2016 is coming to an end, and if you have a few extra vacation days, now is the chance to use them! Better yet, why not use those vacation days to sip some delicious whiskey under a new city skyline? Scotland or Ireland may not be in the books, but if you live in America, there are plenty of great cities right here in our fair country. Pack your bag, book your plane ticket, and head to one of these cities for the weekend and sip some of the best spirits this country has to offer! Be sure to send us a postcard!
1. Louisville, Kentucky
Why not head to the place that started it all? Kentucky bourbon is some of the best in the world, so get a taste of it first hand, right from the source. Louisville, Kentucky, is the start of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Start your weekend off at the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience. This immersive experience is located right in the heart of whiskey row in the downtown core. This tour goes deep into the history of the Bulleit brand. In the afternoon, swing by the Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse to see the famous distillery first-hand. Be sure to stop by the tasting room, where you can create a custom labeled bottle of Jim Beam! After your long day, check out Bourbons Bistro. It’s the perfect place to grab a bite and sip on one of their 130 different types of bourbon. Plus, they’ve got a menu jam-packed with mouth-watering Southern fare. If you want the full Louisville experience, book your stay at the East Louisville Marriott. This Marriott location is bourbon themed – right down to the historic casks that decorate the rooms!
2. Nashville, Tennessee
You can’t skip over Nashville when thinking of whiskey. The historically fun Tennessee isn’t just home to a host of honky tonks and all the barbecue you could ever eat — it’s also home to some of the coolest distilleries in the country. Book a hotel in downtown Nashville (as close to music row as possible will make your late-night commute that much easier!). 75 miles southeast of the city is the Jack Daniels distillery. It’s one of the oldest in the country — the first cask was made in 1866. Check out the spring water cave where they source their water and take a hike through the nine acres of rolling hills.
If your wallet is feeling extra padded, check out the Oak Bar. Located in the historic Hermitage Hotel, the bar offers some of the oldest whiskeys you can find. Do note, one ounce will cost you a pretty penny, but it’s definitely worth it for the ultra-lux bar and the exclusive whiskey list. Looking for something a little down-market? Check out No. 308 in East Nashville. The place is a bit of a hole-in-the-wall, but it’s frequented by some of the city’s top shelves (so you know it’s good!). The bartenders home-make all of their own syrups and sodas and turn them into incredibly innovative, jaw-droppingly delicious cocktails (like coffee soda mixed with bourbon or the “Woody Allen’ — bourbon mixed with walnuts and cherry.)
3. Chicago, Illinois
Most people may associate whiskey with the South, but the Northern USA has just as much credibility when it comes to spirits as its Southern counterpart. Chicago was the hub during the prohibition era, so it quickly became one of the best places to get a delicious glass of rye when it wasn’t even legal. When prohibition ended, Chicago remained one of the top places to have sipped a spirit. It was also the home to Al Capone, an avid whiskey connoisseur, and spirit bootlegger, who knew how to get just what he wanted!
Start your weekend off at the KOVAL distillery. KOVAL was the first distillery to open after prohibition and offers everything whiskey-related, from classes to tours to tastings. All their whiskeys are completely kosher and made using completely local and organic ingredients. They also offer classes on cocktail making, so sign up and bring home your newfound bar skills to impress your friends.
Chicago is home to many small craft distilleries, so plan your trip around hitting a handful. Looking for some real-deal moonshine? Moonshine may not be appealing, after all, it is traditionally distilled in a bathtub, but Quincy Street really knows how to elevate the underground spirit. They make their moonshine with corn mash and honey so it’s more along the lines of a stronger whiskey than a cringe-worthy ‘shine.
In between tours, be sure to hit up XOCO. The counter-service style restraint offers some of the most mouth-watering Mexican North of the border.
After your day of tours, head to Delilah’s. This bar isn’t for the faint of heart — loud punk music and a divey setting makes it great for a no-bars-held guys’ night out. The bar also offers over 600 different types of whiskey, including a special Delilah’s distilled version.
For a more upscale night out, hit the Berkshire Room in River North. Order one of their 200 different types of whiskeys, one of their hand-crafted cocktails, or familiarize yourself with the secret reserve. To say goodbye to Chicago, head to Drumbar, located on the 18th floor of the Raffaello hotel. It’s a gorgeous patio, complete with a starry sky and in-table fireplaces.Can’t make it out of your city? Host your own whiskey night right in your own home. All you need for the perfect guys’ night in is right here on SIPDark.com. From flight glasses to simple rocks glass from a bartender’s dream cocktail making kit, there’s no shortage of things to make the perfect whiskey night. We’ll cheers to that!