Come Find Bourbon: Kentucky’s Authentic Bourbon Road Trip

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Experience Covington, Frankfort & Bardstown for the ultimate Kentucky bourbon road trip.

Love bourbon but have limited vacation time? Pack a whole lot of bourbon-related fun into a three-night road trip to Covington, Frankfort, and Bardstown, Kentucky.

With easy drive routes and short distances between stops, these three cities form an award-winning road trip that gets you out and about more often than behind the wheel—all while keeping the bourbon experiences real.

On Kentucky’s authentic bourbon road trip you can see and do a heck of a lot on less than one tank of gas!

From spectacular one-of-a-kind opportunities to delicious cocktails, gritty behind-the-scenes tours to elegant tastings, outdoor adventures to off-the-beaten-path treasures, educational experiences to festive good times, you’ll find a full range of authentic bourbon experiences in all three of our communities where bourbon is produced, enjoyed, and part of the culture. If your goal is to visit as many distilleries as possible, we’ve got you covered: From behemoth to artisan, historic to new, we offer ready access to 24 distilleries.

Loaded with authentic bourbon experiences, Covington, Frankfort, and Bardstown are the best answers to the common question of where to stay when exploring Kentucky Bourbon Country. This itinerary makes planning your road trip easy.

Come Find Bourbon 3-Night Itinerary

Kentucky’s authentic bourbon road trip is flexible depending on how you plan to arrive. Flying into Kentucky’s CVG airport or driving down from points north or east? Come to Covington first. Driving from points south or west? Make Bardstown your first stop. Either way, visit Frankfort on Day 2 then roll into the remaining city on Day 3.                                 

Come To Covington

Day 1 or 3: Covington

At the edge of Bourbon Country on the Ohio River, Northern Kentucky’s Covington celebrates bourbon culture past and present with its unique The B-Line tour. “Find Your Sipping Point” and download the free Line Guide.

Make Hotel Covington your bourbon base camp. This modern boutique hotel, located downtown in the former Coppin’s Department Store (circa 1910), is an exceptional ambassador of local style and culture. Check-in officially starts at 3 p.m., but you can stash your bags and grab a coffee at your convenience.

Noon – Tour Boone County Distilling Co. in Independence. With the tagline, “Made by Ghosts,” it honors the original whiskey makers.

1:30 p.m. – Enjoy lunch at Tousey House Tavern in historic Burlington, celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2022. Dig into Kentucky favorites like fried chicken, hot brown, or goetta. The bar list categorizes spirits by region (e.g., Bardstown, Frankfort, etc.) plus has an impressive vintage bourbon selection.     

3 p.m. – Tour New Riff Distilling in Newport, where the aim is to take spirit-making traditions in a new direction without compromising quality and craft.

Stop at The Party Source in Newport for Kentucky Bourbon Country souvenirs including bottles of bourbon, “America’s Native Spirit.”

4 p.m. – Relax at Hotel Covington or explore some local favorite hotspots

6 p.m. –Enjoy dinner in Newport at Purple Poulet where Kentucky and Creole cuisines fuse into mouthwatering creations and bourbon is a steady ingredient in the kitchen as well as at the bar. Then head to Newport’s Historic East Row District for cocktails at Prohibition Bourbon Bar, home to the world’s largest collection of bourbons and rye whiskies—over 2,000 and counting! Or head to Covington’s MainStrasse Village for dinner at Bouquet Restaurant, an upscale farm-to-table bistro where the menu showcases the season’s best products. Then stroll around the Village for cocktails at Bourbon Haus 1841, which specializes in bourbon flights; Wiseguy Lounge, a speakeasy-inspired bar “hidden” above a Goodfellas Pizza; and/or Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar, where staff members serve bourbon insights alongside beverages.

10 p.m. – Crave a nightcap? Sip a handcrafted cocktail at The Globe Covington, a mod bar with a funky past.

11 p.m. – Retreat to Hotel Covington and drift into sweet dreams of Kentucky Bourbon.

9 a.m. – Good morning! Enjoy breakfast at Coppin’s Restaurant & Bar with local favorites like Carabello Coffee and goetta eggs benedict.

10 a.m.  – Tour Neeley Family Distillery in Sparta. The family-run craft distillery boasts 11 generations of distilling experience.

Cheers! You’ve collected at least six stamps along The B-Line. Remember to upload a photo of yourself with your completed guide to collect your free swag.

11 a.m. – Keep exploring Kentucky Bourbon County and drive to Frankfort. Or, if Covington was your last stop on your Come Find Bourbon adventure, head home and start planning a return visit to Covington, Frankfort and Bardstown.

