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Step into the heart of bourbon country and discover Lexington, Kentucky, now officially recognized as a Gateway to the renowned Kentucky Bourbon Trail®. With its rich heritage in bourbon production and vibrant tourism scene, Lexington offers an unforgettable experience for bourbon enthusiasts. Join us as we delve into the bourbon culture of Lexington, exploring distilleries, attractions, and the allure of the Bluegrass region.

Lexington’s Bourbon Legacy

Dating back to its founding in 1775, Lexington has been intertwined with the art of bourbon-making. Today, it stands as a proud gateway to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, offering visitors a taste of its storied past and innovative present in the bourbon industry.

Dating back to the late 18th century, Lexington’s fertile soil and pristine limestone water became the bedrock for bourbon production. Distilleries flourished, and iconic brands like Woodford Reserve and Buffalo Trace emerged, each carrying with them the essence of Lexington’s bourbon heritage. The region’s climate, with its hot summers and cold winters, facilitates the aging process, imparting unique flavors and complexities to the whiskey that is revered worldwide.

Beyond the distilleries themselves, Lexington’s bourbon legacy permeates every aspect of its culture. There are countless bourbon bars and restaurants offering curated selections and inventive cocktails. As you’ll find out, bourbon is more than a drink here—it’s a way of life. Moreover, the bourbon industry fuels economic growth, tourism, and a sense of pride among Lexingtonians, who are fiercely protective of their heritage while welcoming newcomers to experience the warmth and hospitality for which the region is known. In Lexington, bourbon isn’t just a beverage; it’s a living legacy that binds past, present, and future generations in a shared appreciation for craftsmanship and camaraderie.


Best Time to Visit Lexington & The Kentucky Bourbon Trail® 

Anytime is a good time to indulge in Lexington’s bourbon offerings. However, spring and fall bring mild weather and special events, making them ideal seasons for bourbon enthusiasts to explore the city’s distilleries and attractions. Travelers plan their trips to Lexington to align with events such as the Spring/Fall Meet, Bourbon Chase, Bourbon Country Burn and Railbird Music Festival.


Must-Visit Distilleries in Lexington

  • RD1 Spirits
  • Fresh Bourbon
  • James E. Pepper
  • Castle & Key (Versailles)
  • Lawrenceburg Bourbon Company (Lawrenceburg)
  • Bluegrass Distillers (Midway)


We’d recommend a Full Day Bourbon Tour that Incorporates Lexington, Louisville and other parts of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®!

Our Experience Coordinators know the lay of the land and how to organize an itinerary that allows you to maximize your time and enjoyment on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®. For a taste of Lexington to Louisville, and the bourbon scene that stretches between the two cities, we’d recommend the following bourbon tour itinerary:


Lawrenceburg Bourbon Co (Lawrenceburg) | Four Roses (Lawrenceburg) | Fresh Bourbon (Louisville)


More Distilleries To Include in a Multi-Day Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Tour

  • Alltech’s Town Branch Distillery (Lexington)
  • Wild Turkey Distillery (Lawrenceburg)
  • Wilderness Trail (Danville)
  • Woodford Reserve Distillery (Versailles)
  • RD1 Spirits (Louisville)
  • James E. Pepper (Lexington)
  • Castle & Key (Versailles)
  • Bluegrass Distillers (Midway)



Bourbon Experiences in Lexington

Distillery Tours: Immerse yourself in the art of bourbon-making with guided tours at Lexington’s renowned distilleries.

Tastings: Sample a diverse selection of bourbons, from classics to craft creations, at distilleries and bourbon bars throughout the city.

Bourbon Trail Craft Tour®: Explore smaller distilleries in Lexington and nearby areas, discovering unique flavors and techniques.

Mixology Experiences: With a mixology experience, visitors will be fully immersed in the bourbon tasting and cocktail crafting experience, during which they will explore the distillery hosting the experience in three stages: a sensory experience, a mixology class, and a signature cocktail.

Dining and Cocktails: Indulge in locally-inspired cuisine and expertly crafted bourbon cocktails at Lexington’s top restaurants and bars, including 21c Museum Hotel, Lockbox, and The Rackhouse Tavern.

four roses bourbon flight tasting with chocolate


Work with a Professional Tour Company To Plan Your Visit to Lexington

Experience the best of Lexington’s bourbon and horse country with Mint Julep Experiences, where we specialize in crafting seamless itineraries tailored to your preferences. Say goodbye to the hassle of planning and let us take care of the details, from exclusive distillery tours at renowned producers like Woodford Reserve to off-the-beaten-path discoveries on the Bourbon Trail Craft Tour®. We understand the pain points travelers face—navigating unfamiliar terrain, coordinating logistics, and ensuring an authentic experience—and we’re here to alleviate them all.

Our expert guides will lead you on immersive journeys into the heart of bourbon-making, where you’ll sample a diverse selection of spirits and uncover the secrets of craft production. After indulging in locally-inspired cuisine at Lexington’s top restaurants, we’ll whisk you away to legendary horse farms, where you can meet Thoroughbreds and explore Kentucky’s scenic countryside. With Mint Julep Experiences, your adventure in Lexington is not just a tour—it’s a personalized escape designed to exceed your expectations and leave you with lasting memories of Kentucky’s bourbon and horse country.



