The first Breeders’ Cup was held at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif., a track that closed in 2013. Although its first race meet was in 1984, the Breeders’ Cup Limited organization was formed in 1982 to plan a North American championship to our close the racing year.
In 2007 the competition expanded from a single day to two days of racing.
The host site for the two-day event typically rotates to varying tracks each year, and this year the meet is being held at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington.
Thoroughbreds and bourbon are what makes Kentucky unique from all the other states. We know where to find the horses, but where do you find the bourbon?
The Bourbon Flight has your program for finding the best bourbon bars during the two-day event.
With one of the state’s rarest bourbon collections, OBC Kitchen is a must-visit. Inside the restaurant, you will be surrounded by local barn wood and an atmosphere suited for drinking bourbon. Try the Bacon in a Glass, which is served with peanut butter. You will thank me later.
The restaurant was named after the counties that eventually became Kentucky; “Old Bourbon County” was stamped on bourbon barrels that floated down the Mississippi from Kentucky and became synonymous with the best whiskey in the U.S.
The Rackhouse Tavern
The tavern is located within the historic Campbell House. A member of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, they feature over 300 bourbons. My recommendation is a bourbon neat with Bluegrass Poutine as an appetizer.
If you want to try Pappy or other unicorn bourbons, The Rackhouse is your place. The low-key environment is the ideal bar/restaurant to cap off a night at the races.
Bourbon on Rye
Open late, this bar’s name explains everything you need to know. Amazing bourbon cocktails and in the heart of downtown Lexington, you cannot get any better. Indulge in the Bourbon Beer Cheese Plate. Bourbon on top of bourbon cannot be wrong.
What sets this bar apart is the number of bourbon flights you can order. By my count, they have 11 different flights, including a Pappy flight that is priced at market.
Located in the Lexington Distillery District, this bar’s leather couches and chairs layout completes the vibe of an old-school bourbon bar. I love the Pimento Cheese sandwich with a hint of jalapeno pepper.
The bar also has its own bourbon named RockCastle Bourbon. The building was the original barreling house for the James E. Pepper distillery, which can still be found in the district.
Just a short drive around Man O War Blvd, 33 Staves hotel and bar is in The Summit at Fritz Farm. Inspired by horses and bourbon, this little hideaway is a perfect place to meet other travelers with the same interest. For dessert, order the Bourbon Cream Cake. The cake allows the bourbon to shine while satisfying your sweet tooth.
The hotel also offers a tasting room that can be rented if you hit it big at the races. Natural light and views of Fritz Farm are just a couple of reasons to visit. The abundance of craft bourbon cocktails is the reason you will stay.
Of course, lots of other bars in Lexington serve bourbon and are great. We just wanted to highlight some of our favorites with the environment that highlights our bourbon and Thoroughbred culture.