The Purpose Of Fun Is To Have Some...

Ten Gifts For The Bourbon Enthusiast On Your Holiday Shopping List

The holiday shopping season is officially upon us, which means it’s time to hit the stores and find that perfect gift for each person on your list. We’ve compiled a list of ten great options for bourbon enthusiasts that are guaranteed to please even the hardest to shop for. The best part is, all of these items are available at the Mint Julep Tours Gift Shop located in the Galt House Hotel (140 N. Fourth St. Louisville, KY) on the 3rd floor of the Rivue Tower.

10. A Bourbon Tour with Mint Julep Tours
They say you should put your best foot forward, and that’s exactly what we’ve done.  The first item on our list is the ultimate gift for a bourbon enthusiast, a bourbon experience on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail with Mint Julep Tours.  Mint Julep has been recognized as one of the top guided drinking tours in America by Conde Nast Traveler and we offer public bourbon trail tours and experiences, as well as custom tours for any size group.  Our tours are hands down the best way to visit the bourbon trail and a gift certificate makes for the perfect gift so your bourbon lover can decide when and where he or she wants to go.

Bus-and-Gift-Certificate-Promo

Right now we’re giving you the chance to go the extra mile and win a truly unique item. For every $100 in gift certificates you purchase through December 15th, you’ll be entered into a raffle to win a Mint Julep Tours hat signed by all the master distillers!  This makes for a truly one-of-a-kind gift and something you won’t find anywhere else. Gift certificates can be purchased by giving us a call at 502-583-1433, we’ll talk you through our pricing and what we tours we offer to help you find the perfect amount.  Make their “spirits” bright this season and give the gift of a bourbon tour with Mint Julep Tours!

Maker's Mark Coffee

9. Maker’s Mark Gourmet Ground Coffee
The best part of waking up is bourbon in your cup… bourbon flavored coffee anyways. This Maker’s Mark gourmet coffee will actually have you looking forward to getting out of bed.

Candleberry

8. Candleberry Kentucky Bourbon Scented Candle
Is the man cave getting a little ripe? Spruce up the place with a bourbon scented candle. These candles are handcrafted in Frankfort, Kentucky and are a combination of caramel and vanilla with just a touch of seasoning from barrels that were used to age Kentucky Bourbon.

Pappy T-shirts and Hats

7. Pappy Van Winkle T-Shirt or Hat
The rarest and most sought after bourbon in the world is Pappy Van Winkle, often referred to as “the best bourbon you’ll never taste”.  Rather than empty your bank account on trying to find a bottle of this liquid gold, these Pappy branded t-shirts and hats are sure to please.

KY Bourbon Trail Glasses

6. Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Bourbon Glasses
What better way to commemorate a recent or upcoming trip to Bourbon Country than with these official Kentucky Bourbon Trail® glasses.  You can bet these will become their favorite glasses for sipping their favorite spirits for years to come.

Sauces

5. Various Distillery Sauces and Condiments
Wild Turkey Habanero Sauce, Evan Williams Maple Syrup, Jim Beam BBQ Sauce and Spicy Mustard… Pour these sauces over just about anything and they’re sure to add some Kentucky bourbon flavor to your favorite dish.

Bourbon Barrel Foods Products

4.  Bourbon Barrel Foods Products
Cooking with bourbon is nothing new, but these products from Louisville’s own Bourbon Barrel Foods take it to a whole other level.  Soy Sauce, Kentuckyaki, and Vanilla Extract, these products were aged in used bourbon barrels where they soaked up tons of flavor.  Spice up your cooking with some authentic Kentucky bourbon flavor. 

Blanton's Cigars

3. Blanton’s Cigars 
Kentucky Gentleman, located in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, makes these hand-rolled cigars using tobacco aged in used Blanton’s barrels. These are the perfect cigars for pairing with America’s native spirit.

Whisky Stones

2. Whisky Stones
Put it on the rocks… literally.  These Whisky Stones are a great way to keep your bourbon cold without watering it down. 

