Know Before You Go
Louisville has an official cocktail (the Old-Fashioned) and is called “Bourbon City” for several reasons worthy of a toast: It’s the largest city on Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail, has a huge array of bars stocking at least 50 different bourbons, and has award-winning distilleries in the middle of the city. Here are a few ways to quaff the best booze in the Bluegrass State:
Urban Bourbon Trail Passport: This free guidebook from the Louisville Visitor Center or any participating establishment points imbibers to 44 bars and restaurants that specialize in bourbon tastings, bourbon cocktails and bourbon-infused food, all within stumbling distance of one another or a short ride away. Explore at your own pace or join a walking tasting with Sour Mash Tours or Mint Julep Experiences. You can also work off a few calories on the 16-passenger Thirsty Pedaler bikemobile. Collect six stamps from six listed bars during your visit(s) to earn a free Urban Bourbon Trailblazer T-shirt.
Urban Distilleries: Downtown Louisville has several distilleries, most notably Angel’s Envy, Fort Nelson, the Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse, Kentucky Peerless, Michter’s, Old Forester, Rabbit Hole and the venerable Evan Williams, the first to market whiskey here in 1780.
Bourbon Trail Day Trips: For the full experience, ride through the scenic countryside with a group tour or designated driver to visit any number of distillers, mostly 30 to 60 minutes apart. Start at the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Welcome Center at the Frazier History Museum to map out a plan for tours, tastings and transportation. Drink responsibly.