There are more reasons to Come to Covington—including seasonal events like the new Goettafest and exploring Maysville, home of The Old Pogue Distillery and Kentucky Gateway Museum Center.

Find Frankfort

Day 2: Frankfort                           

Kentucky’s capital city sits on the shores of the Kentucky River between Covington and Bardstown and also midway between Lexington and Louisville. With its natural beauty, social charm, and spirited history, we like to say that Frankfort is “Kentucky Distilled.” 

Settle into Home2 Suites by Hilton Frankfort, the city’s newest hotel off I-64 and near key points of interest. Or take your pick among our abundant accommodation options including hotels, campgrounds, and short-term rentals.

Noon – Enjoy lunch at Rick’s White Light Diner, a Cajun/Creole eatery featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”; Buddy’s Pizza, Frankfort’s only brick-oven pizzeria; or Goodwood Brewing where the menu features craft beer and scratch-made dishes.

1 p.m. – Tour Buffalo Trace Distillery, the nation’s longest-running and most award-winning distillery, which produces Buffalo Trace, E.H. Taylor, Blanton’s, Eagle Rare, Van Winkle, among other brands. Several different tours are offered, each about an hour long with a tasting. 

2:30 p.m. – Tour Three Boys Farm Distillery, a craft distillery on a 122-acre farm, where bourbons and whiskies are handcrafted inside a barn. At this artisan distillery it’s possible to taste bourbon straight from the barrel and even buy a bottle to fill yourself.

3:45 p.m. – Love to shop? Stroll historic downtown Frankfort and discover bourbon’s influence on local businesses. Don’t miss: Kentucky Gentleman Cigars, which produces hand-rolled cigars using bourbon barrel-aged premium tobaccos from around the world; Poor Richard’s Books, an independent bookseller that has endured for more than 30 years and specializes in Kentucky titles; or Completely Kentucky, that showcases handcrafted works by more than 650 of Kentucky’s best artisans.

Dig history? Head to the Capital City Museum, which presents over 200 years of both political and personal life in Kentucky, and/or The Kentucky Historical Society’s Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, where exhibits of more than 3,000 items trace 12,000 years of Kentucky’s past.

5 p.m. – Satisfy your sweet tooth at Rebecca Ruth Candy Tours & Museum where bourbon ball candy began.

5:30 p.m. – Relax at your accommodations or tap into local craft beer at Sig Luscher Brewery, a heritage brewery originally founded in 1866, and/or West Sixth Farm Brewery, Kentucky’s only farm brewery growing hops and fruit on the property for its brews made on site.

7 p.m. – Enjoy dinner at Serafini, where local ingredients shine across the eclectic menu of dishes from lasagna to fried catfish, or Bourbon On Main, where seasonal ingredients influence the menu and burgers are a perennial favorite.

8:30 p.m. – Savor a nightcap at Capital Cellars, Frankfort’s only combination restaurant, bar, and wine, beer and spirits retailer.

10 p.m. – Retreat to your accommodations. Count bourbon barrels as you drift off to sleep.

8:30 a.m. – Treat yourself to breakfast at B’s Bakery, known for its scratch-made pastries, fresh quiches, and more tasty dishes.

10 a.m. – Tour Castle & Key, a picturesque 133-acre property with more than a century of distilling history inside a castle that once housed the Old Taylor Distillery. Among the different experiences offered is the Springhouse which has sheltered the spirits’ water source since 1887, a botanical trail, and Taylorton Station that sells cocktails and neat pours of Castle & Key spirits.

11 a.m. – Depart for Bardstown or Covington, depending on your route.

There are more reasons to Find Frankfort, including performances at The Grand Theatre, a historic 1911-era performing arts and film center that screens movies and hosts concerts, comedies and special events; the historic site Liberty Hall; the site once home to The Old Crow Distillery that now holds Glenns Creek Distilling; seasonal options like The Bourbon Boat, the nation’s only boat-based bourbon tour; and nearby Woodford Reserve in Versailles.

Bourbon Comes From Bardstown

Day 1 or 3: Bardstown

Bourbon traditions run deep in Bardstown, a historic small town nestled in the rolling Kentucky hills. Named “The Most Beautiful Small Town in America” by Rand McNally and USA Today, Bardstown is the state’s second-oldest city yet boasts small town charm. 

Its tagline “Bourbon Comes From Bardstown” is no mere boast: the sheer volume of bourbon made, aged, and shipped out of Bardstown is unrivaled. Consider that 2.8 million barrels of bourbon are aging in Nelson County—that’s more than a third of the world’s aging bourbon! 

