The Perfect Kentucky Bourbon Trail Music Playlist for Fall

 

The Perfect Kentucky Bourbon Trail Music Playlist for Fall

Mint Julep Tours Bourbon Trail PlaylistYou’ve been planning this bourbon adventure for over seven months and the day has finally arrived. When the local TV weather gurus cheerfully share the picturesque forecast for the day, they seem to be talking directly to you. The cooler is packed and you’ve picked the right attire for a full day in Bourbon Country. You have maps, snacks, and blank Kentucky Bourbon Trail passports ready for their first stamp. All your bases are covered. But do you have the perfect Fall Bourbon Trail Playlist?

Do not make the rookie mistake of forgetting the tunes! On an average day visit to Kentucky distilleries (or horse farms, for that matter) your ride might cover over 225 miles of Kentucky highways, byways and backroads all during the course of an 11 hour stretch. In order to avoid those sleepy lulls between stops, you’ll need great music. Just like bourbon needs ice and Honest Abe needed Mary Todd, any good road trip needs a quality playlist!

But you must come prepared. Trust us, playing DJ on the fly is the most thankless and unappreciated gig in the tour business. Many Mint Julep Tours guides and drivers have heard the unrelenting chorus of boos when a wayward song flops with the audience on the bus. Allow us to make things a little bit easier for you with the 10 best songs for your Bourbon Trail road trip. Taking a bit from every beloved Kentucky genre, there should be a little something for everyone in this epic set of songs:


Take Me Back to Kentucky – Mickey Clark & The Blue Norther

A strong candidate for a modern day successor to our beloved state song “My Old Kentucky Home.” Sorry, ole Stephen Foster. This tune showcases everything there is to love about our state in 3 minutes and 12 seconds. Mickey Clark and his crew provide a little fiddle and a little get up and go while helping you out with the correct pronunciation of a few local towns you’ll be visiting like Versailles and Paris.

Listen Here!

S.O.B. – Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

The perfect track to have on tap as you shift into drive and start motoring down I-65 South or I-64 East to your first stop. This song might have been written for the sole purpose of getting people excited to sample bourbon. S.O.B. comes complete with a chorus that will make you double check the odometer. Just remember, it is considered bad form to pull into the Jim Beam Distillery at 80 miles per hours.

Listen Here!

Satellite Radio – Steve Earle

A recent cut from the modern master of twang, Steve Earle’s lonesome song about a solo, late night drive will help those miles go by a little faster. Perfect for soaking up the scenery as you stare out your bourbon bus window.

Listen Here!

Holding Out for a Hero – Bonnie Tyler

No bourbon trail playlist is complete without at least a little bit of over-the-top music coming straight from 1984. If so inspired, feel free to re-enact the scene in which an angry Kevin Bacon plays a high-stakes game of chicken with tractors in the movie Footloose. We guarantee everyone will be shouting along at top volume by the end of the song.

Listen Here!

Rebel Never Gets Old – David Bowie

We may have tragically lost the Thin White Duke earlier this year, but it turns out that a large number of his songs are perfect for back road adventures. Take this little known mashup of “Rebel Rebel” and “Never Get Old.” You’ll be tapping your fingers immediately after hearing that recognizable, iconic guitar riff. The song is almost perfectly crafted for driving west on US-60 through Shelby and Franklin Counties. Could Bowie have taken secret trips to Kentucky to seek inspiration for his legendary catalog? Anything is possible…

Listen Here!

Kentucky Woman – Neil Diamond

Raise a glass to toast the ladies of the Bluegrass! Sure, the 75-year old Diamond is about as Kentucky as the Statue of Liberty, but the man sure does sing a heartfelt ballad about the girls that shine with their own kind of light. Besides, how many states can you name that have number one singles written about their beloved belles? That’s what we thought. (If you need to pinch hit with a more rockin’ version, we also recommend the Deep Purple rendition of this song). 

Listen Here!

