Maxim - The Best New American Whiskeys of 2020

By Nicolas Stecher for Maxim 

Whether to gift or stash for yourself, the best American Single Malts, Ryes and Bourbons to seek out this holiday. 

We’re not gonna lie, we get a lot of whiskey pushed across our desk. Nowadays most of it is is worthy as standards escalate, very few are swill, but even fewer rise to truly exceptional status. We sampled our way through over a hundred bottles to bring you this list here, an update on our "Best of American Whiskey" breakdown we crafted last year. Every bottle counted here is new to 2020 — from small boutique distillers offering their first wares to venerable pillars of the bourbon world revealing deep cuts of their rarest honey barrels. So whether you’re buying these for your favorite whiskey nerd or hoarding them like Gollum, here are our favorite 25 new American Single Malts, Ryes, Bourbons and Innovators for 2020.


tea infused whiskey


The pride of Evanston, Illinois, FEW Spirits excels in innovating the artform. Last year we sang the praises of their Cold Cut which used cold brew to proof their bourbon. No not an infusion, mind you, rather they used actual coffee to substitute for water in bringing their whiskey down to 93-proof. Insane in concept, but delicious in execution. This year their Immortal Rye repeats the magic trick, except the Lake Michigan distillery taps Denver’s The Tea Spot8 Immortals” tea to proof their cask-strength Straight Rye (70% rye / 20% corn / 10% malted barley) instead of coffee. So cold-extracted tea instead of cold brew coffee, with the Chinese hand-harvested Dancong oolong adding subtle harmonies of peach, honey, and dragon fruit to the rye’s peppery spice vocal. Only 6,000 bottles.

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