Mini Bourbon Barrel

1. Mini Bourbon Barrel
Rectify your bourbon in your own charred oak barrel.  These barrels allow you to age bourbon to your own personal satisfaction.  Add items to your barrel such as cinnamon chips or dried fruit to enhance the flavor.   

As mentioned above, all of these items are available at the Mint Julep Tours Gift Shop located in the Galt House Hotel (140 N. Fourth St. Louisville, KY) on the 3rd floor of the Rivue Tower!  

Cheers and Happy Holiday Shopping!  

 

Conde Nast Traveler Rates Mint Julep Tours one of the top “Best Guided Drinking Tours in America”

Louisville, Ky. – October 20, 2014 – Mint Julep Tours has been recognized as one of the “Best Guided Drinking Tours in America” in a recent post from Conde Nast Traveler’.  Tours from Portland, to New Orleans, to Denver, to Chicago, to Charleston NC, to Nashville, to Chicago, to San Francisco were also recognized. Mint Julep landed the #2 spot in the list.

The article published here: http://bit.ly/MintJulepToursBestTourinAmerica stated:

“The grandaddy of the all-American drinking journey is undoubtedly Kentucky’s legendary Bourbon Trail, with more than a dozen distilleries scattered about an expansive swath of Bluegrass real estate. To explore the terrain properly, book an excursion through Mint Julep Tours. Buses depart from the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville, and visit big-name distilleries such as Maker’s Mark and Willet. A light lunch is part of a package that concludes with an afternoon at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse.”

“As they say, it takes a village. In our case, that village includes our partners in the bourbon industry and the many restaurants and attractions along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail ® and Bourbon Country ®. We happily share this recognition with our partners and are extremely grateful for all of their support, ” said Lisa Higgins, Chief Fun Officer, Mint Julep Tours. “It is the commitment and leadership of our employee’s that made all of this possible.  Our driver’s and guides, sales team and office staff, strive to make every adventure a positive experience for our guests. Our team takes pride in our motto “the purpose of fun is to have some”! We would like to thank the tourism industry in Kentucky for helping us shine.”

mintjuleptourstransportationMaker's Conde Nast Photo

 

Top Ten Reasons To Hit The Kentucky Bourbon Trail

For those who haven’t yet visited, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail is a truly unique experience that will leave you with a new appreciation for Kentucky Bourbon.  Whether you’re a whiskey enthusiast or need a little extra motivation to get the barrel rolling, we’ve compiled a list of ten great reasons why you should book your trip today.

10.   After completing all stops on the trail you get a SWEET t-shirt.  Almost every time I wear mine, someone asks me where he or she can buy one… they aren’t for sale, you’ve got to earn it.

9.   Seeing rural Kentucky.  Some of the distilleries are located off the main road, which allows for some exploring of the beautiful Kentucky countryside. You’ll pass through miles of pastures filled with horses, fields of corn, tobacco, soy, and sorghum.

8.   Miles of fencing that surround thoroughbred horse farms.  While some might not think of fences as anything worth noting, in Kentucky we use a traditional four rail wooden fence to keep our horses from danger. These fences cost around $18/foot and there is one farm near Versailles that has over 55 miles of fence!  You’ve got to see it to believe it.

7.   Buy or sample products that are only available at the distillery.   Maker’s Mark barrel strength (Makers Mark), William Heaven Hill, Elijah Craig 12yr. barrel strength, Evan Williams 23yr. (Heaven Hill), Bourbon Ball Crème Liqueur (Barton 1792), Wheatley Vodka (Buffalo Trace), Four Roses Single Barrel at barrel strength (Four Roses), Jim Beam Stillhouse limited edition (Beam).  There are products you won’t find on the shelf at your local liquor store.

6.   The opportunity for totally unique experiences such as a tastings straight from the barrel, pouring ingredients into the next batch and possibly even meeting a master distiller.

5.   See the bourbon distillation process up close and personal.   Take a distillery tour and see how our distillers turn grain, limestone branch water, and yeast into Bourbon.  Dip your fingers into a 10,000-gallon vat of distiller’s beer and smell the fermentation but don’t get too close.   A guest once leaned way in for a photo and dropped her iPhone in the tub.  Oops!