Eastbound and Down – Jerry Read

Eastbound and Down sits high on the list of greatest country road trip songs ever written. Read’s banjo is as relentless as his harmonies. Conveniently, the title provides loose directions for those who have gotten lost on the way to Maker’s Mark from Louisville. As a bonus, this song served as the theme from “Smokey and The Bandit”, so you and your crew can take turns pretending to be Burt Reynolds, Sally Field and Jackie Gleason.

Listen Here!

I’m on Fire- Town Mountain

You didn’t think there would be an entire list of music designed for driving through the Bluegrass without a full-fledged Bluegrass song, did you? This North Carolina-based band takes this cover of The Boss’ legendary song to a whole new level. The tune invokes images of every knob and holler in the region. This one is perfect for those pensive, reflective moments when you’re trying to decide on your favorite bourbon sample of the day. 

Listen Here!

Wagon Wheel – Old Crow Medicine Show

Since we can’t seem to go an hour in any bar recently without hearing this great tune, we’ll bet a bucket of burgoo that at least one person on your bus knows every word to this song. And enthusiastically volunteers to sing it. Loudly. Enjoy this one while trekking down the winding road through Marion County as you seek out Bathtub Marys along the road side.

Listen Here!

All the Whiskey in Kentucky – Johnny Berry and the Outliers

The perfect song for the day’s end. Like any great country song, Berry covers love, loss and whiskey. As a bonus, this song name checks a number of bourbon brands ranging from Heaven Hill to Old Forrester to Wild Turkey. In other words, after a day in Bourbon Country, it may be the most relatable song out there!

Listen Here!

Check out all of these songs in one playlist below and be sure to head over to the
Mint Julep Tours YouTube Page for more great videos!

Did we miss a song? Let us know what’s on your Bourbon Trail Playlist on Twitter or Facebook. Allow us to plan your next Bourbon Adventure tour! Mint Julep Tours is the only dedicated tour company focused on The Kentucky Bourbon Trail®.  Based in Louisville, Kentucky we offer Custom and Public Bourbon Distillery Tours as well as unique Exclusive Experiences, Horse Farm Tours, Culinary Tours, and Louisville City Tours. As a truly one-of-a-kind tour and destination management company, Mint Julep Tours also offers transportation and event planning services with a focus on Special Events, Corporate Outings and Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties.

Specialty horse and bourbon-related gifts are available at the Mint Julep Tours retail store inside the Galt House on the third floor of the Rivue Tower at 140 North 4th Street Suite 326, Louisville, KY 40202. 502-583-1433 Ext. 106.

Written by Phil Kollin – Mint Julep Tours Driver & Guide 

Booking the Perfect Custom Adventure with Mint Julep Tours – We Do It All Y’all!

Booking the Perfect Custom Adventure with Mint Julep Tours – We Do It All Y’all!

A Mint Julep Tours group visits Maker's Mark distillery where they dipped their own bourbon bottlesRecently, a guest suggested that our buses could benefit from a giant sign that reads: “We Do It All Y’All!” And while we prefer to keep our buses just the way they are, the passenger made a good point. When you spot a Mint Julep Tours bus crisscrossing the state, you may not realize that those onboard are often guests who have embarked on a made-to-order adventure. Did you know that Mint Julep Tours offers custom tours every day of the week and nearly every single day of the year? And that all of our custom tours are as unique as different batches of a tasty single-barrel bourbon? Maybe you’re interested in experiencing a bourbon tasting in the middle of a dimly-lit warehouse surrounded by thousands of barrels. Or perhaps a day that involves braving the zip lines at Louisville’s Mega Cavern and then traveling south to the Maker’s Mark distillery to tour, taste and dip a bottle in that signature red wax is more your speed. Or you might prefer an outing that combines a visit to a beautiful Kentucky thoroughbred horse farm, a leisurely upscale lunch in the town of Midway and then a stop to shop at the famed Zappos Shoe Outlet. In short, if you can imagine a specific, custom touring experience in Kentucky, Mint Julep Tours can make it happen! We are proud to be one of the top full service destination management companies in Kentucky. And the fun all begins with a phone call.

