The Gratz Park Inn isn’t just the best place to stay at in Lexington’s Historic District — it’s the only boutique hotel in Lexington’s Historic District. You’re just a short walk from enough comfort food, bourbon and good Kentucky weather. What else could you want?
Maker's Mark, Willet, and More
In day two of our Kentucky Bourbon Trail adventure, we get lost in the backwoods, explore the Willet Distillery, taste a few bourbon cocktails made by a pro, and more.
A Night in Kentucky's Oldest Family-Operated B&B
Close your eyes. Form a picture in your head of what a historic B&B in the heart of Bluegrass country should look like. What remains though in the mind’s eye should look quite close to Harrodsburg’s Beaumont Inn owned by the Dedman family.
Wild Kentucky Catfish Over Beer Cheese Grits
The Harrison-Smith House in Bardstown, Kentucky is a centuries old family mansion converted into a premiere restaurant, serving local cuisine amplified by knowledgable Head Chef Newman Miller. The atmosphere is comfortable and welcoming and the bourbon is some of the best you’ll find anywhere. Here’s a recipe from their November menu.
How a next-generation master distiller helped relight the stills
Willett Master Distiller Drew Kulsveen doesn’t have time for bullshit. It’s not something he has to tell anyone. The message shoots from his eyes like a railgun. Even at a relatively young age, it’s clear he’s heard it all before. He talks like someone who’s lost years listening to others dribble on, and worked hard to eradicate the behavior in himself; his speech is terse, verging on curt. You can’t blame him for him ignoring the noise. A lot rides on his shoulders. He and his family worked for years to rebuild the family distillery, which reopened in 2012, and now he’s determined to prove a point.
High proof cocktails in the bourbon capital
Sometimes out of the bottle with a beer is the best way to have a bourbon”, admits Chef Newman Miller, owner of Harrison Smith House in Bardstown, Kentucky. But not always. The three bourbon cocktails he showed us are truly made to meet the expectations of the local Kentuckians.
From Brunch Spot to Global Food Sensation
Hillbilly Tea sounds like an Urban Dictionary revelation — or the latest product from the minds of White and Pinkman. For all we know, both of those statements are true. It’s also one of Louisville’s hottest brunch spots, and a burgeoning international brand. And if founders Karter Louis and Chef Arpad “Arpi” Lengyel realize their ultimate vision, that’s just the beginning.
Inside Louisville's Copper & Kings Distillery
A stack of freshly painted neon orange and black shipping containers stand in stark contrast to the red brick warehouse aesthetic of East Washington Street in the Butchertown area of Louisville, like a shiny new Google campus in the middle of a housing project. The large steel rectangles are the first of many signs that the Copper & Kings distillery is anything but traditional.
Greetings from the Bluegrass State
We figured the best way to get to the bottom of the recent bourbon boom was to head to the Bluegrass State with a few cameras, some notebooks and clean livers for five days of Kentucky scenery, friendly locals and distillery tours. Here’s a play-by-play of day one of our investigation on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
Never Order the Scotch
An aimless night in Louisville turns into a booze-fueled expedition, filled with new friends, a bar with 1,600 beers, and a cat that’s not to be fucked with.
A Roaming Journal of America's Spirit
Bourbon is booming, but only decades ago, it was on a path toward failure. This was most evident in the 1980s, at the height of vodka and big hair, when distilleries in the Bluegrass State were shuttering their doors. They simply couldn’t give bottles away, the same bottles that just a generation before were lining executive conference rooms and hotel bars throughout America. It was by definition an all-American drink, and it was quickly fading. But then in the mid-2000s, distillers realized the atmosphere was changing. Bourbon started coming back. Fast.
This explosion, which continues to grow to this day, raises plenty of questions. What’s fueling the bourbon boom? Is it going to burst, like tech and housing? Are some bottles really worth $5,000, and more importantly, who’s buying them? What makes a bourbon good? The best way to get to the bottom of this was to head to the Bluegrass State, where 95 percent of the world’s bourbon is made, equipped with a few cameras, some notebooks and clean livers for five days on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail — a triangle of distillery tours throughout the state with endpoints at Louisville, Lexington and Bardstown — for many early mornings and late nights drinking and talking with some of the foremost professionals in booze. We came back with five days of fear and loathing on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
New Bird on the Block
From The Horn of Plenty to the myriad mouths to feed, Thanksgiving is all about abundance. Your bird should reflect that. Perhaps on the basis of size alone, turkey is the default — but there’s a better way to feed your folks. A more delicious, more moist, more tender way. Its name: the capon. Chef David Waltuck, of Chanterelle fame, invited us to watch him prepare one the right way.
Rocks Sunrise-Side of the Mississippi
Freddie Wilkinson makes his home in the White Mountains, where he climbs and guides most of the year between putting up alpine first ascents on expeditions to Alaska, Nepal, Patagonia, India and Antarctica. These are his four favorite climbing areas out East, plus some inside tips on what to do when you’re in the neighborhood.