4.   Learn the fascinating history of Kentucky bourbon and explore bourbon’s farmer/distiller origins. Find out why Kentucky became the state that produces 95% of the world’s bourbon and how the industry continues to grow.

3.   Explore a bourbon warehouse.  The angle’s share (evaporation) from over 50,000 barrels in a single building is something to experience.  Hint:  It smells like freedom!!

2.   There are about 4.5 million residents in Kentucky and over 5 million barrels aging in warehouses. Those are good odds and there’s always enough bourbon to go around.

1. Because it’s fun, and as we say… the purpose of fun is to have some, so come join us!

Mint Julep Tours Announces Dates For Their Popular Halloween Tour

The Moonshine & Madness Tour available for only two dates in October

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – September 30, 2014 – Mint Julep Tours is now accepting reservations for their annual Moonshine & Madness tour, a bus and walking tour combo that features a stop on the Urban Bourbon Trail with spooky Louisville sites. The popular tour will run October 16 and 23.

The 3 ½ hour tour departs at 7:30 p.m. and begins with an opportunity to purchase a special Mint Julep-inspired cocktail at the charismatic Haymarket Whiskey Bar, a popular downtown Louisville hangout and official Urban Bourbon Trail stop, that features 100+ bourbons, games and live music. The tour continues through Eastern Cemetery and the historic Highlands neighborhood, where the group will learn about Louisville’s haunted houses and ghost sightings from paranormal enthusiast and Mint Julep tour guide, Joni Goodin.  The tour concludes at the Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular, a ¼ mile walking trail through Iroquois Park with 5,000+ illuminated carved pumpkins.

“Mint Julep Tours prides itself on offering authentic tours that leave our guests with a new appreciation for the region, and we are thrilled to have one of our own to share Louisville’s eerie past for the Moonlight and Madness tour,” says Mint Julep Tours owner Sean Higgins, “By combining our unique perspective on Kentucky culture with Joni’s 16 years of paranormal experience as a guide, researcher and investigator, we are creating a one-of-a-kind experience.”

Cost of the tour is $57 per person (plus admission to the Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular). Reservations are required and can be made by contacting Chasta Feller at chasta@mintjuleptours.com or by calling 502-583-1433.  To book the tour online, visit www.mintjuleptours.com.

Moonshine And Madness

 

Only 3 ‘Maker’s Mark After Dark’ Tour Dates Left for 2014

Enjoy an Ultra Exclusive Experience with Maker’s Mark ® and Mint Julep Tours ®

Louisville, KY, September 4, 2014– You may have been on a Maker’s Mark® tour, but you have never seen the distillery like this. Mint Julep Tours and the world-famous Bourbon Brand joined forces to allow you to “Experience the Maker.”

There are only THREE (3) dates available for a PRIVATE tour of Makers Mark Distillery in 2014. Guests will hop aboard a customized Mint Julep Tours vehicle and be transported to the picturesque distillery for an evening of exceptional adventure. When the tours end at Maker’s Mark®, the doors will open only to you to experience the Bourbon Mecca after hours.

“The Maker’s Mark After Dark event offers a once in a lifetime chance for guests to really go behind the scenes of one of the most legendary Kentucky landmarks.” said Sean Higgins, Chief Fun Officer at Mint Julep Tours. “

Guests will enjoy a guided tour showcasing the bourbon making process, from grain to bottle. The night will be complete with a tasting with Maker’s Mark® inspired cocktails and southern style appetizers under the “Spirit of the Maker,” a new hand-blown glass ceiling by world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly.

“We are thrilled to be able to partner with Mint Julep Tours to open our doors after hours for those Ambassador’s and fans of Makers Mark that wish to have an exclusive experience. To enjoy our distillery in this private and relaxing manner is something we are excited to share,” said Sydina H. Bradshaw, Director of Visitor Relations with Makers Mark®.