Lexington’s Attractions Beyond Bourbon

While bourbon is undoubtedly a highlight, Lexington offers a diverse array of attractions for visitors to enjoy.

lexington horse country tours

Lexington’s Horse Country

From Lexington horse farm tours in Kentucky’s iconic Horse Country to world-class racing at Keeneland, there’s something for everyone to experience in this vibrant city. In Lexington’s famed horse country, equestrian enthusiasts are enveloped in a world of unparalleled beauty and equestrian heritage. Here, sprawling pastures dotted with elegant thoroughbreds paint a picturesque backdrop for an unforgettable experience. Beyond the racetracks and equine events, travelers immerse themselves in the captivating allure of touring horse farms. Guided tours offer a glimpse into the meticulous care and training that goes into nurturing these magnificent creatures, while also delving into the rich history of the Bluegrass region’s horse breeding legacy. Amidst the rolling hills and white-fenced estates, visitors forge a deeper connection with the majestic spirit of the horse, making each farm tour a truly enchanting adventure in Lexington’s horse country.

Jocket at United Stats Horse Race

Keenland Races

A day at Keeneland offers an electrifying blend of exhilarating horse racing, steeped in a century-old heritage of elegance and athleticism. The thrill of witnessing majestic thoroughbreds thunder down the track is an unparalleled spectacle, captivating both seasoned racing enthusiasts and novices alike. However, it’s not just the races that beckon travelers; it’s the seamless fusion of tradition and hospitality that makes Keeneland a must-visit destination.

Pairing a day at the races with a tour along the famed Kentucky Bourbon Trail is a match made in heaven, offering a comprehensive immersion into the essence of Kentucky’s soul. Here, travelers can delve into the artistry and craftsmanship behind the world’s finest bourbons, exploring historic distilleries nestled amidst picturesque landscapes. The allure lies not only in savoring the smooth, amber nectar but also in the stories woven into every sip, reflecting generations of passion and dedication. Together, Keeneland Horse Races and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail offer a quintessential Kentucky experience, enticing travelers to embark on an unforgettable journey through the heartland of America’s horse racing and bourbon culture.


Golfing Adventures in the Heart of Bourbon Country

In Lexington, golfing enthusiasts are treated to an enticing blend of scenic courses and southern hospitality. With lush green fairways set against the backdrop of Kentucky’s rolling hills, golfers can indulge in a serene and challenging experience. However, what truly sets Lexington apart is its unique pairing of golf with bourbon distillery tours. Travelers flock to this region not only for the pristine golfing opportunities but also for the chance to explore Kentucky’s rich bourbon heritage. After a round on the greens, they embark on immersive distillery tours, discovering the intricate process of bourbon making and sampling exquisite spirits. This fusion of outdoor recreation and cultural exploration creates an unforgettable journey, where the joys of golfing are complemented by the flavors of Kentucky’s finest bourbons.


Embracing Lexington’s Bourbon Culture

As an Official Gateway to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, Lexington welcomes visitors to explore its rich bourbon heritage and thriving tourism offerings. Lexington invites bourbon enthusiasts and those new to the scene from around the world to indulge in its unique bourbon culture.

private group bourbon tasting



How Lexington’s Bourbon Scene Differs from Louisville’s or Bardstown

While all three cities—Lexington, Louisville, and Bardstown—share a deep connection to bourbon, each offers a distinct experience shaped by its unique history, geography, and culture.

Hoofbeats and Highballs: Exploring Lexington’s Unique Bourbon Heritage

Lexington’s bourbon scene is characterized by its close ties to the horse industry and its role as a cultural hub in central Kentucky. The city’s bourbon legacy is intertwined with its genteel Southern charm, offering visitors a blend of historic distilleries, upscale bourbon bars, and horse country hospitality. Lexington’s proximity to major bourbon distilleries like Woodford Reserve and Buffalo Trace lends an authenticity to its bourbon experience, with opportunities for behind-the-scenes tours and tastings in picturesque settings.

woodford reserve bourbon tasting


Sip and Savor in the Heart of Louisville: Exploring the Urban Bourbon Trail®

Louisville, on the other hand, boasts a vibrant urban bourbon scene, fueled by its status as the largest city in Kentucky and its strategic location along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®. Here, visitors can explore the Urban Bourbon Trail®, which features a diverse array of bourbon-centric attractions, including distilleries, bars, restaurants, and museums. Louisville’s bourbon scene reflects its cosmopolitan vibe, with trendy bourbon bars, innovative cocktail culture, and culinary experiences that showcase bourbon as a versatile ingredient in both traditional and contemporary cuisine.


urban bourbon trail passport


Toast to Tradition: Exploring Bardstown’s Bourbon Legacy and Small-Town Charm

Meanwhile, Bardstown, often referred to as the “Bourbon Capital of the World”, offers a more intimate and immersive bourbon experience steeped in small-town charm and Southern hospitality. As the home to several historic distilleries, including Heaven Hill and Willett, Bardstown embraces its bourbon heritage with pride, offering visitors a glimpse into the industry’s rich history through distillery tours, tastings, and bourbon-themed events. The town’s picturesque Main Street is lined with bourbon-centric shops, restaurants, and historic landmarks, creating a nostalgic ambiance that transports visitors back in time to the heyday of Kentucky bourbon.



For the ultimate Bardstown bourbon experience, you may want to consider the 2-Day Bardstown Bourbon Collection Experience. This exclusive bourbon experience is only offered during select dates in June, July and August. Guests on this tour will delve behind the scenes with an all-access pass that unlocks the secrets of seven distinguished Kentucky distilleries, including the exclusive opportunity to purchase each of the highly sought-after Bardstown Collection bottles .



Tailor Your Bourbon Tour Itinerary in Lexington with Mint Julep Experience

Experience the essence of bourbon country in Lexington, where tradition meets innovation and every sip tells a story. As an Official Gateway to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, Lexington invites you to savor the flavors, explore the distilleries, and immerse yourself in the timeless allure of bourbon. Plan your visit today and discover why Lexington is a destination unlike any other for bourbon aficionados. Cheers to bourbon, to Lexington, and to unforgettable experiences along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®.

Start Planning Today!