Midway was home to Kentucky's first railroadMany of the calls to Mint Julep Tours start out the same way. An excited voice on the other end of the line makes an enthusiastic yet cautious and curious declaration: “I want do the Bourbon Trail!” Each and every custom tour booking starts with a detailed conversation with one of our coordinators. Many first-time visitors to the area have endless questions based on bits of information they’ve read, a detailed inspection of our Trip Advisor reviews or second-hand stories from friends who have taken similar treks to The Kentucky Bourbon Trail ® , Horse Farms, Louisville and beyond. Our staff’s first priority is to fill in those knowledge gaps and better understand the precise type of outing our guests want to experience. From bachelor/bachelorette parties to corporate outings and everything in between, Mint Julep Tours can accommodate groups of all sizes by creating a tour with the right itinerary, length, style and tone.

Photo of a Mint Julep Tours bus at a distilleryOne common pitfall among visitors is learning the hard way that Kentucky’s geography and state routes can be a touch confusing (just ask anyone who has attempted to travel to Loretto, KY without a quality map), and the perceived distances between major distilleries are sometimes much greater than anticipated. When you book a custom tour with Mint Julep Tours, we make sure that you don’t end up spending more time in the bus than you do at the distilleries. We also work to ensure that your planned stops are the best fit for your crew. With nearly two dozen top-notch bourbon distilleries scattered throughout the state, it can be a daunting process to choose the best options for you. Those who have a soft spot in their heart for Booker’s bourbon may be surprised to learn that the product is distilled at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse. Or maybe you want to up your dinner game and enjoy a private dinner in the Stone Room at Captain’s Quarters located smack dab on the Ohio River. We can even set up private bourbon tastings for groups ranging in size from 5 to 500! But custom tours with Mint Julep Tours are so much more than just bourbon.

Over the last eight years, our buses have logged more miles on Kentucky interstates, highways and back roads than we can count. We’ve created experiences for guests at the iconic Keeneland Racecourse just outside of Lexington, sessions at The Knob Creek Gun Range and scheduled visits to both the Independent Stave Cooperage in Lebanon, KY and the Brown-Forman Cooperage next door to the Louisville International Airport. Kentucky is home to everything from Mammoth Cave to the National Corvette Museum to Abe Lincoln’s Childhood Home – all places you can visit on a Mint Julep Tours excursion as part of a custom tour.

Statue at Falls of the OhioIn 2015, Louisville was named among the “Friendliest Cities in America” by Travel + Leisure Magazine and we’ve helped guests experience that first hand. We’ve booked reservations at iconic Churchill Down’s Turf Club and set up tours at new attractions making waves like brandy distillery Copper & Kings. Mint Julep Tours can take you to the Falls of The Ohio State Park, Schimpff’s Confectionery, Bourbon Barrel Foods or we can even take you bowling at Vernon Lanes! If you want to go even further off the beaten path, we’ve set up Segway Races (complete with obstacle course, of course) and scavenger hunts that will have your group scurrying madly across town. Our staff can suggest the perfect restaurants and hotel as well as book reservations when needed. If you’re more interested in exploring some of the best Louisville has to offer, you’ll be hard pressed to find a staff that knows Derby City better.

A custom adventure with Mint Julep Tours is so much more than just bus a ride around Kentucky. Combine the strength of a custom tour with our professional, knowledgeable and award-winning Mint Julep Tours guides and drivers, and you’ve got the recipe for one amazing day…or maybe more! We may book tours, but we specialize in creating custom experiences and one-of-a-kind memories. And that’s why we believe “the purpose of fun is to have some.” Want to get started? The fun starts with a phone call to Mint Julep Tours today.

As one of Kentucky’s top destination management company, Mint Julep Tours can create an itinerary for the perfect custom. Call 502-583-1433 or visit us online today to begin planning your adventure.