Guests can also hand-dip a bottle of Maker’s Mark in the signature red wax and enjoy a private shopping experience. Tickets are $179 a person and dates are limited. The upcoming tour dates are September 19th, October 3rd and November 7th. The tour runs from 1:15-7:30 p.m. Book now to reserve your spot exclusively through Mint Julep Tours at http://bourbontrailtours.com/Makers-Mark:–After-Dark-Experience.html

Maker’s Mark After Dark – A Truly Unique Experience

An exclusive behind the scenes after hours tour? Check. Hand dip your own bottle of Maker’s Mark in the signature red wax? Check. Special bourbon tastings, southern style appetizers, and cocktails? Check, check and check.  The Maker’s Mark After Dark tour includes all that and more. If you haven’t experienced this exclusive experience you’re missing out, but have no worries because we’ve got you covered.

Launching earlier this year in June, Maker’s Mark After Dark has become extremely popular.  While most of our tours occur during the day, this one-of-a-kind experience takes place at the Maker’s Mark distillery after the doors to the public close.  You’ll hop aboard a customized Mint Julep Tours vehicle and be transported to the beautiful distillery located in Loretto, Kentucky.

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Things will start off with a guided tour of the distillery showcasing the entire bourbon making process, from grain to bottle. After the tour you’ll head to a barrel warehouse for a special bourbon tasting underneath the stunning, “Spirit of the Maker” hand-blown glass ceiling done by world renowned artist, Dale Chihuly.  The evening is capped off with some Maker’s Mark inspired cocktails and southern style appetizers before you hand-dip your very own bottle of Maker’s Mark in the signature red wax to take home as a souvenir.

Tickets are $179 a person and the remaining dates in 2014 are September 19th, October 3rd and November 7th.  The tour departs from the Galt House in downtown Louisville at 1:15pm and returns at 7:30. More information and tickets are available at http://bourbontrailtours.com/Makers-Mark:–After-Dark-Experience.html or by calling 502-583-1433.

MJT-4-Phone

A Mint Julep Tours Guide’s Perspective

Trying something new here this week on the blog that we think will be pretty fun.  We asked one of our awesome tour guides here at Mint Julep Tours if he would share with us what he loves about his job, some of his favorite experiences and provide a unique perspective on what it is that truly sets Mint Julep Tours apart.

What I love about being a Mint Julep Tours guide

As a tour guide with Mint Julep Tours, I lead groups through Bourbon Country and visit stops along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.  I keep our guests entertained with facts and stories about Kentucky history, horses, moonshine, and bourbon.  We cover lots of territory between stops so I’m usually able to squeeze in a few bad jokes as well. 

I love getting to know our guests.  We get all kinds on the bourbon bus.  The folks on a typical tour range in age from twenty something hipsters exploring their love of bourbon to senior citizens that want to take in the bluegrass and horses as we cruise through thoroughbred farms.  We often have veterans and active duty military as guests.  Everyone has a story to tell.  I’m often shocked by our guest’s stories about home distillation and moonshining.  The common thread amongst our guests seems to be an appreciation of fun.  Mint Julep Tours’ motto is “The purpose of fun is to have some, so come join us!”, and we DEFINITELY have fun out on the trail. 

An especially fun part of exploring Kentucky with MJT is coming across interesting characters along the way.  One of the most interesting people we’re likely to bump in to is Freddie Johnson at Buffalo Trace distillery.  Freddie is a tour guide extraordinaire.  He is the third generation from his family to work at Buffalo Trace and he is bubbling over with information and charisma.  He can read an audience like an A-list comedian and creates incredibly memorable and interactive tours for our guests.  Your sides will hurt after one of Freddie’s tours. 

We sometimes have the opportunity to meet important people at the distilleries we visit.  One of my most memorable experiences was leading a group through the Wild Turkey distillery and meeting Jimmy Russell the octogenarian master distiller.  He visited with our guests, posed for photos, and signed bottles.   He finally had to leave, explaining that he had to fly to the west coast for an important marketing meeting with some “guys in suits”.  I was astonished to see him climb into a twenty year old, rusty pickup truck and drive away.   Here is a gentleman that has achieved success and wealth that most of us can only dream of and he is still very much a man of the people and as down to earth as the bourbon he creates.

