Drunken Fun in Kentucky
Friends of ours invited us to ride with them for a quick trip to Louisville, KY to experience the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. They, like us, are a Black Lesbian couple and at no point during our wonderful weekend did this become anything of issue. We spent the whole day Saturday and a portion of the day on Sunday visiting distilleries along the trail. Each distillery offered a unique experience and were very enjoyable.
Here’s a recap of our trip:
June 10 12:30pm
Our first stop was the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience. At the front desk we obtained our Kentucky Bourbon Trail Passports. The passport contains pages for the ten distilleries that are members of the trial. Evan Williams provided two options for tours, a one hour and a 30 minute tour. We chose the 30 minute one so we could hit up as many distilleries as possible. After purchasing our tickets we were lead down some stairs and after one of the guys in our group was given the password we were allowed into the secret space. We were transported back in time to a 1920’s speakeasy. Our guide, who was dressed as a 1920s bartender was very enjoyable and knowledgeable. He offered healthy tasting pours and partook in the shots along with us. We left with a little buzz and a free glass.
After a hot and sweaty trek up Main St. we headed to Angel’s Envy. Which had up to this point been my favorite choice for bourbon. Angel’s Envy just recently joined the Bourbon Trail in February and has an online only reservation policy. Unfortunately, they were completely sold out for Saturday and Sunday. We just got our passports stamped, took a few pics and trudged back to where we were parked.
We took the scenic 15 minute drive, directions supplied by GPS and arrived at Stitzel-Weller home to the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience. Unfortunately, Bulleit only offers one hour tours and the small tasting portion was not a great reward for this hot, slightly boring tour. Bulleit should learn from the other distilleries and offer a shorter option to the visitors who are just trying to learn about the bourbon and not all the history about where the founder grew up and attended school. I did taste a bourbon that I really enjoyed and stood out because one of the people in our party remarked, “Mmm hmm!” after sipping it. After this tasting it was time for lunch. We tried out Seafood Lady and ordered the Full Combo- one crab claw, shrimp and some fries and hush puppies. Meh…
What a fun place Jim Beam is! It’s very modern and located on the very touristy 4th St. We decided not to do the tasting but instead just sat down for cocktails. One of us ordered a ginger ale slushie and two of us ordered Kentucky Mules. We got two drinks on the house and chose a double shot of Knobs Creek Single Barrel Reserve and I think they got the Jim Beam Black Label.
June 11 2:00 pm
Day two and we’re ready for more tasting! This leg of the journey lead us to Lawrenceburg, KY to Four Roses Bourbon distillery. The drive in was beautiful and looked like “real” Kentucky, with farm houses and greenery all around. The tasting was given in a gazebo and the weather was wonderful to sit out and sip. The portions of the sips were small, but it was enough to prompt us to buy our first bottle. Apparently the reason I had never heard of Four Roses was because until not very long ago it was cheap wino status whiskey. The new owners came in and rebranded it and now it’s reaching it’s “Before Bond” status. Every distillery we visited up to this point told the story that James Bond with his vodka martini-sipping self single-handedly ruined the bourbon industry. We got a free glass at the end of this tour. Now we can sip our Four Roses Yellow Label bourbon in Four Roses glasses.
Off the beaten (bourbon) path…
We traveled to Frankfort, KY for the Buffalo Trace Distillery experience, since around 2010 they are no longer a part of the official trail. The best part of their tasting? Absolutely free! We tasted some vodka, something that was like moonshine that made me shudder and a very smooth bourbon called Eagle Rare. We tried the Buffalo Trace Cream Liqueur and mixed it with root beer. It was yummy but that itty bitty tasting cup would probably be all I could stomach of that.
This was the end of our tour. Many of the distillery tours end around 4pm. On the way back home we stopped back by Evan Williams so our friends could purchase a bottle of McKenna Bourbon. We also visited the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory and got a few gifts for our people.
There was so much we couldn’t do here due to such a limited time frame (none of us had to take any time off work for this trip). Louisville is a great options for a short getaway for people living in Chicago, Indiana and Ohio. Or people that enjoy learning about the history of bourbon or just want to drink a bunch of it.