Last weekend my husband and I visited Louisville, Kentucky for a kid-free mini-getaway on the bourbon trail to celebrate his birthday. The trip reminded us that as much as we adore and love our kiddos, it is always nice to take some time for ourselves. Today on the blog, I'm sharing my itinerary from our bourbon trail adventures. If you are ever looking to hit up the bourbon trail, I hope this post will inspire and help provide you a little insight and ideas as you plan your trip.
We arrived in Louisville in time for a late lunch and decided to try out Whiskey Dry, a whiskey and burger bar created by Chef Edward Lee (you might recognize the name if you're a fan of Top Chef; Lee was on Season 9 of the show). Whiskey Dry is located right in the middle of touristy Fourth Street and while I didn't get a burger or whiskey, my meal of an open faced taco salad and new favorite brew, Rhinegeist Bubbles Rose Ale, was amazing!
Following lunch we hopped on a couple of Lime scooters which are insanely fun by the way and took a short ride down Fourth Street to Art Eatables, a local favorite known for their bourbon infused chocolates. We sampled some chocolate and I proceeded to drool over all the choices until we decided on what to take home. We ended up with Wild Bill, chocolates infused with Buffalo Trace bourbon.
Next door to Whiskey Dry is the Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse so once we grabbed our chocolates we scootered back down to Jim Beam for a bourbon tasting. Unlike their Clermont location where you can get a full facility tour, the downtown Beam location only offers tastings. We secured a spot on the next available tasting and browsed the gift shop while we waited. The $10 tasting came with three pre-selected bourbons, Jim Beam Urban Select (only available at the Urban Stillhouse), Jim Beam Vanilla and Jim Beam Black. You also were able to select one out of the entire Jim Beam portfolio to try in your souvenir shot glass (husband and I both chose Baker's). Having already done the tour in Clermont a few years prior, the informative tasting at the Urban Stillhouse was perfect for us!
Our next stop on Friday's bourbon adventures was Michter's Fort Nelson Distillery which recently opened downtown. They do offer tours at this location but for time sake we opted to head upstairs to their gorgeous cocktail bar that overlooks the distillery for a drink. My husband had Michter's bourbon and I enjoyed decaf bourbon infused coffee. It was delicous!
Our bed & breakfast, Chateau Bourbon, is located in a small neighborhood Norton Commons, about a twenty minute drive from downtown Louisville. Following Michter's, it was time to head east to check in for the weekend. Norton Commons is one of the cutest little towns I have ever seen! If you have been to Celebration or Seaside, Florida, it has a very similar look and feel. I later found out that the same architect designed all three of these communities so no wonder it felt familiar!
We were greeted upon our arrival by Missy, one of the innkeepers, and she showed us around the two story, four bedroom B&B. You guys, this is the most beautiful place with so much attention to detail throughout the entire home! Missy and her husband John opened Chateau Bourbon about three and a half years ago and for the last three years I've been waiting and waiting to visit. Our room in the B&B was the called the Angel's Share suite, a beautiful, romantic room on the second floor with a small porch overlooking the street out front.
After check-in, we had a few minutes to relax before it was time for, what was one of my favorites of Chateau Bourbon, the nightly happy hour. Each evening at 5pm, Missy prepares a bourbon inspired cocktail and dessert. Friday evening we enjoyed Bourbon Sours and bourbon vanilla cake with chocolate ganache topped with bourbon vanilla ice cream. Both equally amazing!
We finished our day walking around Norton Commons, noshed on delicious street tacos at local mexican restaurant Citizen 7 then relaxed and chatted with locals at Commonwealth Tap all of which were just a few minute stroll from the B&B.
After a wonderful nights sleep in the most comfortable bed ever, our Saturday morning began with a three course bourbon inspired southern breakfast at Chateau Bourbon that included bourbon granola with drunken cherries, ham & eggs over white cheddar grits and cinnamon stuffed french toast. Missy is an amazing cook. Seriously amazing! Each course portion was just the right size and so delicious (peep my Instagram for a short video that highlights some of this fantastic food)!
