade, but they’re not all created equal. The Botanist hails from Islay, the same island that produces some of the world’s best scotch. It features local botanicals and has a weighty texture that works great in Martinis.


The usual: Bacardi Rum

The upgrade: Ten to One Rum

Ten to One is a relatively new Caribbean rum brand that’s currently making two expressions. The white rum merges unaged column still rum from the Dominican Republic with high-ester Jamaican pot still rum. It’s packed with fruit and floral flavors that make it perfect for Daiquiris and other cocktails. The dark rum combines column still rums from Barbados and the Dominican with Jamaican pot still rum and Trinidadian rum. It’s great sipped neat or poured over ice, and has flavors of baking spices, bananas, tobacco, cedar and leather.


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