Bourbon Country’s long spirit-infused history and now growing food reputation is putting many Kentucky cities on the culinary map. And it’s not just the eclectic, innovate and award-winning restaurant scene, but also locally made products that are setting the region apart. In addition to the 200-year-old bourbon heritage, there is also a long beer history with a current craft resurgence and the local coffee scenes are well, buzzing.
Kentucky’s rich culinary heritage goes beyond fried chicken and country ham and includes the birthplace of both the Hot Brown sandwich and the Old Fashioned cocktail among regional favorites like Beer Cheese and Burgoo. Thanks to the state’s geography at the intersection of numerous growing regions, the produce is plentiful and beautiful, and food culture has flourished.
Start your day right with Kentucky’s breakfast of champions! For your first meal, try bourbon bread pudding, Southern-style classic deviled eggs, or the Truman’s Breakfast (the President loved whiskey with his egg every morning!). Look for bourbon-infused maple syrup on your pancakes on morning versions of a Hot Brown topped with an egg.
Lunch could include a pulled pork bourbon BBQ, a mint julep and a bourbon bon bon. Since you’re in Kentucky, you will also want to sample some regional favorites, including:
- Kentucky Country Ham—the irresistible smoky flavors of classic Kentucky ham, cured and aged to perfection;
- The Hot Brown Sandwich—a 1926 American creation that was invented at Louisville’s Brown Hotel and found at restaurants state-wide);
- Burgoo—a spicy stew that is often served with corn bread or muffins
- Benedictine Spread—a light and refreshing spread made with cucumbers and cream cheese, invented in the late 1990s. Originally, the Benedictine Spread was used for cucumber sandwiches. In recent years, the spread is also used for a dip;
- Kentucky Fried Chicken—not to be confused with the popular fast-food joint, but real chicken deep-fried Kentucky-style!
For those with smaller appetites or a craving for aromatic baked goods, coffee houses and delicatessens offer lighter meal options or a refreshing afternoon snack for the weary traveler. Browse by Cuisine to find all these and more!
After cocktails at some of the world’s most recognized whiskey bars, enjoy an authentic bourbon dinner where the spirit is served with each course and often hosted by a Master Distiller. In addition to the familiar flavors of America’s local Kentucky food, you also have a selection of international cuisines—from French and Italian to Japanese and the Caribbean. You can search by town or cuisine.
Bon appétit and Cheers!