Kentucky’s Exploding Culinary Scene

Kentucky’s Exploding Culinary Scene

For years, Kentucky’s best known restaurant was a charming little place called The Beaumont Inn. Located in historic Harrodsburg, The Beaumont lays claim to being the state’s oldest family-operated bed & breakfast. The quaint main dining room has been serving timeless Bluegrass classics liked fried chicken and country ham since 1845. But just as the number of bourbon distilleries has boomed in recent years, so has the number of innovative, ground breaking Kentucky restaurants. Today, new highly touted dining spots are drawing crowds to Louisville, Midway, Lexington and beyond. Each one fronted by ambitious, young executive chefs who are redefining both the culinary landscape and the menu. And the accolades from national publications are starting to pile up. Travel + Leisure magazine recently added Louisville to their list of “America’s Best Cities for foodies”, while Thrillist named Derby City their “Best Up-and-Coming Food City.” Simply put: Kentucky is becoming a destination for foodies. But to find the very best that the state has to offer, visitors often need a sense of adventure. And a pretty good sense of direction.

Chef Ed Lee“You sure this is right?” The guide let out a light laugh as he pulled the bus around another corner in Old Louisville. He had heard similar expressions of concern from guests on this drive many times before. “Yeah, I’m sure.” On a block filled with Victorian homes, one neighbor gave the bus what could only be described as the stink eye. The guide stopped right in front of a non-descript square building: Chef Edward Lee’s 610 Magnolia Restaurant, what very well may be the most unassuming fine-dining location on earth. Critically acclaimed 610 Magnolia is well known for their six-course pre-fixe meal served Wednesday through Saturday evenings. With intimate seating for only 50, the food served in this smart casual hideaway may be best described as Southern by way of Brooklyn by way of Korea. In fact, you could describe Chef Edward Lee, 610 Magnolia’s proprietor and Louisville’s own Food Network Iron Chef, in a very similar way. Lee has joked that he came to Kentucky to attend the Derby and then stayed to open a restaurant. These days, Lee has two dining spots. Milkwood, directly underneath Actor’s Theater on Main Street in Louisville, offers a more casual environment and the perfect subterranean escape from the bustle of downtown.

 

Wagner'sIf you want to eschew dinner for a hearty breakfast, then your itinerary should call for a pilgrimage to Wagner’s. The location, known as Wagner’s Pharmacy until they stopped issuing prescriptions in 2014, sits in the shadow of Churchill Downs and the building is every bit as modest as 610 Magnolia. While dining, you’ll share tables with thoroughbred jockeys, spot locals seeking out daily racing forms, and chat with horse trainers dropping in to pick up a mane comb or ointment. But don’t let all the activity distract you from the food. Esquire magazine honored Wagner’s in 2009 as “One Of The Best Places to Eat Breakfast in America.” Wagner’s, which opened way back in 1922, gained a bit of national attention when Chef Bobby Flay famously threw down (and lost) in a televised competition centered around omelets. Most of the staff just shrugs off the adulation, but Flay quickly learned what locals had known for decades – no one in the country makes better omelets than Wagner’s.

Woodford ReserveWith a growing number of amazing restaurants, it’s unlikely that you’ll go hungry in Louisville. Food options at bourbon distilleries throughout Kentucky, however, have always been a bit more limited. In fact, among the state’s major distilleries, less than half of them have lunch spots that allow guests to dine on premise. And, of those, only Woodford Reserve can boast a “Chef-In-Residence.” Glenn’s Creek Café, located inside the distillery’s visitors center, is the brain child of a chef who is leaving her mark all over the state: Ouita Michel.

 
Wallace StationChef Michel started turning heads when she opened the Holly Hill Inn in tiny Midway over 15 years ago. Today, she currently operates five restaurants and a bakery in locations that span three Kentucky counties. Each restaurant is tucked away behind a horse farm or down a narrow country road. Visitors at Wallace Station often enjoy lunch outside over a game of horseshoes usually unaware they are dining less than half a mile from the 1825 birthplace of Zerelda James, notorious matriarch to the James Gang. Windy Corner Market literally sits at a cross roads wedged on a small piece of land between large horse farms. In the spring, you’re likely to see young foals lounging beside the fence between bites of your Shady Lane Chicken Salad. All of Chef Michel’s restaurants are distinctly different from one another. And each one comes complete with a staff that could not be more warm and welcoming. And if that wasn’t enough, Ouita Michel was just named a 2016 James Beard Award Semi-finalist for Outstanding Restaurateur of the Year!

