Evan Williams Bourbon Experience cocktail

Speakeasy Travel

This year for Father’s Day I wanted to do something different for my dad. He doesn’t want or need any new things. He’s got plenty of clothes (he’s very hip) and they have more than enough “stuff”. So, I decided that instead of buying him a traditional gift I would take my parents on a travel adventure. I did some research, made some reservations, and off we went to Louisville.

Dick and Sara Bell
Ready for a road trip!

There’s a lot to do in Louisville. It’s a decent size city and it’s easy to get around, not to mention close to Lexington! The downtown has been transformed with several stops on the Bourbon Trail. Urban distilleries and all things bourbon have taken over downtown Louisville!

Bourbon Trail Sign
The official Bourbon Trail sign

Our first stop was the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience. I have wanted to visit for a long time, and I knew my parents would enjoy it. The cool thing about the Evan Williams Experience is that it has several options of “experiences” to take.

Evan Williams Bourbon Trail sign
The fun begins!

We have been on several distillery tours. I figure that once you’ve been on one tour you basically know how bourbon is made. I know that each distillery puts their own spin on the tour, but I think Evan Williams is on to something here.

Evan Williams Speakeasy Tour sign
One of the Speakeasy tours

Tours that are offered include the Chocology tour (what could be better than bourbon and chocolate!), The Speakeasy Tasting Experience, and the Speakeasy Movie Series are offered in addition to the distillery tour. All of the tours are around the same price, they just offer uniquely different experiences.

I chose The Speakeasy Tasting Experience for us. I purchased the tickets online (you have to make them at least a couple of weeks in advance) and we were off to the races!

Evan Williams Bourgon Horse
Off to the races!

There was a nice parking lot right next to the building. That’s important when you’re in a city! Sometimes city parking can be challenging.

We entered the building and it was very unique. Evan Williams offered several good photo opportunities. Like it or not, if the location isn’t Instagramable then you are losing out on a great (and free) marketing opportunity for visitors. Just sit back and let them snap and post away!

Evan Williams Bourbon Experience Logo
Ready for some fun!

Evan Williams has several photo opportunities throughout the facility, but the best one has to be the giant glass of bourbon when you walk in. You can see if from the street. It’s spectacular!

Evan Williams Cocktail
That’s a big cocktail!
Evan Williams Bourbon Experience cocktail
My favorite photo op!

The next stop was the tour. We went below to the basement. After all, speakeasies are supposed to be super secret! I’m sure you have seen all the movies from that time period, you have to have the password to enter! Evan Williams Speakeasy was no different. Good thing they told us the password!

Evan Williams Speakeasy Door
The secret door to the Speakeasy. Good thing we know the password!

We entered a bar downstairs which had a U-shaped bar. Everybody took a seat so we could listen to the barkeep. The time period was meant to be during the prohibition.

Evan Williams Speakeasy Demonstration
We were transformed back into the ’20s!

The “actor” bartender was very good. He made you feel as though you were in the time period of the 1920s. He told stories, we tasted several versions of bourbon, and we even played a game. It was very interactive.

Bourbon tasting at Evan Williams Speakeasy tour
Lots of different stages of bourbon to taste!

The Speakeasy tour was really fun. I highly recommend you look into this when traveling on the Bourbon Trail. It’s fun and very educational at the same time!

Speakeasy Tour for Father's Day
A good time was had by all!

Our next stop was to check-in at the hotel. We stayed downtown at the Hyatt. It has recently been renovated and the hotel is awesome. I highly recommend staying there!

After we freshened up, we called for an Uber. I think my parents really liked it, they felt like they were “cool”. After all, this is supposed to be an “experience” for Father’s Day!

To continue our prohibition tour we went to a new speakeasy bar called Hell or High Water. I had heard great things about the bar and really wanted to try it.

The door to Hell or High Water
Is this it?

The Uber pulled up to a nondescript business front. 112 W. Washington Street was the address of the bar. There’s not a sign (after all, how secret would that be?) so you have to be aware of the location. We saw a few people standing outside and they confirmed we were in the right place!

Bubbly Horse in front of Hell or High Water
I can’t wait to see what’s here!

You need to have a reservation for the bar, as it’s a seated cocktail experience. Even for Happy Hour, we made a reservation. This is one popular place!

Steps to the Speakeasy Bar
The bar is in the basement

After we checked in inside the door, we traveled down a steep staircase to a basement location. It was so interesting. The lighting was awesome (although not great for selfies!) and it has a very cool vibe. There are various areas of seating including a cozy area with velvet banquet seating, a library, a small bar, and even a secret closet! The bar had a glam vibe. What a better way to hide out from the police during the prohibition era!

Hell or High Water Seating Area
The rich velvet seating and the décor of the bar is very glitzy and glamourous!
Hell or High Water seating area
A glamourous place for craft cocktails!
Hell or High Water Bar
A very unique selection of liquor!
Hell or High Water Library
Books and cocktails! Upstairs is a hidden closet that’s a secret room for cocktails!
Chandlier at Hell or High Water
Lovely chandelier!

I had to ask how the bar got its name. It seems that the building has survived a fire and a flood in its day!  It only adds to the character of the building.

The menu is separated between Hell drinks which features such names as Bold Venture, Devil’s Advocate, and Sparks Fly cocktails. The Bold Venture cocktail is made up of Ginger infused Mezcal, Green Chili Liqueur, Velvet Falernum, Orange Acid, Lime, and egg white. I’ve never even heard of several of those ingredients!

Craft cocktail at Hell or High Water
Craft cocktail from the Hell side of the menu
Cocktail menu from Hell or High Water
I’ve never even heard of some of these ingredients!

The other side of the menu is Highwater. How could I not try Heat of the Moment cocktail? It’s made of London Dry Gin, Peach Sake, Mango Sake, Lemon Sorbet, Ginger, and Violet. Additional cocktails include The Trans-Pacific, Give it to Me Slo, and Strange Bedfellows. There’s one thing about Hell or High Water, they are certainly creative in both their names and cocktail recipes!

Cocktail at Hell or High Water with Rosemary Sprig
The Rosemary sprig added a great flavor to the cocktail!
Highwater Cocktail Menu
The Highwater menu has a citrus flavor profile

The cocktail lounge also serves small plates of various types of Charcuterie and sweets. The meat and cheeses were really nice. Several of the items used were Kentucky Proud products.

Charcuterie products from Hell or High Water
The bar features Kentucky Proud products

The staff really made us feel welcome and the service was great. The bartenders were trying out a new cocktail that contained coffee that they let me taste. It was really good. It was a fun experience!

Hell or High Water Staff
We had such a great time at Hell or High Water. The staff made us feel very welcome!

Needless to say, our Prohibition tour was a success and we had a wonderful time on our trip to Louisville! I’m going to have to start thinking about next Father’s Day to try to match our trip this year!

Father's Day
A good time was had by all!
Exit at Hell or High Water
Secret places require extra security!

Until next time! Xoxox

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