Louisville, where Rosemary and I boarded the boat about mid-afternoon. For those who were paying passengers, there was a morning excursion to Castle & Key Distillery. I was told by many who went on the excursion, the tour was excellent. We left Louisville late due to some un-named delay, but it was just getting dark when we went through the locks in Portland.

The next day we were in Brandenburg, Kentucky. The excursions were to Lincoln’s birthplace and a pottery school in Brandenburg. Rosemary and I decided to stay on board for the day, enjoy a cocktail at the bar, and watch the river go by. We enjoy the river and ended the day watching the sunset as we cruised to our next destination. The next day we arrived in Owensboro, Kentucky. Rosemary and I took the hop-on, hop-off bus to visit Green River distillery. There we tasted their Bourbons, including a single barrel Bourbon chosen by the staff for the gift shop. We were served by Gabby Montgomery at the tasting bar. Gabby was also making drinks and served me an excellent Manhattan cocktail. We went to the gift shop and purchased a bottle of the single barrel Bourbon before we returned to the boat. On the boat, we attended the program held by Regina Charboneau, chef and author and Culinary Ambassador for American Queen Voyages, and Dickie Brennan, chef-owner of Bourbon House in New Orleans. Charboneau made biscuits and Brennan made the Due South cocktail. 

After the very entertaining program, we held our annual Manhattan contest between the two bartenders on the boat. I asked for two volunteers amongst the passengers to help judge the contest and we proceeded to drink two very fine cocktails. They were very close in quality and the winner, Luke’s Manhattan, edged to the victory because all three of us liked a Bourbon forward Manhattan and his cocktail had a higher proof whiskey in it.

The next day we were in Henderson, Kentucky and I held my first Bourbon history talk and tasting. In Henderson, the excursion was a Bourbon tasting and food pairing. I would have liked to have attended this event, but it did not return to the boat in time for my own presentation. The next day we were in Paducah, Kentucky. I got off the boat to have a drink at my favorite Bourbon Bar on the trip, Barrel and Bond. I had a whiskey sour and a Manhattan cocktails. They were excellent, but then I had to get back to the boat and prepare for my second history presentation and tasting. The excursion for passengers was called “Check-in Along the Chitlin Trail”. It was sold out before we could get tickets.

The next day found us off the Ohio River and on the Mississippi River with a stop in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. There the excursion was Tracing the Trail of Tears. Once again, we decided to stay on board and have cocktails at the bar. Rosemary had brought on board the ingredients for Paper Plane cocktails and had Luke make them for us. The next day, we arrived in St. Louis, Missouri. There we met with the two founders of the St. Louis Bourbon Society, James Thomas and Andrew Chostner, at the Broadway Oyster Bar. We discussed the upcoming St. Louis Bourbon Festival and drank some fine local beers. The trip ended the next day in Alton, Illinois. There were picked up a rental car and drove back to Louisville. It was a great trip and we met many interesting people, ate fine food, drank some excellent cocktails and enjoyed the slow, relaxing life on the river.  

Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller