Bourbon and Kentucky go hand-in-hand. If you're a bourbon aficionado, Kentucky needs to be your next trip. With distilleries and bourbon-focused restaurants, the Bluegrass State offers many high spots in the world of bourbon.
Located in Louisville's Whiskey Row, Down One Bourbon Bar has more than 160 bourbons to sample. Visit the Prohibition-esque secret phone booth room, where you can sip rare bourbons. Dine in the speakeasy-style restaurant and check out their nightly specials, including $2 off bourbon flights on Fridays.
The name says whiskey, but never fear and the Haymarket delivers. In addition a stellar spirits selection, the shop also boasts a boutique bottle shop, live entertainment, and an arcade. Stop by the front bar to learn about free events like bingo and pirate night.
Depart the city bars and head to Holly Hill Inn, a charming restaurant in the heart of Bluegrass Horse country. While the focus might not be bourbon, tipping back a drink at this restaurant captures the essential Kentucky experience.
If you're going to take a bourbon tour of Kentucky, you need to have a distillery on your itinerary. And Woodford Reserve is one you don't want to miss. The distillery tour is highly educational, a must for bourbon enthusiasts.
Dubbed as the place "Where Bourbon Country Comes to Eat," you might come for the bourbon, but you're definitely going to stay for the food. Appropriately, bourbon is woven into the menu offerings. (Bourbon smoked paprika makes several appearances.)
This Louisville hot spot is new to the scene, but this newbie proves it has serious game. Pair your bourbon with any number of Southern comfort food-inspired dishes from the restaurant's intriguing menu.
Bourbon aficionados can keep the sampling going with these other top picks:
The Bluegrass Tavern This highly lauded mainstay has 450 (yup, 450) bourbons to choose from, including rare libations.
1792 Bourbon Located in Barsdon (known as the "Bourbon Capital"), this distillery churns out award winner after award winner. Take a tour and enjoy their "high rye" receipe bourbon.
Doc Crows Bourbon, a smokehouse, AND a raw bar? Why are we not here yet?
Henry Clay's Public House Located in Lexington's Downtown Courthouse Entertainment District, this pub blends history (it's named for a famed Kentucky politician) with fun (live entertainment and sidewalk tables!). Fun fact: Clay also created the recipe for the mint julep.
Travel tip: Be sure to consult the Kentucky Bourbon Trail when planning your trip. This comprehensive guide has nearly everything you'd want to know about bourbon in Kentucky.