Sometimes the best meals in Kentucky are waiting for you just down a road that you might otherwise look past. To sample the very best dishes, visitors must to explore beyond the ubiquitous Hot Brown, the somewhat mysterious Burgoo, and Derby Pie. Plan a visit to see Kentucky’s legendary distilleries, horse farms and more. But make sure you schedule some time to slow down and eat. You’ll quickly discover for yourself why Zagat named Louisville one of America’s Next Hot Food Cities. And it has absolutely nothing to do with a certain famous Colonel.

Mint Julep Tours regularly visits a number of local, independently owned restaurants throughout the state as part of several of our tours. Mint Julep Tours can also create a custom itinerary for a Private Custom tour that includes a stop for lunch or dinner at nearly any Kentucky restaurant of your choosing. Hours and availability may vary depending on day or time of year. Call 502-583-1433 or visit us online for more information and to book a tour today!

Mint Julep Tours presents Derby Eve Distilled

Mint Julep Tours presents the Derby Eve Distilled Experience on May 6, 2016

An Exclusive Bourbon and Culinary Event at Buffalo Trace Distillery  

Louisville, KY – February 2, 2016 – Mint Julep Tours is pleased to announce the inaugural Derby Eve Distilled Exclusive Experience to be held on May 6, 2016, which is the night before the 2016 Kentucky Derby. This unique event includes an after-hours private distillery tour and tasting at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. After the tour, guests will enjoy signature cocktails, a bourbon inspired dinner, live bluegrass music, and cigars on the porch.

Mint Julep Tours owner and co-founder Sean Higgins explains what went into the planning process for this inaugural event: “We wanted to build on our existing Kentucky Derby Week Public Tours that showcase both bourbon distilleries and horse farms and create something unique that will be a memorable evening for those looking to have a more laid back, true Kentucky experience before the big race.”

Derby Eve DistilledThe cost is $289 per person, which includes transportation from Downtown Louisville, the private after-hours Buffalo Trace Distillery tour and tasting, bourbon inspired dinner, cigar or mini julep cup, and two signature cocktails (cash bar also available). There is also a lower ticket price of $239, which doesn’t include transportation. For those that go with the transportation included, the tour will depart from the Mint Julep Tours Gift Shop, located in the Galt House Hotel (Third Floor Rivue Tower), 140 N. Fourth St. in Downtown Louisville. The tour departs at 3:45pm on Friday, May 6, 2016 and returns at approximately 10:00pm.

Tickets and more information are available at www.mintjuleptours.com or by calling 502-583-1433.

Note: Adult beverages are allowed on the bus, however we ask that they be consumed in moderation. It is against the law for any passengers under the age of 21 to consume alcohol.

 

 

ABOUT MINT JULEP TOURS – Mint Julep Tours is a recognized leader in Bourbon and Kentucky adventures as well as the only dedicated tour company focu­sed on The Kentucky Bourbon Trail®.  Based in Louisville, Kentucky they offer Custom and Public Bourbon Distillery Tours as well as unique Exclusive Experiences, Horse Farm Tours, C­­ulinary Tours, and Louisville City Tours. As a truly one-of-a-kind tour company, Mint Julep Tours also offers transportation and event planning services with a focus on Special Events, Corporate Outings and Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties. Specialty horse and bourbon-related gifts are available at the Mint Julep Tours retail store inside the Galt House on the third floor of the Rivue Tower at 140 North 4th Street Suite 326, Louisville, KY 40202.

For more information, please visit us online at www.mintjuleptours.com or call our offices at 502-583-1433.

Getting to know The Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® and member distillery Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co.

Getting to know The Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® and member distillery Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co.

