June 14 is National Bourbon Day, celebrating the classic drink originally from Kentucky. Bourbon’s toasted oak and vanilla caramel flavors continue to win global affection, growing in popularity year after year. As the days are getting hotter and the sun is setting later, we again have an excuse to indulge in America’s only native spirit. In celebration of this delicious whiskey, here are four noteworthy Bourbon distilleries around the country you can visit for National Bourbon Day.
St. George Spirits in Alameda, California
Founded 30 years ago as a brandy distillery, St. George Spirits has since expanded substantially and is now producing a bourbon unlike any in its class. Deemed a “super bourbon,” this blended whiskey is truly greater than the sum of its parts. While this whiskey is not distilled in-house, St. George has mastered the art of bourbon blending and has created a one-of-a-kind drink.
Take a trip to this former airplane hangar to explore St. George’s huge collection of aging barrels of bourbon and experience a free, behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to stand out in the crowd of roasted, smoky spirits.
Tuthilltown Spirits in Gardiner, New York
As one of the only distilleries in the state of New York, Tuthilltown Spirits is relatively new to bourbon making. Even so, the introduction of their Hudson Baby Bourbon, the first legal pot-distilled whiskey made in New York since Prohibition, let the spirits community of America know that this distillery means business.
Made entirely from New York-grown corn and aged in small American Oak barrels, the Baby Bourbon has a distinguishable sweet and smooth taste, with lurking hints of vanilla and caramel.
Tuthilltown Spirits offers two types of tours depending on the time of the year. In the fall, when harvest season is at its peak, Tuthilltown Spirits leads an interactive tour in the nearby rye and corn fields. While there, guests can experience a day in the life of a distiller and learn what it takes to harvest natural grains from the field. During the rest of the year, guests can explore this 220 year-old gristmill, see how their labels are made, and bear witness to the production processes behind this popular northeastern-made bourbon.
Woodford Reserve in Versailles, Kentucky
One of the smallest and most historic distilleries in the nation is nestled in the beautiful countryside of Kentucky. Woodford Reserve is complete with surrounding horse farms, classic rolling hills, and limestone walls that outline each and every road. This National Historic Landmark will not disappoint.
Guests have the choice between a tour that focuses on the bourbon making process taking place within the distillery, or on the historic landmarks scattered throughout the property. Either way, both options end with a sampling of the beloved brown bourbon. For the more passionate visitors in the group, Woodford Reserve also offers the unique opportunity to purchase personalized micro-batches of bourbon to be bottled and sent home once mature.
Garrison Brothers Distillery in Hye, Texas
Home to the first legal whiskey distillery in Texas, the Garrison Brothers Distillery makes a bourbon that truly reflects the Southern spirit. This bold, proud, and authentic whiskey is Texas born from Texas corn.
Garrison Brothers distillery offers a tour that leads guests through the property and explains the “corn to cork” process behind the production of each bottle of bourbon. Both cooks and distillers explain in detail what it takes to master the art of brewing bourbon and of course, the tour ends with a showcase of the on-site barrel barn, complemented with samples of the product.
Whether you prefer it neat or on the rocks, the tastiest whiskey comes straight from the source. But even if you cannot make it to a distillery to drink it fresh from the barrel, be sure to at least pour yourself a tall glass of this sweetened amber alcohol on June 14th to celebrate National Bourbon Day.
While you’re at it, make it a double!
For more culinary travel destinations, check out:
- Where to Go Drinking for Mint Julep Day
- A Food Critic’s Favorite New York Neighborhood Restaurants
- Four Can’t-Miss Southern Food Festivals
By Benjamin Louis Gluck for PeterGreenberg.com