Member's Mark Liquors You Should And Shouldn't Buy At Sam's Club

Those with a keen eye for bargains are probably well acquainted with Sam's Club. Owned by Walmart, the discount chain offers some amazing savings for its members. And as it turns out, non-members can also benefit from the store's low prices. This is because under laws regulating the sale of alcohol, Sam's Club's booze section is open to the public, which means that anybody can take advantage of the store's low liquor prices (via Glamour).

Following in the footsteps of Costco's Kirkland liquor label (via Forbes), Sam's Club started selling spirits under the store's brand Member's Mark in 2010 (via Memphis Daily News). Since then, the brand has expanded its boozy offerings to include vodka, whisky, tequila, rum, and gin. And since generic brand bottles are normally more affordable than name brands, liquor enthusiasts have jumped at the chance to score a Member's Mark bargain. While many of the budget brand's liquor bottles pass the taste test with flying colors, this can't be said for all its sips. With this in mind, here are Member's Mark liquors you should and shouldn't consider buying for your next party.

Should: Member's Mark Vodka

Smooth and rich in flavor, and sold at just $14 for a 1.75-liter bottle, Member's Mark Vodka is an excellent addition to any liquor cabinet. Made in Louisville, Kentucky using American corn, the 80-proof vodka has been distilled six times, making it perfect for cocktails or neat over ice (via Sam's Club). This speaks volumes, since according to the website Answers to All, commercially sold vodka is typically distilled only two or three times.

The Beverage Testing Institute, which gave Member's Mark Vodka 93 out of 100, described the tipple as imbued with aromas and flavors of lemon tea, powdered sugar, dried herbs, and a touch of black licorice. With a crisp, dryish body, the beverage showcases a fresh creamy finish. So what's the word among vodka enthusiasts? "I have tried almost every vodka on the market from cheap to pricy and Member's Mark comes in as number one for quality, smoothness, and price. I keep Tito's and Grey Goose on hand for those friends who drink by name only," wrote one reviewer on the Sam's Club website.

Should: Member's Mark Silver Tequila

Scoring an "exceptional" rating of 91 out of 100 from The Beverage Testing Institute, Member's Mark Silver Tequila is bound to be a winner at your next margarita party. In fact, the herbal and spicy concoction was one of the top-rated white tequilas at the 2019 U.S. Spirit Awards, and also one of the most affordable entries (via Delish). Member's Mark Silver Tequila will set you back around $20 for a 1.75-liter bottle. The next cheapest winner was the Loma Azul Gran Reserva Blanco Tequila at $25 a pop.

Made with 100% agave, a desert plant with a sweet and mild flavor, this 80-proof drop also makes for great shots — just pair it with a wedge of lime and a little salt. According to The Beverage Testing Institute, aside from agave, the sip exhibits aromas and flavors of bay leaf, sweet cantaloupe, mulling spices, hibiscus, and rooibos tea. The body, meanwhile, is dry-yet-fruity with a subtle long finish that displays the flavors of huitlacoche, snap pea, and roasted peppers.

Should: Member's Mark Spiced Rum

At just $13 for a 1.75-liter bottle, Member's Mark Spiced Rum is a steal. While the liquor makes for a great addition to cocktails or coke and ice, it's also good enough to drink neat. With hints of vanilla, clove, and cinnamon, the 70-proof liquor is made "using real Caribbean rum." According to The Beverage Testing Institute, this golden-hued tipple features the aromas of candied peanuts, rice pudding, and frosted spice cake. Plus, it has a crisp, fruity, light-to-medium body and a tingling vanilla soft serve finish.

While some have disputed Member's Mark's claim that it uses Caribbean rum in its spiced rum recipe, the drop has received favorable reviews, with many comparing it to Captain Morgan's spiced rum (via KY Brew Review). "Considering the price, it's a great substitute for Captain Morgan. And it's far better than Bacardi's offering," one reviewer wrote on Sam's Club website.

Should: Member's Mark French Vodka

Sam's Club originally started carrying its premium French vodka under the name Rue 33, but for whatever reason, it seems to have since lost its Rue 33 tagline (via NBC News). Whether the recipe for the two vodkas is the same is unclear. Based on the price, however, there may be some difference. Member's Mark Rue 33 French Vodka sold for around $28 for a 1.75-liter bottle while Member's Mark French Vodka will set you back just under $20 a bottle. While there was some speculation that Member's Mark Rue 33 French Vodka was made by Grey Goose (via QuerySprout) and the French distiller Louis Royer (via The Spokesman-Review), when it comes to Member's Mark French Vodka, Sam's Club has only claimed that the liquor is "made with imported French vodka."