I never get tired of driving through the lovely Kentucky countryside and meeting new and interesting people.  By the end of a bourbon tour I usually have at least a dozen new friends.  The wide variety of bourbon, the characters, the behind-the-scenes look at where the greatest whiskeys in the world are made…. Yeah, I have the best job ever!!  

Brendan has been in the bourbon industry for several years and has been with Mint Julep Tours for over a year.

Brendan&Jimmy

 

 

 

Support For A Good Cause, “On The Rocks”

If you’ve been online at all in the past few months you’ve probably seen video after video of your friends, family members or celebrities dumping buckets of water on their heads as part of the “Ice Bucket Challenge”.  This viral sensation is of course in support of The ALS Foundation and has been extremely successful in raising both awareness and funds for the cause. Close to 30 million dollars to be exact, and that number is still growing as more and more videos are popping up on our news feeds with each one “nominating” others to follow suit. It was only a matter of time then for the Ice Bucket Challenge to reach us here at Mint Julep Tours.

Last week, one of our own employees David Nichols accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and in addition to dumping a bucket of ice water on his head, David made a personal donation to The ALS Association in honor of his late uncle who passed away earlier this year from ALS. Mint Julep Tours continually supports the causes and non-profits most dear to their employees, drivers and guides so it was only fitting that David recorded his video after work in front of a Mint Julep Tours bus.  You can check out David’s video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8AFugm0xJA

David Ice Bucket

In addition to David, numerous other local companies have accepted the challenge with some even putting their own twist on it. The Kentucky Derby accepted their Ice Bucket Challenge with a “Mint Julep” spin as a nod to the famous Churchill Downs cocktail. Mixed in with the standard water and ice each person added sugar, bourbon and of course mint!  They also made a donation of $1,000 in support of of the cause and challenged Arlington Park Racetrack, Fair Grounds Race Course, PGA Championship and Kentucky HBPA.  You can view this video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-38lE_na0E

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The bourbon industry itself has gotten involved starting with Heaven Hill Master Distiller Craig Beam accepting the Ice “Barrel” Challenge.  Yup,  that’s right… Craig had a bourbon barrel full of ice water dumped on his head in support of his father and legendary Master Distiller Parker Beam, who has been diagnosed with ALS. The Parker Beam Promise of Hope Fund was set up as a way to help the ALS Association raise funds to find a cure for the disease, additionally Parker himself came up with a creative idea. Last fall, the seventh edition of the exceptional Parker’s Heritage Collection Bourbon was released.  The barrels for this bourbon came hand selected by Parker himself from the best locations in the rick house to deliver the perfect age and proof for this rare batch.  Heaven Hill Distilleries donated $20 from the sale of every bottle to the ALS Promise Fund – a campaign that will raise a quarter million dollars.

Craig challenged fellow Master Distillers Jim Rutledge of Four Roses Bourbon, Jimmy Russell of Wild Turkey, Harlen Wheatley of Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Greg Davis of Maker’s Mark, Chris Morris of Woodford Reserve, and Fred Noe of Jim Beam to the Ice “Barrel” Challenge. He also challenged Max Shapira, President of Heaven Hill Distilleries. You can view this video on the Evan Williams Facebook page.

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Learn more about ALS, the Ice Bucket Challenge and how you can donate at www.alsa.org. You can also find out more information about the Parker Beam Promise of Hope Fund at http://web.alsa.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Parkerbeam_Promise_Fund

 

Two Unique Ways To Experience Jim Beam This Friday

Public Bourbon Tours

The Jim Beam Super Premium Tour is an experience you don’t want to miss!

Are you ready to experience Jim Beam in a way that has never before been offered to the public?  If so, the exclusive Jim Beam Super Premium Tour was made for you.  On this tour you’ll dive into “all things whiskey, Beam style” with a day filled with special tours, unique stories, memorable bourbon tastings and more!

