What is the Urban Bourbon Trail?
After a day in Bourbon Country visiting the distilleries, it’s time to test your newfound knowledge on the URBAN bourbon trail. Louisville has been home to many distillers since Evan Williams marketed his first whiskey in the city in 1780. Until the 1920’s, a portion of Main Street was known as “Whiskey Row” when as many as 50 distilleries were active. As work continues on bringing back two distillery tours to downtown Louisville, you can celebrate the city’s bourbon heritage at some of the world’s best bourbon bars.
Morning, noon or night, bourbon can be found in its natural environment…the Louisville bars and restaurants serving up America’s only native spirit in drinks and innovative dishes from mint julep pancakes to bourbon barrel smoked salmon or a bourbon ball milkshake. Search for the best Mint Julep – the official drink of the Kentucky Derby – featured at many of the stops.
The establishments on the Urban Bourbon Trail vary from historic hotel properties that once served Kentucky Whiskey to the likes of Al Capone and F. Scott Fitzgerald to cosmopolitan “scenes” where urban trend-setters are making retro drinks such as the Old-Fashioned and Manhattan in vogue again. Five are in downtown hotels, four have been internationally recognized and all are serving up bourbon-inspired dining. All offer bourbon flights, special bourbon cocktails and all have at least 50 different bourbon labels on the bar with trained staff that can explain the nuances and tasting notes in the varied offerings from Jim Beam Black to Elmer T. Lee.
How does it work?
There are two ways to travel the Urban Bourbon Trail – with a printed booklet style passport or an electronic version. You can pick up your free passport at the Visitors Center (4th and Jefferson Streets in downtown Louisville) or at any of the participating stops (just ask your server). You can also download an electronic passport using the iPhone or Android app.
No matter which method you choose, you’ll be guided through the history of Louisville’s bourbon heritage and the world’s most celebrated bourbon bars. Just drink in the atmosphere, or enjoy a bite to eat. Be sure to ask your bartender or server to validate your passport (or app) before you leave. Remember you don’t have to drink bourbon to get your passport stamped (though that’s a bit of the point!), you just need to make a purchase at each location.
Perhaps you’ve made this bet before in horseracing (Kentucky’s other favorite pastime), well rest assured a “Pick Six” on the Urban Bourbon Trail is a SURE bet. Just collect a stamp from six of the many stops along the Urban Bourbon Trail and you’ll earn the rank of official Bourbon Country Citizen.
You’ll also be awarded a special Urban Bourbon Trailblazer t-shirt and official Citizen of Bourbon Country certificate, so you can proudly display your passion for bourbon to the world.
The program is free to participate (other than your purchases), and there’s no time limit for completion.
Get the Passport: Click here!
Get the Map: Click here!