Sunday was our last day in Bardstown, KY. We wanted to see the Maker’s Mark Distillery, but it was about 20 miles out of town and we have not had the day to go there earlier in the week. So we drove out into the Kentucky countryside – up and down hills, and around and around curves on a narrow 2 lane road. We saw the most beautiful green mown lawns and homes on this drive. Other than the locals wanting to go 55 mph we had a nice 40 minute drive.
We finally arrived minutes before the 3 o’clock tour began. This is one of the smaller distilleries; they bottle, cork and seal the bottles with wax by hand in house. This has been in the Samuels family for generations. After prohibition, Bill Samuels, Sr. did not like the taste and wanted to change the 17% portion of the formula from Rye to Sweet Wheat. He burned the old family formula, bought another distillery and started making a new bourbon. They had a few years to work out the details since the bourbon had to age at least 2 years in the charred barrels. Mrs. Samuels was known as the Martha Stewart of her day. She experimented with the wax seal in her crock pot.
She chose the name, Maker’s Mark, because she saw the mark of the maker on her collection of pewter. She reversed the name, mark of the maker to Maker’s Mark. She didn’t want the black fungus that grows on the rack houses to show so all Maker’s Mark rack houses are painted a very dark brown (almost looks black).
Her favorite color is red so the the accents on the rack houses are all red and the wax sealer on all the bottles is red too.
Some of the features that set this distillery apart are: the corn, wheat, and barley are rolled not pounded, yeast is added in large open vats and when we tasted the new yeast fermenting it tasted sweet - no alcohol yet.
Bottling. The little boxes in the lower right corner hold the red wax. Each bottle is dipped by hand.
We did do the tasting, but honestly I could not tell the difference between Heaven Hill, Jim Beam, or Makers Mark. Guess we are not connoisseurs.
As this was our last day we went back to Kurtz for dinner. We started with a real Kentucky Bourbon Mint Julep. Kurtz grows their mint in the back yard and mulls it. This was the first Mint Julep we have ever tasted and following our week of bourbon tasting it was true to the pure taste without the burn.
The salad was next and I chose the cold slaw and Tom had a green salad and pickled beets. I have never tasted better slaw! My order, the special, tilapia, baked apples, and broccoli was perfect. Tom had a Kentucky favorite, pan fried chicken, Kentucky smoked ham, new potatoes and green beans with bacon. We finished with Kurtz’s special recipe of biscuit pudding with whiskey sauce, like bread pudding only made with tender biscuits. Awesome. What a way to wrap up our visit to Bardstown. The only thing left to do was to head over to Kroegers Supermarket and get a couple half gallons of BLUE BELL ICE CREAM, Homemade Vanilla, and Pralines and Cream. (that’s all the space I had in the freezer). We hope to move on to Frankfort, the state capitol, and home to the state history and genealogy museum next week.
We will of course be Caching on the Road, Tom, Barbara and Pansy