Travel + Culture

Admiring the Selection at Lexington's Blue Grass Tavern

Rare Bourbons Not Named Pappy: A Budding Collector’s Guide

Call it the Pappy effect if you want, or just plain business savvy, but most distilleries saw an opportunity in limited, premium bourbons in the early 2000s. At one of Lexington's best bourbon bars, the Blue Grass Tavern, we laid eyes on some of the absolute best.

The Taste of a productive day

The Kentucky Sundowner

The Irish have Irish coffee, the Scotch have Highland Coffee, the Germans have Rüdesheimer Kaffee, and college students have vodka and red bull. Kentuckians have the Kentucky Sundowner. Here's how to make one.

Demystifying A Legend

The Complete Guide to Pappy Van Winkle

I'd say that Pappy Van Winkle is a brand that needs no introduction, except that it does. The truth is that most people don’t know anything about “Pappy”, other than that it’s supposed to be the best of its kind. So let’s set the record straight by getting a couple of basic facts out of the way.

Staying Sober in Bourbon Country

Off the Trail: Kentucky’s Sober Attractions

We posed the same question to everyone we spoke to on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail: "If someone is only going to visit Kentucky once, what should they do?" Here are their responses.

Wilderness Trail, Four Roses, Wild Turkey and More

Kentucky Bourbon Trail Travelogue: Day Three

In day three of our Kentucky Bourbon Trail adventure, we check out small (Wilderness Trail) and big (Four Roses, Wild Turkey) distilleries on the way to Lexington -- and get to taste something particularly special.

The Best (and Only) Hotel in Lexington’s Historic District

Stay: The Gratz Park Inn

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

Kentucky Bourbon Trail Travelogue: Day Two

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

Stay: The Beaumont Inn

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

Recipe: Drunk Kentucky Catfish

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’s Long Path Back to Bourbon

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

Three Bourbon Cocktails, Made By a Pro

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

Louisville’s Hillbilly Tea Has a New Take on Soul Food

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

Making Brandy in Bourbon Country

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

Kentucky Bourbon Trail Travelogue: Day One

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

Late Night in Louisville

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

5 Days on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

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

The Perfect Thanksgiving Bird Is… A Capon?

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’s Best Climbs of the East

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

Photo Essay: Fall Rock Climbing in the Gunks

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

How to Make Raclette, a Peasant’s Meal for Friends

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

The Spirit of Autumn: Best American Apple Brandies

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

G-Force and Terror On an Air Racing Ride Along

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

Racing in the Sky

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.

The Original Barrel Aged Beer

Tasting the Full 2014 Bourbon County Stout Line

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

Photo Essay: Bike Polo in Seattle

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.

Photo Essay: Classic Bikes and Tuscan Vistas at L’Eroica

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

The Handsome, Throwback Magic of Italy’s L’Eroica Bike Race

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

Inside the Temazcal, Traditional Mayan Sweat Bath

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

72 Hours in Muskoka

Muskoka is considered the "Hamptons of Toronto". Here's a guide to making the most of the cottage-dotted vacation spot.

You're a Better Man than Hungry-Man

8 Feasts of a Frozen Variety

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

Postcard: Lunch at The Three Chimneys Kitchen Table

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

At Webers Burgers, It’s Not Just About the Burgers

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

The 25 Best Restaurants in America

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.

Terrifying Road Rules in Beautiful Skye

Postcard: Yield Please, Yield

9:00 a.m. BST | Isle of Skye, UK -- Driving a broad car on the wrong side of the road, from the passenger's seat, is an upsetting experiment in bizarro world physics.

Visiting Brooklyn's Di Fara

A 50 Year Tradition in Pizza

One Wednesday afternoon, a couple of us decided to trek over to one of New York City’s favorite eateries across the river in Midwood, Brooklyn: Di Fara Pizza.

It's Time for a Mischief Night in Craft Beer

The Pumpkin Beer Problem

Back in 2011 The Atlantic reported on "The Divisive Pumpkin Ale", alleging that the style had become synonymous with increasingly stale and overdone flavors. This is still the (very subjective) argument for people who loathe the stuff. But more and more brewers and beer enthusiasts argue beyond taste: they say that some pumpkin beer practices are bad for consumers and craft beer in general.

Learning the way of the climb

Postcard: Learning to Climb in the Gunks

2:00 p.m. EDT | New Paltz, NY -- I've never met a more playful group of people than rock climbers. The experienced ones seem to have the best sense of humor when they're standing on the edge of a cliff.