The highlight of this exclusive tour is a private experience with the Master Distiller Fred Noe, 7th generation Beam family member. The quick-witted, sociable, and knowledgeable Fred Noe introduces people around the world to his family’s bourbons.  Fred’s stories of growing up on the distillery grounds are legendary, and people come in droves to see this real Kentucky bourbon legend talk about his family’s heritage.

In addition to that you’ll get a behind the scenes tour of the Jim Beam Distillery, including the bourbon barrel dumping station and one of the largest barrel warehouses in the industry.  For you mixologists and culinary fans, there will be a private sampling of the Beam Brands with a Beam bourbon expert and then you’re off to experience a bourbon themed meal on the porch of the Knob Creek house on the scenic grounds of the distillery. To top off your experience, all tour participants will receive a commemorative etched bottle of Jim Beam which is truly a one-of-a-kind collectable.

The August Jim Beam Super Premium tour had previously sold out, however we have opened up a second vehicle and limited tickets are still available! Departure time on Friday August 15th is 9:00am and you will return to Louisville at 3:00pm. The cost is $199 per person and you can purchase tickets online here by clicking on the “Exclusive Experiences” tab or by calling 502-583-1433.

Jim Beam American Stillhouse hosts Bourbon, Barbeque & Music

Can’t make the Jim Beam Super Premium Tour? No worries, the Jim Beam American Stillhouse will still be rocking into the afternoon with their next installment of the distillery’s Summer Concert Series.  Spend Friday, August 15th with bourbon fans from all over and celebrate Jim Beam with mouth-watering barbeque from Fred’s Smokehouse, live music on the distillery lawn and an inside look at how the world’s No. 1 selling bourbon whiskey is made.  Samples of “America’s Native Spirit” will be poured for guests of legal drinking age.

The event runs from 12:00pm to 5:00pm and is free to attend, however guests will need to purchase and reserve their distillery tours ahead of time which can be done online here.  For more information on this event please contact the Jim Beam American Stillhouse at 502-543-9877.

Secrets of Louisville Chefs Truly a Unique Experience

While Mint Julep Tours is certainly dedicated to all different kinds of tours focused on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, we also offer some other amazing exclusive experiences that surely won’t disappoint. One of those events is the chance to be a part of the live studio audience for the filming of the popular television show Secrets of Louisville Chefs.

You’ll join us in Kitchen Studio at Bourbon Barrel Foods located in historic Butchertown where you will see two show tapings as Louisville’s top chefs cook with Tim Laird, Brown-Forman’s Chief Entertaining Officer and Kevin Harned, WAVE 3 TV Chief Meteorologist. You will have reserved VIP seats along with a champagne cocktail meet-and-greet with the hosts and producers of the show. At the conclusion of the show, you will be able to sample food that the chefs have prepared.

SOLC-Blog-PhotoKitchen Studio at Bourbon Barrel Foods

The featured chefs for August are Dustin Staggers of The Monkey Wrench and Dallas McGarity of Marketplace Restaurant.  For a little bit of background on Chef Dustin Staggers, he has been at The Monkey Wrench since November of last year and was brought in to remake the menu with his creative take on Southern cuisine. It was also recently announced that Staggers will be co-opening “Roux” with his brother in the former Le Gallo Rosso space on Bardstown Rd.  Roux will be a New Orleans style restaurant serving classic New Orleans dishes.  Chef Dallas McGarity came to Louisville in 2004 working as a sous chef at Volare Restaurant and quickly moved up the food scene working at local favorites including Equus & Jack’s Lounge.  In 2010, Dallas became Executive Chef/Partner at Marketplace Restaurant and continues to be heavily involved in the local culinary scene and many charitable organizations.

Hungry yet? Here are the details you need to know:

Secrets of Louisville Chefs August Taping – Dustin Staggers and Dallas McGarity

Saturday, August 16th from 9:30am to 12:30pm

Tickets: $50 and can be purchased here