The flavored whiskey trend shows no sign of letting up. Fireball was the one that really legitimized them, and distillers up and down the continent are trying to strike lucky and be the first to discover the next big hit.
Fruit has been the trend up until now, but recently there has been a shift towards confectionary – so-called ‘dessert whiskeys’.
Next up is peanut butter.
Peanuts are one of those divisive, all-or-nothing flavors. Those who can’t stand them, really can’t. But if you’re a peanut lover, trust me when I tell you that there’s a magical opportunity here.
When working the bar, I love to open my customers up to experiences that feel personal. That feeling of trying something completely new leaves guests delighted.
It’s a bit like they’ve fallen in love with their own “secret drink” – something designed just for them.
Combining two of God’s great gifts, I’ll step you through some of the best peanut butter whiskeys and show you where to start with this novel and moreish treat.
|Can I have peanut butter whiskey if I’m allergic to nuts?
The vast majority of peanut butter whiskies do contain ingredients sourced from actual peanuts like peanut oil, so you should always check the bottle if you have an allergy.
Some options on the market are made without nuts and will be safe- such as Sqqrl and PB & W (both discussed below).
Best Peanut Butter Whiskey- The Lowdown
Most Popular Peanut Butter Whiskey: Screwball – 35% ABV
Screwball is the most popular peanut butter whiskey on the market, produced by a husband and wife team from Ocean Beach, California. The idea came from a peanut butter cocktail in their restaurant that was so popular they decided to capture it in a bespoke spirit.
It’s branded as a fun drink for those who want to go a little off-piste. The nose is buttery, like walking into a popcorn factory for the first time and getting smacked in the face by the smell. There are huge caramel notes on the palate, and the peanut taste is strong and rich in all the right ways.
This sweet offering is extremely smooth, with very little alcoholic heat or harshness. Chuck in an ice cube to round out some of the sweetness for a satisfying dessert pour.
Screwball sets the bar for peanut butter whiskey and is a great place to start exploring.
Best for: Getting Started
Screwball was first to the game and is far and away the most widely sold peanut butter whiskey on the market. Try this out before moving on to more complex blends to get a good idea of a straightforward blend that strikes the right balance between peanut and sweetness.
Best Peanut Butter Whiskey Overall: Bird Dog Peanut Butter – 40% ABV
Bird Dog have been increasingly active in the flavored whiskey game, and this variation holds up well in their line-up.
Vanilla and caramel notes combine to mellow the nutty flavor, combining to produce a very smooth blend. There’s an undercurrent of smokiness with hints of wood char in the nose and on the palate. The finish is warm and slow, fading into a sweet caramel. There’s less burn than you would expect from an 80 proof, and a little chilling turns it into an easy shooter.
Like the other Bird Dog products, this whisky is really good value for money and can certainly compete with some of the more expensive offerings on this list. This is the way to go if you’re looking for bang for your buck.
Bird Dog’s Peanut Butter Whiskey goes down smooth. Aromatic vanilla and caramel undertones round out the nutty flavor for a slow, warm finish.
Best for: Value for Money
You’re not going to do much better than $15 for a bottle of good peanut butter whiskey. If flavored whiskey feels like a bit of a risk, there’s nothing wrong with starting small. Don’t be put off by the price tag- this is still a competent blend that will beat out some more expensive bottles in blind taste tests.
Sheep Dog – 35% ABV
Sheep Dog is the most savory peanut butter whiskey I’ve come across, and probably the best option for those who can find flavored whiskeys a little overwhelmingly sweet. There’s more butter than peanut on the palate – certainly less peanut than Screwball, for example.
The body is relatively thick and each sip offers some good heat that will warm your chest.
Peppery elements emerge on the palate, giving this spikey blend the feel of crunchy peanut butter. The subtle sweetness evokes salted pretzels dipped in a little golden syrup.
Because it’s not too sweet you can drink it straight, which sets it apart from some of the more sugary options on this list.
Having said that, it’s still a liqueur and doesn’t offer a lot in the way of traditional bourbon notes like smoke or woodiness.
Best for: Those Who are Sweet Enough as is
The problem most flavored whiskies have is that they attempt to cover up the palate by making things ridiculously sweet. This is a grown-up blend that you can sip all night without feeling like you’ve eaten a bag of candy.
Ole Smokey Peanut Butter Tennessee Whiskey- 30% ABV
Ole Smokey are known for their quirky moonshine offerings and have spent the past few years using this knowledge of unusual flavor combinations to put together a great range of off-piste whiskies
It’s worth being aware that Ole Smokey is incredibly sweet, and almost slips into the peanut butter liqueur territory. The body is thick and clings to the side of the glass, indicating high sugar content.
On the palate, think buttered popcorn, shortbread, and honey. If you find it a little overpowering to sip, you may prefer serving Smokey as a delicious chilled shooter.
This mountain-made Tennessee whiskey is very drinkable at just 30 ABV, with very little whiskey taste on the nose or palate. This lack of bite may leave some wanting more but for beginners, it is an opportunity for a very smooth dram that still has some complexity with oak and vanilla notes.
Best for: People Who Aren’t Whiskey People
This is a fun and innately drinkable blend that is a great choice if you are unaccustomed to strong whiskies. The heavy sweetness goes a long way to minimize alcohol burn and lets you just focus on the peanut butter. Yum.
