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Writer Brandon Presser of Out Magazine says, “The friendliness of the Midwest feels a million miles away from Southern hospitality on our mental map of the U.S., but the Ohio River acts as a zipper pulling together two seemingly disparate swatches of cultural fabric. As strange bedfellows, the regions temper each other’s known clichés: the grittiness of the Rust Belt is soothed by Kentucky bluegrass; its red-state ranches are cooled by liberal blues. And the drive from Indianapolis to Cincinnati through Louisville and Lexington provides compelling variations of the “Midsouth” theme….

Worthy of the reverence ascribed to Napa and Sonoma, the valleys between Louisville and Lexington are the heartland of America’s bourbon country. Park your car and let Mint Julep Tours take you on a chauffeured tasting of some of the region’s top tipples. Get some face time with the mom-and-daughter owners of Jeptha Creed — they’re about to release their first batch of straight bourbon (aged two years). And don’t miss the VIP speakeasy treatment at whisky powerhouse Stitzel-Weller Distillery. The tour will even throw in a brewery stop — try lunch and an IPA pairing at Monnik Beer Company. “