As your bourbon headquarters, choose the grand Bourbon Manor Bed & Breakfast, the nation’s first bourbon-themed bed and breakfast, the stylish Talbott Inn, located on the corner of Courthouse Square right downtown in a renovated historic building (circa 1913), or a cozy room or suite at the new Dant Crossing where you can walk to the Log Still Distillery Tasting Room.

Noon – Enjoy lunch at Old Talbott Tavern, one of the nation’s oldest bars, known for its Kentucky classics like fried chicken and hot brown, or Scout & Scholar Brewing Co., where beer is paired with international fare.

1:30 p.m. – Tour Heaven Hill, the nation’s largest family-owned spirits producer, which just completed a massive $19-million expansion of its Visitor Center including an interactive “You Do Bourbon” elevated tasting that includes personalizing a bottle that you can take home. Or visit Bardstown Bourbon Company, the Napa Valley experience of Bardstown, which offers several different tours plus the hands-on “Shaken & Stirred” curated cocktail class where you’ll learn how to expertly make two iconic bourbon cocktails—add it to any tour! 


2:45 p.m. – Tour Preservation Distillery and Farm, the region’s first and only 100-percent pot-distilled producer (where tours run 45 minutes to an hour), or Lux Row Distillers, the newest destination on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, which offers a behind-the-scenes look at the bourbon-making process from start to finish.                                                                                                                      

4 p.m. – Relax at the hotel or explore some Bardstown treasures like the newly renovated Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the beautiful small town’s historic streets. Stock up on Bourbon Country souvenirs, including bottles of your favorite examples of “America’s Native Spirit,” at Toddy’s Liquors and the Blind Pig Bourbon Market. Tour the Federal Hill mansion at My Old Kentucky Home State Park. Hike the trails at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest.

6 p.m. – Grab a pre-dinner cocktail at Heaven Hill’s new Five Brothers Bar, an upscale place to savor handcrafted cocktails, straight pours, and flights of American whiskeys. Then dine at Bardstown Bourbon Company, which offers craft cocktails and seasonal fare, or long-time local favorite The Rickhouse Restaurant & Lounge, known for its steaks, 11-cheese macaroni, and selection of more than 130 bourbons.

9 p.m. – Crave a nightcap? Head to 3rd Street Tap House where the menu features more than 30 craft brews as well as wines and bourbons.

10:30 p.m. – Relax at your hotel before slipping into sweet dreams of Kentucky Bourbon.

9 a.m. – Start your day with a hot cup of coffee at Fresh and a delicious doughnut from Hadorn’s Bakery.

10 a.m. – Tour Willett Distillery, which is both historic (circa 1936) and new (renovated in 2004). This independent, family-owned distillery produces Willett Family Estate, Johnny Drum, Rowan’s Creek, and Noah’s Mill bourbons. Time permitting, grab a snack or drink at the recently opened The Bar at Willett, an intimate space that serves standout cocktails and small plates featuring local ingredients. Or tour another distillery option skipped yesterday.

11 a.m. – Keep exploring Kentucky Bourbon County and drive to Frankfort. Or, if Bardstown was your last stop on your Come Find Bourbon adventure, head home. Depending on your drive route and time schedule, you might stop at Jim Beam American Stillhouse, Limestone Branch, Independent Stave Company, Maker’s Mark, or Four Roses Warehouse & Bottling Facility along the way.

There’s more to explore in Bardstown—including seasonal fun like excursions on My Old Kentucky Dinner Train and “The Stephen Foster Story” at My Old Kentucky Home State Park, the official outdoor musical of Kentucky—so plan a return visit.

We’re confident you’ll want to Come Find Bourbon in Covington, Frankfort, and Bardstown again and again, sometimes for longer periods of time. Great! We’ll just keep getting better with age.

Come Find Bourbon supports responsible bourbon enjoyment and invites adults age 21+ to delve into Kentucky Bourbon culture in Covington, Frankfort, and Bardstown. This itinerary is a suggestion of how to pack a whole lot of bourbon-related fun into a three-night stay. Of course you may want to swap around certain activities; feel free to contact us for alternate suggestions or explore Note that some distillery tours and restaurants require advance reservations. It’s best to make hotel and car rental plans ahead of time, too. Covington, Frankfort, and Bardstown are not responsible for flight delays, sold-out tours, booked-up hotels, road construction, thunderstorms, lost cell phones, help finding rare bottles of bourbon, or the long list of foibles, mishaps, and disasters that everyone hopes to avoid. We do offer solid, well-researched advice and lots of world-class, authentic Kentucky Bourbon experiences. Cheers!

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