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Red Stag by Jim Beam Bourbon

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating
User Rating 4.5 Star Rating (7 Reviews)


Supplies of Red Stag and Coke Zero
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The Bottom Line

Jim Beam Bourbon has gone cherry, yes it is true. When I first heard the news I was shocked and thought it to be a risky venture, but one that could not be missed. And so when Red Stag by Jim Beam arrived at my door the anticipation was too much to wait for. What would a standby like Beam be with an infusion of "natural" black cherry? Would it hit that medicinal spot that many cherry spirits do? How does it fair straight or mixed? Overall, I've found that it is not a whiskey for everyone - traditionalists will not appreciate it but for those who love to mix, there are possibilities.


  • Sweet black cherry bourbon, excellent for mixing.
  • Will be widely available upon its full release.
  • A fun cocktail ingredient worth exploring further.
  • Think of it as a whiskey liqueur and the cocktails are virtually endless.
  • A chance to introduce tastes to dark spirits.


  • Slight medicinal cherry finish.
  • Not for the straight whiskey sippers out there.


  • 4 year-old Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey naturally infused with black cherry
  • Produced by Beam Global Spirits & Wine
  • 40% alc/volume (80 proof)
  • Official release: June, 2009
  • Retails for around $20/750ml bottle

Guide Review - Red Stag by Jim Beam Bourbon

While I do enjoy the beauty of straight bourbon and find Jim Beam to be a mixing staple, I have found that Red Stag follows suit and I prefer it by far in cocktails. This is where a little twist on favorite whiskey drinks can be found. A simple mix like Bourbon and Water tames the sweet cherry just enough to take of the medicinal edge that I relate to cherry-flavored cough syrup but it was not enough for some of my tasting companions.

So for a solution we stepped it up to other obvious options. Red Stag and cola is a natural choice that is very enjoyable and the Manhattan follows a recommendation I received awhile back from Bill Samuels Jr. of Maker's Mark who sometimes prefers a splash of cherry to a dash of bitters with his sweeter bourbon. Yet, my favorite bourbon drink for Red Stag to date is by far an Old-fashioned. In this cocktail you will find the cherry and orange are ideal pairings for the sweet black cherry, which has a little help of the sugar. The often optional club soda is essential, however, and with that you have one fine Red Stag Old-fashioned.

Is Red Stag to be the new hottest thing? I don't see it but having it around is a nice option and one can only imagine what a little experimentation can see for its future in cocktails. The bourbon great has done a fair job with this infusion and it will make a splash if for nothing else, than the surprise. So far it is the best tasting cherry-flavored whiskey available and if you're up for a little fun, it is worth checking out.

Tasting Notes:
The aroma holds a soft, dark cherry sweetness backed by an oaky bourbon one expects from Jim Beam. The palate is warm and a pleasant mix of warm cherry that is somewhat overpowering to the whiskey, but not so much as to be distracting. It is in the finish that the black cherry and alcohol heat are most noticeable, but in a sweet way.

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