Bottoms Up! Drinking Bourbon in Bardstown

Stella tasting bourbon at Jim Beam

We didn’t have to go far to kick off our US road trip. Right in my parents’ backyard is Bardstown, the Bourbon Capital of the World. Although I’ve visited bourbon distilleries on several occasions, this would be Stella’s first.

Our first stop was at Maker’s Mark. If you’re not familiar with it, you’d probably recognize the bottle with the red wax dripping down the top of it. Each bottle is hand-dipped, and the women who dip them can tell which bottles they’ve dipped when they see them in the store. Pretty impressive! The tour takes you through the process of making bourbon as well as storage and bottling…. and finally, to tasting! Our tour guide had a really southern accent and talked as if she had sipped bourbon just a few too many times, but all in all it was fun. :) Not only did we taste bourbon, but they also let us try white dog, the clear spirit before it’s been aged in a barrel and made into bourbon (sometimes referred to as moonshine or white lightning).

Filling up bottles of Maker's Mark with bourbon
The women dipping the bottles in wax as they come down the line

After Maker’s Mark, we stopped at Hurst Discount Drugs just off the town square for a classic diner lunch. Bobblehead Abe came along for the ride and had a great time.

With food in our stomachs, we were ready for more bourbon and headed over to Jim Beam.  En route, we saw a fella sitting in a chair on the side of the road, strumming his guitar.

Meet Interesting Character on the Side of the Road #1. Turns out he was just waiting for his son to get home on the school bus. After a few minutes chatting, we discovered that he’d lived in Great Britain for a few years and wasn’t your typical rural Kentuckian. It was all fun and games until we asked him to take a photo with our bobblehead, and he said “This is getting weird.” We jetted after that and caught the last tour of the day at Jim Beam.

Pulling into Jim Beam distillery
Storage building for Jim Beam
Fungus grows on buildings & surrounding trees of distilleries

All in all, our mini bourbon tour in Kentucky was great. If you find yourself in the Bardstown area, you should definitely take the bourbon trail! And remember to get your Bourbon Trail Passport stamped to get your free t-shirt.

A few more photos from the day:

This guy (on a purple moped) didn't have all his marbles and pulled over by the post office in this small town to curse out drivers as they passed.
Town square in Bardstown
First successful amputation of a leg at the hip joint in the US occurred in Bardstown. Who knew?
Looking toward the town square by Spalding's

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