When most people come to Kentucky to start their Bourbon adventure, they first look to The Kentucky Bourbon Trail®. This celebrated network of whiskey distilleries located throughout the Bluegrass State is not only well-known, but it is also well traveled. In 2015 alone, visitors logged nearly 762,009 stops along The Kentucky Bourbon Trail® breaking tourism records in the process. But this one trail alone does not encompass Kentucky’s entire bourbon landscape.

Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour CrestToday, a new and different type of bourbon trail has emerged and is growing larger every year. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® was founded with the intent of highlighting smaller, artisanal distilleries which are often family owned and sometimes overlooked. When the number of these distilleries exploded over the last ten years, the need for a second trail became more and more critical. Many visitors quickly realized some of the advantages to visiting a smaller distillery. For one, many of the stops on this craft tour can brag about their ability to house every single element of the bourbon making operation, from distilling to warehousing, at one address. Guests also tend to find that at location after location, the enthusiasm of the staff is palpable and incredibly contagious. The commercial and critical success of their whiskey is a matter of personal pride. Plus, there seems to be endless excitement for potential growth of their product as their bourbon slowly ages and prepares for prime placement on bars and retail shelves. Additionally, given the minimal full time-staff, there is a good chance you’ll end up chatting at length with a co-owner or the master distiller during your tour. Those in similar in-demand roles at the major distilleries are often much harder to spot.

Most of these craft distilleries are producing a fraction of what the larger outfits are generating. Instead of distilling hundreds of barrels a day, most are producing just a handful of carefully crafted barrels each day. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® program launched with seven member distilleries in October of 2012, more than 13 years after the establishment of its older, bigger brother. And with the 2015 additions of Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. in Louisville and Hartfield & Co. in Bourbon County, the trail now boasts more destinations (10) than the primary trail (9). In 2015 the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® saw 133,864 visits, which was a 39 percent increase over the previous year.
Kentucky Peerless DistilleryThe Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company is located smack dab in the heart of downtown Louisville. You can find them directly off 10th Street and wedged just between the Ohio River, an interstate overpass, and the Portland neighborhood. The company purchased what was once the city’s largest tobacco warehouse and meticulously rebuilt it into a beautiful home. The distillery’s unofficial motto could be “what’s old is new again” as the facility is full of both history and modern-day innovations. Owners Corky Taylor and Carson Taylor claim a rich bourbon history which places the father-son team as the 4th and 5th decedents of a 19th century bourbon owner. Even the Peerless Whiskey name dates back to the 1890s. But everything inside is state-of-the art, including a warehouse that will hold 1,830 barrels of bourbon and rye when full and a beautiful 26-foot tall column still from Vendome Copper & Brass Works.

Peerless has made remarkable strides for a company who filled their first barrel as recently as March of last year. The visitor center followed shortly and opened in June 2015. Even with their small size, the company is managing to run batches that fill 10-12 barrels a day. It will still be a few years before consumers will be able to taste the fruits of their labor, as is the case with some of the distilleries on The Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour®. The bourbon is currently all blissfully sleeping in a beautiful attached warehouse. However, we could be sampling the Peerless Rye, which needs less time to age, as soon as Derby Day 2017.

Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. Bourbon BarrelIn the meantime, the company’s making, selling and sampling Lucky Moonshine which is available in seven different flavors and packaged in milk bottle style containers. The tour at Peerless costs $12 and includes a tasting and a guide who is loaded with answers. Everything about the facility is impressive and beautiful. As a bonus, the gift shop is loaded with quality Peerless and Lucky gear galore. No reservations are needed, but calling first is suggested. Tours are offered between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM Wednesdays through Saturdays.

Next week, we continue our in depth look at traveling The Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® along with some details about the other new distillery added to the tour in 2015: Hartfield & Co. in downtown Paris, Kentucky at the very heart of Bourbon County!

Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co is located at 120 N 10th St, Louisville, KY 40202. Mint Julep Tours is an official sponsor of both The Kentucky Bourbon Trail and The Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour®. Stops at almost any of the 10 distilleries on the craft tour can be included on a personalized, custom tour with Mint Julep Tours. Hours vary at many of the locations and availability may sometimes be limited. Call 502-583-1433 or e-mail info@MintJulepTours.com to book a tour today!