For the last few years Buffalo Trace Bourbon has been a darling bottle for many bartenders due to its solid quality and affordable price, making it a very appealing cocktail bourbon. While that may not be the case in all markets anymore due to its rise in popularity, the quality remains the same. Buffalo Trace Bourbon is owned by Sazerac Company and produced at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort Kentucky. Longtime Bourbon enthusiasts may find this bottle a bit light in flavor and lower in ABV than they might prefer, but it’s a great introduction to bourbon and perfect for mixing drinks.
Buffalo Trace Products
In addition to the standard Buffalo Trace Bourbon bottled at 45% ABV (40% in international markets), the brand also produces a few other products with its name on the bottle.
- Buffalo Trace White Dog
White Dog is Buffalo Trace’s unaged mash bottled for commercial consumption. In the old days, some of Kentucky’s whiskey pioneers would drink the unaged spirit right off their still, calling it the white dog. This bottle follows that legacy, providing what is essentially watered-down moonshine for the home drinker. If you’ve ever been curious about what whiskey tastes like before it is barrel-aged, try this and find out. If you’re really feeling adventurous you could pick up a few bottles of this and try barrel aging it yourself. Bottled at 62.5% ABV.
- Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection
According to Buffalo Trace Distillery, they are constantly experimenting with new processes for making whiskey, including new mash bills, new barrel toasting methods, wood grains, warehouse temperatures, etc. Some of these experiments are then bottled and sold as Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection. Due to the experimental nature of the product, many of these bottles vary greatly in taste, color, and ABV.
- Buffalo Trace Bourbon Cream
A blend of Buffalo Trace bourbon and vanilla cream, this Irish cream substitute is a recommended addition to a cup of coffee or a glass of root beer. Bottled at 15% ABV.
Buffalo Trace Whiskey Pricing
Below are the Buffalo Trace whiskey’s prices:
|Type||Bottle Size||Starting Price|
|Buffalo Trace Bourbon||750ml||$30.99|
|Buffalo Trace Distillery Bourbon Cream||750ml||$24.99|
|Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection||750ml||$250.50|
|Buffalo Trace White Dog Mash #1||375ml||$16.99|
There are so many bourbons on the market, and many make a solid alternative to Buffalo Trace. For this list, I’ll try to avoid bourbon brands made at the Buffalo Trace distillery in favor of those manufactured elsewhere.
If you can get past the scandal surrounding the founding family, Bulleit makes an excellent product. Their bourbon is produced at the Bulleit Distillery in Shelbyville, Kentucky, but was previously produced in Lawrenceburg Kentucky, and Lawrenceburg, Indiana. They use a mash bill containing 68% Corn, 28% Rye, and 4% malted barley. Their bourbon is aged ten years and bottled at 45% ABV. They also bottle rye.
Maker’s Mark is distilled in the Burks distillery in Loretto, Kentucky. One of the most famous names in bourbon, Maker’s makes an excellent product, and until the last decade that was all they made. Only recently did they introduce Maker’s 46 and other new editions of their classic bourbon. Makers is set apart by its mash bill which contains no rye and instead uses corn, wheat, and barley. Makers Mark is owned by Beam Suntory and bottled at 45% ABV.
- Four Roses
Four Roses produces some solid bourbon and their standard bottle is a reasonable price. Owned by Kirin, and distilled in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, Four Roses is bottled at 40% ABV, but their Small Batch Bottle at 45% ABV may be a better comparison to Buffalo Trace.
Cocktails With Buffalo Trace
The whiskey sour we all met first was likely a mix of Jim Beam and sour mix from a soda gun. Well, that dive bar classic can be upgraded in a huge way. Here are two classic recipes for upgraded whiskey sours. Try experimenting with flavored simple syrups to add another dimension to these classics.
Boston Style Whisky Sour
- 2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon
- ¾ oz Lemon Juice
- ½ oz simple syrup
- ½ oz egg white.
Shake all ingredients except egg white over ice. Strain out ice, add egg whites, and shake again hard for a few seconds. Fine strain into a coupe. Garnish with a few drops of angostura bitters.
Many of you may be thinking. “Egg whites? In my cocktail?” but let me reassure you, this is safe. It’s a classic recipe known as a Boston style whiskey sour, and the egg whites add a wonderfully thick foam to the top of the drink. Most bacteria in eggs actually lies on the shell, and the high alcohol content of the bourbon and acidity of the lemon juice will kill any germs that may have made it into your drink.
New York Whiskey Sour
- 2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon
- 1 oz lemon juice
- ¾ oz simple syrup
- ½ oz bold red wine
Shake all ingredients, except the wine. Strain over a large cube. Float red wine on top. Another classic variation on the whiskey sour, the New York style whiskey sour comes with an added red wine float. It’s best to choose a red wine with some character to stand up to the bourbon. If poured correctly, you’ll get a beautifully layered drink.
How Buffalo Trace Whiskey Came To Be?
Buffalo Trace Distillery is said to be the oldest continuously operating distillery in the USA, officially dating back to 1792. However, the name and brand are much newer than that. The distillery was previously known as George T. Stagg Distillery and Old Fire Copper or OFC Distillery, prior to being renamed Buffalo Trace Distillery in 1999, coinciding with the launch of Buffalo Trace Bourbon.
Architectural remnants of the original distillery have been found on site and support the claim that the Buffalo Trace Distillery is the oldest in the nation, dating whiskey production on the site to as early as 1775. The distillery was also the first in the USA to have steam-heated warehouses, allowing whiskey to continue to mature during cold winter months. The distillery is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and as a National Historic Landmark.
In addition to Buffalo Trace Bourbon, the Buffalo Trace Distillery also produces a number of other brands of bourbon, as well as ryes and even vodka. Brands such as George T. Stagg, Col. E.H Taylor, Eagle Rare, W.L. Weller, Sazerac Rye, OFC Bourbon, Blanton’s, Elmer T. Lee, and numerous Pappy Van Winkle and Old Van Winkle products are produced at the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Buffalo Trace Distillery also produces whiskies for store brands such as Costco’s Kirkland brand.
Buffalo Trace Production
Buffalo Trace begins with corn from Kentucky and Indiana, as well as wheat, malted barley, and rye. While they keep their mash bills a secret, it is suspected that many of the products produced at the Buffalo Trace Distillery use the same mash bill. The grains are cooked in a high-pressure cooker with limestone water sourced from Kentucky, producing what is known as “sweet mash”. The sweet mash is then fermented with added “sour mash”, already fermented mash from previous whiskey production. After fermenting, the mash is run through two stills, producing a clear distillate known as “white dog”. The “White Dog” is then barrelled in charred oak barrels and stored in one of Buffalo Traces’ many different warehouses to age. When done aging, the barrel contents are tested by the Master Distillers, and then blended and bottled, sometimes by hand.