Bourbon Country

Bourbon Country

The bourbon-producing region of Kentucky, affectionately known as Bourbon Country, is a must-visit destination for passionate bourbon lovers, curious visitors, and, well, even those who aren’t bourbon fans. With distilleries spread across the area, this vacation spot offers the chance to learn about bourbon production and enjoy the beauty of Kentucky’s countryside along the way.

Where to Stay

Bourbon Country is spread out through Kentucky, but a safe bet is to establish a homebase in Louisville. The city is home to the Kentucky Derby, and is located right on the Ohio River. Stay at The Grady Hotel for luxury rooms with historic significance. The hotel was a medicinal bourbon apothecary, and then home to the Swann-Abram Hat Company, and it still houses artifacts from those roots. 


Another popular choice when visiting Bourbon Country is Bardstown with its central location between many stops on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The hotel options in this area are quaint, and the Talbot Inn is a perfect example of that. Stay at this inn and visit the nearby  Talbot Tavern. Called the "Oldest Western Stagecoach Stop in America", this historic building showcases stonework from the 18th century and houses the oldest bourbon bar in the world.


If you’re seeking a stay unlike any hotel, consider a Bourbon Barrel Retreat. This unique accommodation offering is a giant barrel nestled on the side of a hill, with all the comforts of a normal guest room. With great views, space between neighboring barrels, and optional hot tub access, this alternative is perfect for those looking to experience bourbon barrels like never before.  


What to Drink

Of course, bourbon distilleries are the main attraction in the area, with options available throughout the state of Kentucky. With that in mind, finding bourbon to taste is not a tough task.

A trek along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail can be customized based on which distilleries you prefer, as well as how long you want to spend at each one. Many visitors fit three or four tastings into one day, but some distillery tours may be worth devoting a longer time. Castle and Key is one of those destinations, with expansive gardens to walk and occasional concerts on the lawn.

Buffalo Trace Distillery is an expansive destination with gardens available to tour in addition to the actual distillery. Lines do start forming early at this stop, so plan for an early arrival to guarantee your spot. Woodford Reserve Distillery is close by, so visit this one next! At both of these stops you can participate in a tasting with several bourbon varieties. 


Tasting straight bourbon is one technique for conquering the trail, but trying cocktails at each stop is an enjoyable alternative. The Bardstown Bourbon Company serves up a combination of wheat bourbon, lemon juice, orange bitters, and spiced carrot syrup, named ‘What’s Up Doc’, that is worth a try. Another favorite is at Bulleit Distillery, located in Shelbyville. Close to Louisville, this location offers the fan favorite ‘Old Man Winter’ cocktail.


What to Do

Not a bourbon fan? There is still plenty of fun to be had for those not partial to whiskey. Kentucky is a beautiful state for exploring, so start with the parks. Gratz Park in Lexington is a respite from the city, and is most exciting in the summer.

If walking through nature isn’t enough, try Bluegrass Rail Explorers. These pedal powered rail vehicles, 'Explorers', allow you to travel by railroad and overlook scenic cliffs above the Kentucky River Gorge. 

Lastly, a trip to Louisville brings you to one of the most exciting venues in the state- Churchill Downs. The racetrack has a packed calendar of events and races for the summer months. With tours available, this activity is a complimentary extension to your trip that will entertain everyone.


Take the Trip

When you embark on a tour of Bourbon Country, you set out to discover unique things, indulge in powerful flavors, and find new favorites. Wear the Heathered brrr Performance Polo and Bunker Short from GenTeal along your tour to be prepared for whatever path you trail leads to. 

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