When it comes to taste, Member's Mark French Vodka is made from "local" wheat specifically sourced for the purpose. The 80-proof liquor is also produced from water sourced from a well at the distillery's estate in France. The water is then distilled five times using column stills before being hand bottled and imported for U.S. consumption. The final product showcases a smooth and clean taste that can be enjoyed on the rocks.

Should: Member's Mark London Dry Gin

Awarded 90 out of 100 points by The Beverage Testing Institute with the predicate of "exceptional," Member's Mark London Dry Gin is a perfect addition to tonic water or a classic gin fizz. The 94.6-proof liquor — on the high end of the scale for a gin — exhibits flavors of clove, sweet ginger, cracked juniper, coriander, caraway, and lemon oil. It also features a satiny, dry light body and a warming medium-long finish. And at just $17 for 1.75-liter bottles, this little gem is a real find.

The term dry gin refers to quality rather than flavor designation. And unlike its name suggests, London dry gin doesn't have to be made in London. What it does need to have is natural ingredients and no more than 0.01 grams of sugar per liter, as Bombay Sapphire's Senior Brand Ambassador, Sam Carter, told Good Housekeeping. So how does the Member's Mark London Dry Gin square up against its competitors? One reviewer definitely approves, saying "I have been drinking gin martinis for over 50 years, and found this gin to be one of the best ever. Makes Beefeaters and Bombay Sapphire taste like battery acid," (via Sam's Club).

Should: Member's Mark Canadian Whisky

Canadian whisky is not like the average bottle of Jack Daniels hiding in the back of the stereotypical liquor cabinet. In fact, it can have an incredible amount of flavor and complexity that could rival fan-favorite bourbons or peaty scotches. Unlike bourbon or scotch, Canadian whisky is made from cereal grain and is often a blend of several types of whisky. To be considered Canadian whisky, it must be aged for at least three years in small wooden barrels and, of course, must be distilled and aged in Canada (via Whisky Advocate).

When most people think of Canadian whisky, Crown Royal, Canadian Mist, or Canadian Club come to mind. They range from below-average to above-average and are diverse in terms of flavors, aromas, and prices. Sam's Club's Member's Mark Canadian Whisky holds its own against the big dogs and at a fraction of the price compared to brands like Crown Royal. With an eerily similar label and bottle shape to Crown Royal, the Member's Mark brand is also similar in tasting notes and aroma with hints of vanilla, mystery spices, and caramel. Reviews on the Sam's Club website unanimously agreed that it was nothing close to Crown Royal in terms of smoothness and quality, but is on par with Canadian Club or Canadian Mist. It is better enjoyed with a mixer like Coke to cut the bite, but the price difference between it and the name-brand options makes it a solid budget-friendly option that fans enjoy.

Should: Member's Mark Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey

Unlike Scotch or Canadian whisky, bourbon is a whole different creature of its own. According to the American Bourbon Association, bourbon must be aged in new charred oak barrels that cannot be reused and must not have any flavor or color additives. Bourbon must also be made with at least 51% corn and can include other grains such as rye, wheat, or barley to add complexity. The Member's Mark Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey is distilled in Bardstown, Kentucky only 20 miles away from the famous Maker's Mark distillery in Loretto, Kentucky. Despite it missing the Maker's Mark signature red wax coating, the Member's Mark bourbon stands out as a better-than-expected dupe to a classic.

Reviews on Sam's Club's website love how budget-friendly the Member's Mark brand is at around $20 for a 750-milliliter bottle compared to around $25-$30 for the Maker's Mark brand on Sam's Club's website. Usually, $20 would get you rail whiskey that would melt the inside of your esophagus, but Member's Mark is surprisingly smooth and enjoyable to drink neat or on the rocks. One reviewer said that they enjoyed its notes of caramel and orange as well as some light peat, spice, and burnt butterscotch candy. It also mixes well for highballs or old-fashioned cocktails per one review, making it a multi-dimensional bourbon to expand any connoisseur's repertoire or liquor cabinet.

Should: Member's Mark Eggnog

Eggnog has ancient origins that involve strange Christmas traditions. According to Time, eggnog, formerly known as posset, originated in medieval Britain and gained popularity in the 13th century thanks to monks. Toasting with eggnog was seen as a symbol for celebrating good health and prosperity and eventually became associated with holiday cheer by American colonists in the 1700s. Even George Washington had a famous eggnog recipe at Mount Vernon made with almost a dozen eggs and a fifth of bourbon.

