Savoring Bourbon, and Its Storied History, in Northern Kentucky
Bourbon is a complex, ancient spirit with a fascinating history. It is an excellent complement to food and great with its traditional Kentucky friends, of course. This chapter shares the region’s appreciation for this delicious spirit.
The Bourbon Road is an ongoing series profiling the region’s favorite foods. Join us for a walking tour of the region’s rich food and drink history with food writers and other experts.
We all know Bourbon is special. It contains the essential taste characteristics of all distilleries, from the most ancient to the most modern. It is the essence of Kentucky bourbon.
Kentucky’s bourbon tradition dates much farther back than the U.S., and much farther than America; it has roots much higher in time and much more ancient than bourbon.
Kentucky is full of spirits, and this chapter is no exception. Kentucky has more than 8,000 distilleries, many of them small and family owned. All of them produce some form of bourbon.
Here are just a few of our favorites.
“We drink bourbon to go with our food,” say Kentucky Bourbon Trail hostess, Lillian Gagnon. Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Lillian, is one of our regular guides and culinary experts. She has been hosting guests on the road for nearly 20 years, and has hosted nearly 20,000 guests, including countless celebrities, on tours.
Her tours include such local favorites as the Kentucky Baking Company, the Bluegrass Chicken, the Sweet Pea’s House, and the Kentucky Derby Museum.
Lillian’s latest endeavor is the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, where she welcomes you to tour every distillery in this region. Here are just a few of these distilleries:
Henderson Farms, a company started by local legend John Henderson, was founded in 1894. Henderson had traveled the country looking for land and decided to start a distillery. Henderson’s family bought 3.5 acres of land and built the first Henderson plant, where they distilled their original bourbon.
Today, Henderson Farms, of which Henderson is still the sole founder, has grown to become one of the oldest distilleries in the United States, having produced more than