Friday, February 19, 2010

Bourbon Country, Kentucky

We took a trip to Kentucky's bourbon country over the holiday weekend. While there we stayed at the Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg, KY. Built in 1845, the inn was originally a school for young women. Now it is a very cute B&B! They even have a spa on the grounds where we got massages.

The purpose of our trip was to not only get out of town for a few days, but to tour some bourbon distilleries. We ended up only making it to two—Maker's Mark and Wild Turkey. I must say, if you ever take a trip to bourbon country, Maker's Mark should really be one of your stops. It is cute and quaint, especially compared to Wild Turkey, which was very industrial. Maker's Mark also let you do a tasting (of moonshine before the barrel and of bourbon after the barrel), where Wild Turkey did not. Also, Wild Turkey did not let you take pictures inside the distillery. It was definitely interesting to see each end of the spectrum.

Maker's Mark Quarter House which used to house a cask of whiskey. Here locals could ride up on their horse and fill their jugs or jars and ride off—making it the first drive-thru.

The grounds of Maker's Mark.

Mash fermenting at Maker's Mark. They let us taste it...pretty sour.


Stills at Maker's Mark.

Bourbon on the left, moonshine on the right.

Maker's Mark lets you dip your own bottle of bourbon in wax for their signature "tendrils".


Very industrial Wild Turkey.

We made reservations on My Old Kentucky Dinner Train for Valentine's dinner. The food was okay considering it's made on a train. The view was okay considering it's in Kentucky—going through rural and not-so-rural country. You see lots of bourbon warehouses and the Jim Beam distillery.

My only advise is to do it in the spring or fall. We ended up getting stuck in a snow storm on the way back home and had to stay another day. I also hear the summer is pretty bad because the distilleries smell really bad. Even though we went in the winter, the smell sticks with you...everything tastes like bourbon. At dinner that night, I even had to ask the waiter if there was bourbon in my vinaigrette! All in all, if you want to do something that is not too costly (all distillery tours are free, and....it's Kentucky), is a good time, and you like bourbon, Kentucky is definitely worth the trip.

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