Sqrrl Peanut Butter Whiskey- 35% ABV
The guys at Jim Beam know what they’re doing, so when they step into the peanut whiskey game you can be fairly confident they’re going to knock it out of the park. And that’s exactly what they’ve done.
Made with American whiskey, this blend combines chocolate and peanut butter to give the feeling of drinking Reese’s peanut butter cups. There are undercurrents of butterscotch and caramel there too, balancing out the very strong peanut element.
The body is quite oily due to the peanut oil used in production, which will appeal to some and put others off. It may be a little too sweet for daily drinking, and you won’t be able to find the classic Jim Beam Kentucky taste in the flavor profile.
It’s a fun and well-priced dessert whiskey with a cool bottle design that will draw attention at any party or function
Best for: Chocoholics
The chocolate in this blend is more than an afterthought and manages to cut through strong peanuts and shine. This classic flavor combination makes a pleasant change from jelly-inspired expressions and offers an excellent bang for your buck.
Skatter Brain PB & J Whiskey – 35% ABV
Here’s a peanut butter whiskey straight out of the lunchbox. Skatter Brain PB & J is made with a smooth Canadian Rye base with added natural fruit and peanut butter flavors – the first whiskey on the market to attempt the blend in a single bottle.
The body is thick and syrupy, holding sweet raspberry tones and a vanilla-enhanced peanut punch. This is a sweet whiskey that may not appeal to purists, but it is not overwhelming.
As the name suggests, it’s about as sweet as you’d expect a PB & J sandwich to be. In other words, perfect.
The finish is rounded out nicely by the sweetness that characterizes Canadian whiskeys, with a little oakiness to remind you that you’re still drinking a whiskey. The premise of this blend is ambitious, but Skatter Brain has certainly managed to pull it off this time.
Best for- Nostalgics
Skatter Brain produces the closest thing I’ve been able to find to the holy grail; a PB & J sandwich. The complex blend pays dividends and does not overpower in any one aspect of its flavor profile. Ladies and Gentlemen- this is the real deal.
PB and W – 35% ABV
PB and W combines three separate peanut flavors in a seriously peanutty medley. The Colorado blend leans into the American spirit through its nostalgic branding, evoking red, white, and blue and memories of the fairground.
The body is light and the nutty sweetness is tempered by some wheaty notes- like the white bread you’d expect in the sandwich. If you squint you can make out some cherry and strawberry, but peanuts are certainly the dominant player here.
Because it is not particularly sweet PB and W would make a good choice as a cocktail ingredient, adding nuttiness without overwhelming the drink with sugar.
Best for: Party Time!
This blend is incredibly versatile. It’s hearty enough to withstand mixers like Coca-Cola but smooth enough to go down nicely as a shooter.
It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and neither should you.
The Best Peanut Butter Whiskey Combinations
Peanut butter whiskey has several natural allies that allow it to really shine.
Peanuts and Coca-Cola is a tried and tested combination. I’ve known many people to put whole nuts at the bottom of their glass and they swear by it. Using coke as a mixer for peanut butter whiskey helps to mellow out some of the nuttiness in the stronger blends, and combine it with sweet caramel flavor.
Having said that, for some of the sweeter peanut butter whiskies you may prefer to use a low sugar alternative like Coke Zero or Pepsi Max to avoid a sugar overload.
The holy grail, however, is how we recreate the classic PB & J sandwich in a glass. I’ve experimented with strawberry and raspberry liqueurs, but they don’t quite manage to replicate the nostalgic flavor of traditional grape jam.
After a few lackluster attempts, I’ve managed to land on the secret ingredient- fig liqueur. It cuts through just enough to open the door for a PB & J Old fashioned, or could be used in a 50/50 ratio with peanut butter whiskey to make delicious PB & J shooters.
I can appreciate that not everybody has a bottle of fig liqueur lying around, but don’t fear. Cranberry juice has enough sharpness to be a perfectly pleasant mixer and is well worth giving a try.
Peanut butter espresso martini
A twist on the classic cocktail, this elevates peanut butter into the realm of a classy pick-me-up. Combining dessert and after-dinner coffee, serve this in the early evening and soak up the compliments.
Ingredients below are for two servings
– 100 ml peanut butter whiskey
- 50 ml coffee liquor
- 50 ml freshly brewed espresso
In a cocktail shaker, combine ice, 100 ml of your favorite peanut butter whiskey, 50 ml of freshly brewed espresso, and 50 ml of coffee liqueur (I recommend Kahlua).
Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with three coffee beans to serve.
Peanut butter and chocolate is a crowd-pleasing combination that rarely misses the mark. A batch of this will put smiles on the faces of young and old- just swap out the peanut butter whiskey for a dollop of actual peanut butter for the kids.
Ingredients below are for two servings
- 250 ml semi-skimmed milk
- 2 scoops of chocolate ice cream
- 50 ml peanut butter whiskey
- 5 regular-sized marshmallows
Combine 250ml of semi-skimmed milk, 2 scoops of your favorite chocolate ice cream, a handful of marshmallows, and 50ml of peanut butter whiskey in a blender. Blend together until smooth.
Pour into a tall glass and top with a squirt of whipped cream for that classic American diner feel.
[icon name=”pepper-hot” prefix=”fas”] Is there another drink you’re after? Check out these whiskey guides: