Quality Spirits

The Drive: Frankfort, Kentucky
Miles: 336
Shaken and Stirred: Buffalo Trace will host Haunting of the Distillery 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 28. It’s a family event, with hayrides, candy and a fun fest for little ones, plus scarier tales for adults. www.buffalotrace.com
Take a deep breath — that swirl of fermentation on the fall breeze is the Bluegrass invitation to come visit, ya’ll, and sip a spell.

A new Kentucky Wine and Spirits driving tour means full-sensory touring, sniffing the jolt of “angels’ share” that evaporates from each barrel and dipping your finger into the bubbling mash. The route loops 42 miles from Frankfort to Midway to Lawrenceburg, perfect for a two- or three-day trip.

Start at the tour’s most venerable spot: Frankfort’s Buffalo Trace, crowning a Kentucky River bluff that’s seen distilling since 1787. It was the first American firm to win “Distiller of the Year” from Whisky Magazine in 2005.

There’s a taste of history, too, at Frankfort’s Rebecca Ruth Candy. Ruth Hanley Booe worked two years to perfect her bourbon balls, laced with Evan Williams Kentucky Straight Bourbon and dipped in bittersweet chocolate. On a factory tour, you may spot her grandson, Charles Booe, overseeing the works.

At Four Roses in Lawrenceburg, check out the Spanish Mission-style plant from 1911 and take a moment to admire the fermentation vats, hewn in the 1840s and ’50s from 300-year-old red cypress logs, and dredged recently from the bottom of Florida’s Suwannee River.

Kentucky’s making wine, too, and the tour spins through Equus Run Vineyards on the South Elkhorn Creek in Midway. Stay at Scottwood B&B, just up the creek, and borrow a canoe for the trip to Equus Run. Just be sure to have a designated paddler for the voyage home. For a Wine and Spirits tour brochure, call 1-800-960-7200 or go to www.visitfrankfort.com.
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