Now That It’s National Bourbon Heritage Month, Let’s Celebrate!

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In case you didn’t know, by an act of Congress in 2007, September was declared National Bourbon Heritage Month. So we here at Brooks Grain are pretty excited when the calendar turns. This year, we encourage you to celebrate our favorite historic spirit with a tour and a new take on whiskey.

No matter the intention of Congress ten years ago, September has become synonymous with whiskey. Distillers roll out their newest whiskies. Festivals abound. So why not take advantage, right? One of the best ways we can think of observing such an occasion is by touring the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Here’s a list we found years ago and tried ourselves. This list is by no mean comprehensive, but it certainly offers five places worth your time if you’re able to make the pilgrimage.

 

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Stop #1: JIM BEAM AMERICAN STILLHOUSE & FRED’S SMOKEHOUSE

526 HAPPY HOLLOW ROAD, CLERMONT, (502) 543-9877:

  • Now offering a comprehensive tour of its distillery to the public. There’s a basic guided tour and a VIP experience, which lasts all day and includes a bourbon-themed lunch.

Stop #2: TOWN BRANCH DISTILLERY

401 CROSS STREET, LEXINGTON, (859) 255-2337:

  • There’s an hour-long tour split between the distillery and its sister brewery. And after you taste some whiskey, you can also try the house beers, like the cask-aged Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout, which is an absolute YUM!

Stop #3: FOUR ROSES DISTILLERY

1224 BONDS MILL ROAD, LAWRENCEBURG, (502) 839-3436:

  • Historic exhibits and a complimentary, that’s right… complimentary, one-hour tour. Oh, and travelers can slake their thirst at two different bars pouring samples of the brand’s delicious bourbons. If you’re a super-fan, you can stop by the Four Roses warehouse and bottling plant near Bardstown by appointment.

Stop #4: EVAN WILLIAMS BOURBON EXPERIENCE

528 WEST MAIN STREET, LOUISVILLE, (502) 584-2114:

  • The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience is located in downtown Louisville on the city’s old Whiskey Row, where it boasts two stills, a fermenter and a mash cooker, as well as exhibits, two tasting rooms and a shop.

Stop #5: BUFFALO TRACE DISTILLERY

113 GREAT BUFFALO TRACE, FRANKFORT, 800 654 8471:

  • Just off the beaten path of the official Kentucky Bourbon Trail you can find the gorgeous grounds of Buffalo Trace. This distillery was even declared a National Historic Landmark, and there’s a tour focusing on buildings, architecture and history. The facility also added a new Bourbon Barrel Tour, which follows casks from their arrival and filling until they’re dumped. That brings the total number of tours available to five—all are free, but anything beyond the basic tour requires advance reservations.

And While You’re Out… Try a Pumpkin Old Fashioned

People may think fall was made for Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, but this is just as worthy an autumn drink. It’s a delightful pumpkin cocktail, and it even requires no muddling, which makes it easier to mix up than the classic Old-Fashioned. The Finch’s Pumpkin Old-Fashioned is a simple mix of bourbon and Grand Marnier with pumpkin puree and maple syrup. You can easily make your own puree just like they do at Finch, and a fresh puree makes this drink really special and tasty.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 1/2 ounces bourbon whiskey
  • 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 ounce maple syrup
  • Orange peel twist or rosemary sprig for garnish

How to Make It:

  1. Combine pumpkin puree, bourbon, syrup, Grand Marnier and bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake well and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a chilled old-fashioned glass filled with fresh ice.
  3. Garnish with a rosemary sprig or orange peel.

Need more whiskey recipes to complete your tour? Check out Brooks Grain’s favorite recipes here.

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