The world of Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 demands to be savored. Every painstakingly recreated piece of foliage to pick or breathtaking animal to hunt requires proper appreciation. In order to truly get the most out of the game, you don’t just play it, you live in it. For every high stakes train robbery, there are 10 moments of tedium that connect you even deeper to the Old West and your gang. Through 2 weeks with the game, I’ve found that the best way to play is to get in the proper cowboy spirit and sip a little whiskey. Here are my recommendations for the 4 main ways people are likely to play. Now, much like the game is meant to be taken in slowly, I recommend you enjoy these whiskeys responsibly. We’re looking to heighten the experience not replicate the A Quiet Time Mission from the game.
1) The Frontier Explorer
This is my preferred method of playing where I’m looking for a lengthy session to really soak everything in. You’re gonna be spending a lot of time on horseback chasing down the next big side quest or majestic beast to help feed your camp. Often times you might end up doing 10 random things before getting back to the main story. The only thing keeping you from the game is the occasional need to sleep.
Recommendation: Bulleit Rye on the rocks. This reasonably priced (typically $35 for 750 mL) whiskey is heavy on the Rye (95%) but extremely drinkable when you know your playthrough is going to be so long it may require a second or a third. Hell, it’s even marketed as “the Frontier Whiskey”.
2) The Morally Complicated Hero
You do what it takes to get things done. Sure, you’ve got a code (I mean a man got to have a code), but sometimes the game world does everything it can to push you to the brink of following it. Also, you’ve probably accidentally run over a random townsperson with your horse. You felt bad for a second, but you moved on.
Recommendation: Glenfiddich Bourbon Barrel Reserve 14 Year Old Scotch with a single cube of ice. This is just the right balance of caramel sweetness from bourbon to rough and manly scotch to compliment the internal struggle of your hero.
3) The Sophisticated Ranch Owner
You’re looking to unwind after a long day at work with a quick main story mission or two. You’re focused and know exactly what you want. Most likely, your character’s clothes are clean and you wear a fancy vest. Any time your hat falls off, you make sure to immediately collect it. When the Old West way of living is no more, the world won’t be leaving you behind like it will the van der Linde gang.
Recommendation: Whistle Pig 10 Year Straight Rye with a drop or two of water. This pricier ($85 for 750 mL) whiskey with connections to Vermont and Canada may cause your fellow cowpoke to label you a damn Yankee, but this extremely tasty and smooth 100 proof whiskey is perfect for helping you relax and let your troubles wash away.
4) The GTA Enthusiast
You have fully embraced the nihilism of Rockstar’s other big series, Grand Theft Auto, and just want to watch the world burn. You can’t let a single train pass you by without hopping on board and robbing it. Most likely, you’ll never even finish the story and you’re just along for the chaos.
Recommendation: Any barrel proof bourbon however the hell you want. Just like your character, your whiskey should cause maximum damage and have a fiery finish. I have yet to try out this method of play.
Bottoms up. Here’s to Arthur Morgan and being the best cowboy you can be. If you have found another play-style and whiskey compliment that I missed, feel free to share it in the comments.