Member's Mark Eggnog is a classic that could be enjoyed all season long with its delicious blend of Caribbean rum, cream, and real eggs. Featuring notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, bread pudding, and molasses, it is a holiday cookie in a glass with 15% ABV per bottle to take the edge off during the holiday season. Aside from one review on the Sam's Club website saying it tasted like Windex, reviews love its near-$10 price tag and sweet flavor, while some reviews went back-and-forth as to whether it had enough alcohol in it. The Beverage Testing Institute gave it a gold medal with a rating of 93 points, which is the highest rated Member's Mark liquor, aside from the brand's vodka, on its website. The BTI continued by saying that it is a vibrant yet spicy eggnog with a refreshing quality that took testers on a flavor journey with notes resembling cheese danish and flan perfect for both sipping and gift-giving.

Shouldn't: Member's Mark Silver Rum

Made with Caribbean sugarcane, Member's Mark Silver Rum is described as a complex sip that features hints of vanilla, ripe banana, and roasted cacao. Unfortunately, the spirit leaves a lot to be desired in the flavor department. After a tasting, the tipple left KY Brew Review unimpressed. In fact, the duo referred to the liquor as a powerful white rum that's not a straight sipper. "It's very hot. ... It's got a weird chemical coconut flavor upfront and then it's just alcohol," the duo proclaimed.

Arguably at $20 for a 1.75-liter bottle, the 80-proof rum might be an acceptable addition to cocktails. According to KY Brew Review, it does taste better mixed with coke than straight, although it's still "somewhat weird." This is probably because silver, or white, rums have the least flavor among all rum varieties. This means that even a subpar rum can still pass in the cocktail department. However, when it comes to this one, proceed with caution.

Shouldn't: Member's Mark Blended Scotch Whisky

Member's Mark Blended Scotch Whisky doesn't quite live up to its promise of being smooth and soft with a smoky peat flavor that showcases the character of Scotland's Highland, Lowland, Speyside, and Islay regions. Blending malt and grain whiskies, this 80-proof sip has been aged for three years, or the legal minimum. And the result? Reviewers on the Sam's Club website have referred to the drop as a "god awful swill," "most terrible thing I've ever tasted," and something "I wouldn't recommend to my worst enemy."

The guys from The Rotgut Review tend to agree. The duo pronounced it as truly awful on the nose: "Essence of turpentine. ... It smells like there is some kind of peat in there, but it's not good peat. It's like terrible, weird, dirty sock thing that completely overruns the whisky." The team did concede that the sip tastes a bit better than it tastes.

Shouldn't: Member's Mark Golden Margarita

Okay, so we realize that Member's Mark Golden Margarita is technically a cocktail and not a liquor, but we couldn't help ourselves. After all, the idea of a ready-made cocktail straight from the bottle is irresistible, or is it? At, 25.4-proof, Member's Mark margarita mix comes in 1.75-liter bottles that are priced at around $9. While this makes this concoction dirt cheap, you might want to ask yourself whether this bottle is even worth shelling out the few bucks.

Golden in color, the ready-to-drink cocktail contains silver tequila, orange liqueur, and some other mystery ingredients. Surprisingly, Sam's Club website refers to the beverage as a "grape wine cocktail." Considering that a typical margarita recipe contains neither grapes nor wine (via, we aren't really sure what this is supposed to mean. Not surprisingly, one reviewer on the website described the mix as the most disgusting thing they have ever purchased: "It tastes like drinking dishwater. This should be in a janitor's closet and nowhere near an aisle designated for human consumption." We wouldn't necessarily go that far, but this margarita does taste like cheap sour mix and bad liquor, so we would recommend buying something else.

Shouldn't: Member's Mark Tequila Reposado

Reposado tequila, compared to its blanco counterpart, can be an actually pleasant drinking experience if sipped properly. As reported in Vinepair, blanco tequila, also known as silver tequila, is usually unaged and not diluted, making it an ideal blank canvas for cocktails to enhance its herbal and mineral essences. Reposado tequila, however, is aged in steel or oak for around two months to one year, taking on the wood's flavors for an engaging sipping experience. It isn't as intense or rich as añejo or cristalino tequila but can be an incredible addition to any tequila collection. 

Member's Mark has an expansive tequila line, from its previously praised silver tequila to its not-so-pleasant golden margarita mix. Member's Mark's Tequila Reposado misses the mark and lands next to other tequilas of nightmare hangovers past. Made from blue agave and aged for around two months, Member's Marks tequila reposado has nutty and woody notes with hints of vanilla. Reviews on Sam's Club's website were very mixed ranging from the worst liquor ever to the most okay liquor. One review described it as tequila mixed with hand sanitizer similar to those kitchen sink hand sanitizers that came about during the COVID-19 lockdown. Another said that it tasted watery and was a waste of $16 that could have been used to buy a cheaper brand like Hornitos. Even though some said that it was a fine tequila for mixing, the negatives outweigh the positives here.