My Amazing 3-Day Complete Guide to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail
Take a Road Trip to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail
When planning my own trip along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, I was surprised that there was no comprehensive and easy-to-follow itinerary online. Lucky for you, I decided to change that! This post has every piece of information you will need to do a tour of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Happy sipping!
Below, I have created a printable itinerary, which includes the distance and time between each distillery/location, the phone number (I highly suggest reserving your spot for the tours ahead of time), and the cost for each tour. I've also added the map locations for easy driving directions.
About the Itinerary and Lodging
The two inns that I recommend are side by side, with Jailer's Inn having the nicer, quieter accommodations and breakfast between the two. Be sure to reserve them early, and even if they show no availability online, call. We were able to get rooms at both places by calling. Bardstown is the best place to stay both nights in my opinion— not only for location but also for the quaintness and dining options. There are more commercial hotels off the beaten track if that is more your style.
I've added a few photos to give you an idea of what you will see, but not enough to ruin the surprise! If you wish to complete the official passport that includes the current distilleries, you can pick up the Bourbon Trail Passport at your first location. (Collect stamps at each location and redeem for a souvenir (a pair of tasting glasses, etc.).
Note: The distilleries on the official tour change from time to time, and in looking at the current passport site, there are a few differences from this itinerary that we completed. You can choose to follow this one or change it up to include new distilleries that were recently added if completing the "official passport" is of importance to you.
My Favorite Distilleries on the Tour
In my personal opinion, Maker's Mark and Woodford Reserve have the prettiest settings for their operations. Woodford Reserve is nestled amongst horse barns and miles of fences and seemed to be the busiest, so be sure you get your reservation in there. Plan to do a lot of walking and wear comfortable shoes.
Some distilleries will have you take a short bus ride to their outbuildings, but even then, there is walking involved. Angel's Envy is by far the hardest to secure a reservation, so be sure to book that one first. There were no times open to reserve, but we went anyways, hoping there would be availability. There wasn't, but the nice woman at the desk did sneak us in to at least see the copper still and we bought a bottle of their limited rye (which ended up being our favorite!).
Note: Most of these distilleries offer military and veteran discounts and some are even free, but they will ask to see your ID if you reserve as military.
Don't be afraid to do all these tastings and then drive to your next location. The tastings are just that; a very tiny amount of 3–4 samples. Despite visiting 4 locations or so each day, we didn't feel a thing! Drink lots of water and be sure to pack snacks or grab something in between locations (allow yourself some time between reservations) because there are no restaurants on the sites.
Bourbon Trail Itinerary and LodgingClick thumbnail to view full-size
Hit the Barton's Distillery in Bardstown
As an added location while staying in Bardstown, you can visit Barton's Distillery to grab a bottle of their 1792, take a tour, and help support their business, as they recently lost one of their rickhouses in a collapse in July of 2018. We purchased an empty, used barrel from them for $120 to take home!
If you go to any of the locations on this list, please comment below and tell me about your experience!
Driving Directions for the Kentucky Bourbon Trail (Day 1)
Driving Directions for the Kentucky Bourbon Trail (Day 2)
Driving Directions for the Kentucky Bourbon Trail (Day 3)
The Mint Julep is the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby. It is also my favorite. You will see various mint julep mixers available on your tour, but I will save you the confusion and say that the is by far the best one. It is $25 at Woodford and you can replenish your stash for the same price on Amazon. It is so natural and refreshing and also makes a mean mojito too! I also enjoy it in my iced tea. Woodford Reserve Mint Julep Syrup
Woodford Reserve Mint Julep
3 oz. Woodford Reserve® Bourbon
1 oz. Woodford Reserve® Mint Julep Simple Syrup
Fresh Mint Sprigs
Mix the bourbon and the syrup, pour over ice and garnish with fresh mint leaves.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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© 2018 Debra Roberts