We grabbed a chai and coffee for the road at local coffeeshop Fix before heading out to Maker's Mark Distillery. Maker's Mark is a good hour and fifteen minutes from Norton Commons but totally worth the drive. If you haven't been to Maker's, it's a must visit on the bourbon trail. The distillery is a beautiful 1,000 acre property tucked away in the Kentucky countryside. We'd done the full tour here before so we decided against the tour this time around but still managed to do a bourbon tasting during our visit. We also purchased a couple bottles to take home that we got to personalize the labels and dip in the famous Maker's Mark red wax.
Following Maker's Mark we stopped at a few more distilleries as we made our way back towards Chateau Bourbon. Both Bardstown Bourbon Company and Lux Row Distillers are right off the highway between Maker's and the B&B so they were no brainers to stop and visit. We hadn't been to either distillery before and enjoyed both of them. Bardstown Bourbon has a beautiful new restaurant Bottle and Bond on property. We enjoyed lunch here as well as a brief bourbon tasting before heading over to Lux for an additional tasting. Lux also offers tours but given our timing, we opted for the tasting only. The $10 tasting included three bourbons, Rebel Yell, Ezra Brooks, David Nicholson Reserve and three chocolates. Given that I was the driver, I let my husband sample the bourbon while I sampled the chocolate. Win, win.
As we made our way back, we drove a little further east to Kentucky Artisan Distillery (KAD) for our final tasting of the day. Tip: if you want a tour here, be sure to book ahead. We didn't hoping that we could snag a spot on the 3pm tour and it was completely booked when we arrived. Kentucky Artisan is home to Jefferson's Bourbon named after Thomas Jefferson and his curiosity and experimental spirit. Ironically, the day we visited, my husband's birthday, was also the same day as Jefferson's birthday so KAD was celebrating a little bit extra with cupcakes and party hats for those on the tour. KAD also has the uniquely distilled Jefferson's Ocean which we had been gifted a bottle a few years ago. Jefferson's Ocean is taken aboard a giant oceanliner for it's final months of distilling so each year it has a different taste depending on the conditions at sea. While we didn't get to do the tour, we did a tasting of four bourbons plus a couple extras that our guide added in. We ended up taking up a bottle of Ocean's Voyage 17 to enjoy later at home.
We finished exploring just in time for Saturday evening happy hour back at Chateau Bourbon where we enjoyed Kentucky Mules and bourbon apple crisp topped with bourbon vanilla ice cream. Again, amazing! We chatted with Missy, John and other fellow houseguests before heading out for our final evening.
Upon recommendation from a friendly lady at the Commonwealth Tap, we booked a reservation for the Village Anchor in nearby Anchorage, Kentucky. We arrived early so took a short 2 mile walk around a nearby hiking trail then visited Whet Your Palette, a drop-in painting studio across the street from the restaurant. Following dinner, we visited the Commonwealth Tap one final time before calling it a night.
Sunday's breakfast was the perfect end to an amazing weekend away. We started once again with the delicious bourbon granola then enjoyed cheddar egg scramble with sausage and bourbon banana coffee cake. After our amazing breakfast, we said goodbye to Chateau Bourbon and made the trek home back to our kiddos.
We had such a wonderful weekend! Louisville is only about four hours away from our home here in central Illinois so not a bad trip at all for a little getaway. My bourbon loving husband got to enjoy a bourbon filled birthday weekend and I enjoyed planning all the visits and surprises along the way! Chateau Bourbon is a must-stay for anyone looking for a unique place to lay your head in the Louisville area. If you're planning a bourbon filled weekend like we did, it was the perfect fit! Missy and John are geniunely friendly, kind and we felt true southern hospitality our entire stay. I already miss the B&B, evening happy hours, delicous breakfasts and wonderful conversation! We will most definitely be back again.
Feel free to check out all my Louisville stops via Google Maps and if you have any additional questions about our trip or additional suggestions of places to visit on the bourbon trail, please let me know!