Throwback Thursday – Louisville, Kentucky: Bourbon Tasting
Hello. 🙂 This week I’ve been really focused on some serious things, so today I wanted to recap one of the the most unexpected, fun, perfect weekends I’ve had in a long time. I really love to travel and looking back at some of the trips I’ve taken in the past and planning some for the future always makes me so happy and inspired.
Chris had a big birthday last summer and the only thing he wanted to do was go to Louisville, Kentucky and do the bourbon trail. When he suggested we go, I had zero interest in going to Kentucky and did not think I liked bourbon. I was happy to go with Chris because I knew it was really something he really wanted to do, but I didn’t have high expectations for the trip.
We left around noon on a Friday for the supposed to be 5-ish hour trip, which probably ended up taking us 6.5. I had just been to Virginia Beach with my family and joked before we left that I am a curse in the car and would somehow manage to make this drive way longer than it needed to be, and sure enough…….. However, we had a really good shared playlist we made on Spotify and Chick-fil-a (which I had somehow just discovered a few weeks before – how?!) for the drive, so we weren’t too mad about it.
When we finally got there we checked into our super cute hotel right downtown – The Seelbach Hilton. It is a historic property renovated by Hilton, and we loved everything about it. We asked our concierge for a recommendation for a good, local restaurant within walking distance and ended up at Proof on Main. It certainly did not disappoint. It is in an eclectic art museum with a modern, but old-fashioned aesthetic. I got some kind of roasted carrot dish that sounds weird, but was truly one of the best meals I’ve ever had. And it is the type of place where they put bread right on your table and let you get crumbs everywhere. And cotton candy came with your bill, so how can you not love the place.
Our night ended with a walk along the water. We wandered around the city and listened to some music before heading to bed pretty early since we knew we would have a long day ahead of us.
Our first stop for the day on Saturday was at the Jim Beam distillery – we mainly chose this one to start with because it is obviously a very popular name and was the closest to our hotel. Unlike most wine trails, the bourbon distilleries are not very close together at all. I would say that they are all at least 20 minutes apart from each other and some are over an hour away. We were originally under the impression that we could hit like four in a day, but we were very wrong.
After wandering around the gift shop and property for a while, we went on a guided tour of how they make, age, bottle, and sell their bourbon. I must admit that I was skeptical at first, but it was really fascinating and fun. The coolest part for sure though was when they showed us the barrel that belongs to Mila Kunis and that they use in her commercials. The tour ended with a tasting, and then we ended up stopping at a nearby winery (mainly for me ;)) close by for one more tasting before heading back to our hotel.
After another fantastic recommendation from a woman we had met earlier in the day took us to MilkWood. This place is SO COOL. It’s a southern/Asian restaurant that is underground, tiny, and so weird but so good. We shared a couple of small plates and got some delicious cocktails. Chris ended up getting us the cookbook of the chef who owns the place off of Amazon once we got home because we liked it that much. After dinner we wandered around downtown for a while, having some wine and listening to a free outdoor country concert.
Our final day in Louisville was filled with brunch, another bourbon tasting at a much older (and I thought more interesting) distillery, and a long drive home. I must say – even if you are not a bourbon drinker, I’m really not sure how you couldn’t find this trip fascinating. They teach you in such a fun way and incorporate tastings just at the right time where you get to feel like a part of the process.
This was a different little weekend getaway that I would totally recommend if you, your significant other, or your friends like bourbon, the southern culture, and really, really good food. Neither of us really had any plans going into the weekend – we just took recommendations from the locals and figured it out as we went. Although I do enjoy having an agenda for a trip, it’s also really exciting to just wing it and allow yourself to go with the flow. I’ve found from traveling that the best way to really see a new place is to try to see it from the viewpoint of the people who live there – not the people who visit there. Being a tourist can be fun, but acting like a local (at least for me) is usually what I enjoy the most.
Chris and I already have a return trip booked to Louisville this upcoming July and plan to make it an annual tradition! Except we took an extra day off work this time so we can extend the trip a bit. Although there are certainly things we want to do again (like go to Proof on Main), we want to try out different distilleries and explore a little more outside the city than we did last time (maybe to Lexington?). And I’m hoping there is a good concert in the area that we can go to while we are there, too. So if you live in the area or have been there before, we would love any recommendations you may have!