Peeping leaves and climbing rock
For nearly 80 years, the Gunks have been one of the East’s most hallowed (not to mention busiest) traditional climbing areas, featuring more than 1,400 routes on four major cliffs clustered outside of the college town of New Paltz. But Sky Top — privately owned by the Mohonk Mountain House, a 145-year-old luxurious Victorian castle resort that restricts crag access to high-rolling guests and Alpine Endeavors clients — is utterly serene, and our group is alone on the lichen-covered rock.
The Poor Man's Fondue
Seen as an instant fondue, raclette is a variety of cheese and pastime in itself: groups of friends collect around a heat source to melt, scrape, and gorge on delicious, full-fatty cheese. Though the culture has grown to include its own type of conventional raclette-style grills for any variety of gastronomic exploration, we recommend focusing on the essentials next time you and your friends find yourself around the campfire. Read our guide here.
Americana in a bottle
If you’re into vintage — your dad’s aviators, reclaimed wood counters, old military watches — then it doesn’t get much more old school than apple brandy, a spirit distilled from the hard cider of fermented fresh apples and then aged in oak.
Common Sense, the better part of Valor
Already strapped in, with a stranger tightening my parachute, it becomes jarringly clear Red Bull race planes don’t have ejection seats. “In the event of an emergency, the canopy flies open, and I’ll be yelling ‘Bail! Bail! Bail!’” instructs François Le Vot, my French aerobatic pilot.
Elevation: 49 Feet, Speed: 230 MPH
Twenty-five minutes outside the Strip, set in Nevada’s stark desert, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway lacks its city’s famed opulence — but today, not its verve. A fresh energy runs throughout the massive 131,000-seat complex, though no NASCAR racers throttle up around the 1.5-mile asphalt track. Instead of staring down, everyone in the grandstands looks to the sky. The loudspeaker booms: Number 9 Lamb. You’re cleared to enter the track. Smoke on. As the plane swoops down from the sky, the crowd descends into a provocative hush. “Smoke on” is the green flag of air racing.
GP knocked off early yesterday and went to see Interstellar in IMAX. Here is a collection of our initial reactions.
The Original Barrel Aged Beer
If you heard Goose Island Beer Co. was coming into town with their upcoming Black Friday release of their Bourbon County Stout lineup, which features some of the most coveted beers brewed in the US, you’d expect a little fanfare. But when Mike Siegel, innovations manager for Goose Island, carried the lineup in for tasting, it was at room temperature and accompanied by little plastic cups, the sort any corner store would carry.
Less Ralph Lauren, More Murderball
Bike messengers are a rough lot. So it’s not surprising that they were the early adopters of hardcourt bike polo, a tougher take on cycle polo. We paid a visit to the Seattle Bike Polo club at Cal Anderson park in Capitol Hill for some body-checking camaraderie.
Steel frames, gravel roads and good wine? Per favore.
The scenery is just one of the things that’s made L’Eroica one of the greatest organized rides in the world since Giancarlo Brocci founded it 30 years ago to help preserve the strada bianche, or white sand and gravel roads of Tuscany.
Vintage gear for old Italian roads
In 2014 bike parlance, L’Eroica is the ultimate gravel grinder, a 38-204 kilometer ride along the strade bianche (“white roads”) of Tuscany, Italy, with ascents steep as 23 percent grade and sketchy, sandy downhills as a reward for the hard work. Unlike the Dirty Kanza, though, you won’t find riders toeing the line in Gaiole in Chianti with carbon bikes, electronic shifting and hydraulic disc brakes. L’Eroica’s done old school.
Reflection and Extreme Discomfort
Temazcal is a traditional Mesoamerican sweat lodge used for physical and spiritual cleansing. GP contributor Will McGough has suffered through it twice, at the Grand Playa Resort in Cabo and Live Aqua Resort in Cancun.
Millionaire Cottages and Adirondack Chairs
Muskoka is considered the “Hamptons of Toronto”. Here’s a guide to making the most of the cottage-dotted vacation spot.
Not Your Grandpappy's Old Fashioned
James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Brock shares a recipe for the Julian, a variation on the Old Fashioned.
You're a Better Man than Hungry-Man
Easy-to-make meals have been associated with artificial preservatives and gluttonous additives for far too long. These brands are changing the paradigm of instant food for the better — and they taste great, too.
Wet trousers and world-class scallops
1:00 p.m. BST | Colbost, Isle of Skye, UK – We parked the truck somewhere in the north of Skye and picked up our rental Lapierre road bikes. It was very cold and raining hard, the aftereffects of Hurricane Gonzalo on the other side of the Atlantic, but we wanted to get a ride in and figured: let’s just bike to lunch. Lunch was at The Three Chimneys, the Isle of Skye’s best restaurant with a newly minted Michelin star.
An Ontario Staple Is Highway 11's Best Stop
Mike McParland, now 67, has been working at Webers Burgers since he was 16. An estimated 300,000 visitors stop into the grill on their way up and down Ontario’s Highway 11 — but it’s not because of the burgers.
Read Them and Eat
This year, like last year, we did our fair share of dining. We hunted for barbecue in Texas, ate all the burgers in L.A. and went inside the new American supper club. We found that, like television, restaurants are in the best form they’ve ever been. These are 25 of our favorite restaurants in America, chosen by our editors and writers across the country for their newness, their hospitality and the quality of their food — though not always in that order.