Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Bourbon Trail

Jose, Jason, and Aaron sampling bourbon at Jim Beam
Jim Beam

Kristin and Jose

Statue of the late Booker Noe (1929-2004), master distiller at Jim Beam

Sampling at Woodford Reserve distillery

Woodford Reserve distillery

Jason and Jose sampling Bourbon at Buffalo Trace distillery

Derby weekend was amazing. I had such a phenomenal time. Of course, the best part was catching up and hanging out with my great friends from Ann Arbor, all of whom I met during my short stay there as a graduate student. Even though I hadn’t seen a few of them for nearly three years, it was as if we hadn’t skipped a beat. And a few others who I met for the first time welcomed me with open arms, just as Jose and crew had done one of my first nights in Ann Arbor nearly four years ago.

I made the long trek to Ann Arbor on Wednesday morning, and met up with my friends Jose and Aaron, and my new friend, Jason, when I arrived that afternoon. We then left Ann Arbor at ~6pm. Destination: Louisville. It was me and the boys. Fittingly, we called ourselves the “fun car” for the duration of the trip. We made a stop at Wendy’s for dinner, and then Dairy Queen for dessert. One of my favorite parts was when Aaron enjoyed a Frosty with dinner, and then a DQ Blizzard a half-hour later for dessert. Now that’s impressive eating.

We arrived in Louisville at ~11pm, where we were greeted by the lovely Mr. and Mrs. Koetters, who graciously hosted us during our time in Louisville. More stories about these amazing people in later Derby installments.

The next day, after one of Mrs. Koetter’s amazing home cooked breakfasts, we headed out for our first of three stops on the Bourbon Trail. Now, I must admit, when my friends first mentioned the Bourbon Trail, I thought they were referring to a hiking trail. While I’m obviously not much of a Bourbon drinker, I definitely enjoyed learning more about the strong tradition of Bourbon making in Kentucky, and taking in the beautiful Kentucky landscape.

Our first stop was Jim Beam, which was probably our favorite stop of the day. We enjoyed a quick video that overviewed the 200-year family legacy of Bourbon making and then sampled two of their Bourbon offerings on a beautiful porch overlooking the bluegrass hills. Next, we met up with the rest of our group at Woodford Reserve, which was a located on a breathtaking estate, but was a bit more pretentious than our tastes. Our final stop of the day was Buffalo Trace, where we enjoyed a lengthy tour of the distillery and more samples. Interestingly, Buffalo Trace was one of four distilleries that was permitted to operate during Prohibtion in order to produce Bourbon for medical purposes.

That evening, back at the Koetter’s house, we had a fabulous barbeque dinner with beef tenderloin, green beans, the most amazing mashed potatoes I’ve ever tasted, and an incredibly delectable coconut/pineapple cake with thick vanilla frosting. Mr. Koetter had the back porch bar all set up upon our return, from which we enjoyed cocktails from Mrs. Koetter’s extensive mint julep glass collection (her oldest glass dates back from the 1940’s). It was an incredible night, and it was just the beginning of Derby weekend….

1 comment:

kelsey said...

great post! that sounds like the most awesome trip so far!! cant wait tto read the rest