Where to Drink Right Now in “Bourbon City”: Louisville, Kentucky

At Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, guests can tour the commercial distillery, taste signature whiskies and stop at the On3 cocktail bar. Photo courtesy of Heaven Hill Brands

On historic blocks in downtown Louisville, Whiskey Row along West Main Street is a modern drinkers’ paradise. Today, not just bourbon distilling but bourbon education is the thing: many distilleries now refer to themselves as “campuses” and tasting-room experiences often approach the level of masterclasses. Bourbon nerds abound.

The crop of downtown distillery tasting rooms means you don’t even have to leave Louisville to experience the range of Kentucky bourbon. Another bonus: these tasting rooms have great gift shops with brand swag, bourbon accessories and, of course, rare bottlings (more secret-stash stores are below, too). You can walk all of Whiskey Row in about 30 minutes, or hop on a Bird or Lime rental scooter to speed between stops — no impaired scooting, please!

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Castaway Old Fashioned

Photo courtesy of The Mallard Lounge

Recipe courtesy of Lina Khandaker, Mallard Lounge at Fairmont Chateau Whistler.

1.5 oz Woodford Reserve bourbon

0.5 oz Taylor Fladgate 20-year-old Tawny Port

0.25 oz maple syrup

4 dashes Angostura bitters

Garnish: Amarena cherry and orange zest

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Behind Blue Eyes

Behind Blue Eyes pairs well with Asian pork dishes. Photo courtesy of Laowei

Recipe courtesy of Alex Black, managing partner, Laowai.

Pair with: Asian-flavoured pork dishes.

• 2 oz Lapsang Bourbon (see recipe below)

• 1 oz Salted Asian Pear Syrup (see recipe below)

• 4 drops Apothecary Mystic Caravan Bitters 

• Absinthe mist 

• Garnish: dehydrated pear slice, lapsang tea smoke

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Brown Derby

Brown Derby cocktail. Getty images photo

This Prohibition-era classic, updated by Robyn Gray, was named for the hat-shaped Los Angeles diner and originally called a De Rigueur cocktail.

• 2 oz Bakers 7yr Bourbon

• 1 oz grapefruit juice

• 0.75 oz honey syrup (see note)

• 2 tsp lime juice

• Garnish: Grapefruit slice.

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Bourbon and bubbles

Bourbon and Bubbles cocktail by Adam Domet. Photo courtesy of Pourhouse

Recipe by Adam Domet, bar manager, Pourhouse

• 1 oz Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon

• 0.5 oz Gonzales Byass Oloroso sherry

• 0.75 oz fresh lemon juice

• 2 tsp simple syrup (1:1)

• 5 raspberries

• 1 oz sparkling wine

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Morning Ritual

Jeff Savage’s Morning Ritual. Tara Rafiq photo

Recipe by Jeff Savage, Head Bartender of Botanist Bar at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, for the Punch Brunch 2020. 

The Punch Brunch, held at Botanist at the Fairmont Pacific Rim on January 26, was the official launch for the inaugural Vancouver Cocktail Week presented by The Alchemist magazine, which will be held March 7 to 10, 2021. For more cocktail recipes from the brunch, see: The Rye of the Tiger, Featherweight Punch Royale, A Bit Curious and Flapjack Punch.

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La Chispa

Bodega on Main’s La Chispa cocktail. Origami Social photo

• 1.5 oz Old Forester Bourbon
• 0.75 oz Pacharán
• 0.3 oz Mia Amata Amaro
• 0.3 oz Lustau East India Solera
• 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
• Ardbeg Mist
• Orange Oils, Star Anise

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Coconut Milk Punch

Adam Domet’s Coconut Milk Punch. Chris Giannakos photo

The tropical vibes of this updated classic come from Adam Domet of Pourhouse.

• 1.5 oz coconut milk
• 1 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon
• 1 oz Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Rum
• 2 tsp simple syrup (see note)
• 1 drop vanilla extract 

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Hail Mary’s photo

A divine take on one of the seven deadly sins at Hail Mary’s.

• 2 oz bourbon
• 0.75 oz simple syrup
• Splash of peach schnapps
• 2 oz fresh lime juice
• 1 egg white
• Dash of Angostura bitters

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