Foodie Travel

The Reason I Am Going to Kentucky Will Not Surprise You


When I was in the 8th grade, I drank a fifth of Canadian whiskey*. I drank it like it was iced tea, from a big plastic cup, over the course of a few hours, at a party in a friend’s basement. Twenty-one years later, I can still picture being the bathroom that night, my vision rolling like an old television with poor reception. And twenty-one years later, I still remember how very, very, unbelievably sick I got that night (and the next day. And the next day.)

I never drank whiskey again.

In fact, I didn’t even drink alcohol again until years after my 21st birthday. And when I did drink alcohol, I never, never drank whiskey or anything whiskey-like. Brown liquor was out. Even dark rum was off the table.

Several months ago, I had a post-work drink with a colleague in a basement bar in Chicago. Because I was tired and indecisive, I chose ‘I’ll have what he’s having’. He was having a bourbon old fashioned. As I stared into the murky depths of a very definitely brown liquor drink, I braced myself for the horror. And found, instead, delight.

So now I need to learn about bourbon.

When I wanted to learn about wine, I went to Napa. When I wanted to learn about beer, I went to Portland. So this week, I’m going to Kentucky. I mean, I really don’t see any other option.

I’ll be starting out my trip not-drinking on the trails of the Red River Gorge in the eastern part of the state before continuing onto Bardstown, Lexington, and Louisville to explore both commercial and craft distilleries, as well as learn a bit about baseball and bluegrass, history and horses.

A day may come when my incessant search for educational alcohol-based experiences fails, when I lay down the bottle and pick up a glass of water. But it is not this day.

This day we fight!

*Sorry, mom.

Don’t make a girl drink alone! Follow along with me as I explore Kentucky. I’ll be obsessively photo-posting on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and would love for you to virtually join me. Cheers!


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