September is National Bourbon Month; Follow the Urban Bourbon Trail in Louisville
by Pamela O’Meara
Louisville, Ky, gives visitors like me a chance to visit some of the best bourbon bars in the world to taste the drink in various forms — straight, with champagne, in a mint julep. My tour included a mint julep (bourbon with minty simple syrup and mint sprig over ice) at the Brown Hotel, which in 1926 became the home of the Hot Brown sandwich which is composed of bread, fried green tomatoes, turkey, cheese, bacon and morney sauce. Hundreds of hungry flappers enjoyed them after dancing half the night away, and I had a sample.
At the nearby Seelbach Hotel, which F. Scott Fitzgerald mentions in “The Great Gatsby,” I had a glass of the hotel’s classic bourbon with champagne. The story goes that Fitzgerald wrote part of Gatsby on napkins there, and characters Tom and Daisy were married in the ballroom. Listed on the National Historic Register, the hotel is also famous for a secret back room where Al Capone would regularly meet with associates during Prohibition.
Bucks Restaurant and Bar, set among Victorian mansions, was filled with vases of white flowers and glittering candles against a dark green background. We sampled 12-year-old bourbon and a meringue dessert while listening to a young woman play a piano.
These bars and restaurants are among the 27 listed on the Urban Bourbon Trail, which includes bars that stock 50 to 150 different brands of bourbon. Collect a stamp from six bars and you’llearn the rank of official Bourbon Country Citizen and be awarded a special Urban Bourbon Trailblazer T-shirt. Trail passports (but not the drinks) are free at any participating establishment and at the visitor’s center.
Photos by Pamela O’Meara
For more information go to http://www.bourboncountry.com/things-to-do/urban-bourbon-trail/index.aspx.
Staff writer, Lillie Suburban newspapers
Member, Midwest Travel Writers Association
I’ve been a writer for over 20 years at Lillie Suburban Newspapers in St. Paul. I’ve also done free-lance writing – for 3M business and health publications and for a running club and a speech therapy group. My special interest and focus for over a decade has been travel writing – about my trips and those of others in the United States and abroad, and I am a 10-year member of Midwest Travel Writers Association. I have a bachelor’s degree in English from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in comparative literature from the University of Michigan. I was an English teacher for almost three years before having kids. Life is good!
Writing awards for Pam O’Meara
2015 Minnesota Newspaper Association -- Second place for columns on Selfridge’s in London, Missouri prison, mother’s death
2014 Midwest Travel writers Mark Twain – honorable mention for story on Hemingway in Pamplona, Spain
2013 MTWA – first place – recent travel sites – Fort Bragg and father
2008 MTWA – third place – newspaper story on Hawaii: the Big Island
2006—MTWA – second place – recent sites – South Korea – DMZ