Exploring the Bourbon Trail near Louisville, KY
It was my birthday weekend and Yelena decided to surprise me with a trip to Louisville, KY, as well as a day long trek on the Bourbon Trail. We both have never been to the Louisville area and were excited to explore the city on top of tasting all of the delicious bourbon at the various distilleries along the trail.
Day One - Fowls and Lattes
We arrived in Louisville early in the morning and headed to Lexington, KY to visit a highly regarded thoroughbred horse farm in the area. Since we hadn't had caffeine yet, we stopped at the wonderful Amsden Coffee shop in Versailles, which had very smooth lattes and friendly staff.
We arrived at Sunny Valley Farm at just the right time of year - their thoroughbreds had just given birth to fowls the day before visiting. This fortuitous timing afforded us the opportunity to see and pet fowls that, in some cases, were just 18 hours old. I cannot convey how soft baby horses are and were so cute that even Yelena's famous fear of all animals was overcome.
After a long day exploring Lexington, seeing fowls run around awkwardly, and driving, we went to our Airbnb to get ready for dinner. Yelena made reservations at Swizzle, which is a rotating restaurant located on the 25th floor of the Galt House Hotel with amazing views of the Kentucky River. We shared the steak, lamb meatball lollipops, and asparagus. This is a must-visit in downtown Louisville.
Day Two - Bourbon Trail
The big day was upon us - we woke up early to visit Heine Bros Coffee and get hyped up for our long day on the Bourbon Trail. We met the tour group in the lobby of the Louisville Omni Hotel. There was about 10 minutes to kill, so we grabbed a pastry at JJ's inside of the Omni to build a base for all of the bourbon I was about to consume.
Our first, my personal favorite, stop of the tour was the up-and-coming Wilderness Trail Distillery located in the rolling hills of Danville. The staff was incredibly friendly, the location is very scenic, and the tour is very up close and personal. We were able to walk around the fermentation tanks, go into the rickhouses that store the barrels of bourbon to age, and get a full history of how the distillery came to be. We tried three bourbons and one straight whiskey and they were all top notch.
After, we jumped on the bus, so we could get to downtown Danville for lunch at Copper and Oak. We shared a burger and salad, which was perfect for an in-between base for the bourbon to come.
The next distillery on the tour was Woodford Reserve in Versailles - the distillery is surrounded by scenic country roads with various horse pastures dotting the landscape. The tasting is called the Path to Flavor, which goes through all of their various bourbons which were all top notch - the bourbon that they're known for is triple distilled in pot stills. We were able to tour the stills before our tasting and it made for a really great tour.
Feeling saucy and satisfied, we jumped on the bus for the last distillery of the day, Bulleit. This is a very large and very modern distillery with large windows, pipes, and equipment running out to the tour area. Our tour guide was informative and, of course, the bourbon tasting at the end made this tour well worth it.
As you can imagine, we were ravenous after 12 hours of drinking bourbon and walking around, so we swung by Parlour Pizza in downtown Louisville on the way back to our Airbnb. The pizza was just what we needed to regain our energy and get ready for dinner.
We ended the day at Brown Hotel Lobby and Grill, a very nice restaurant inside the (you guessed it) Brown Hotel. We had the famous local dish, the hot brown (a Louisville Tradition since 1926), as well as steak frites, a farmer's salad, and the smokey mac & cheese.
Day Three - Downtown Louisville
The last day in Louisville was upon us, after packing up our suitcases and loading the car, we drove to the Louisville Highlands to grab coffee at Quill's Coffee. The ambiance was great and the service was super friendly.
After a few minutes of relaxing with our coffees, we walked over to restaurant and art gallery called Proof on Main for brunch. The decor of the restaurant was stunning and their food, even better. We shared the biscuit, frittata, chicken sandwich, and grilled octopus. After brunch, we checked out the art interspersed throughout the hotel.
Next on the list was the Muhammad Ali Center, a non-profit museum and cultural center dedicated to the great boxer. The exhibits were very informative and interactive - the layout and designs of everything in the museum were amazing.
From there, we did a tour of the Louisville Megatavern, which is a large, abandoned limestone mine. There are various rope courses, light shows, and even a nuclear fall-out shelter! On the way to the airport, we stopped at Safai Coffee.
We highly recommend visiting Louisville and, of course, the bourbon trail tour. As always, remember to see the world and eat the food!