Readers' Choice Awards 2016: DRINKS

Oct 5, 2016 at 12:37 pm
Best Distillery: Copper & Kings
Best Distillery: Copper & Kings Photo by Ron Jasin

Best Beer List HopCat A brand new entry into the Louisville beer scene, HopCat received no shortage of fanfare leading up to its summer debut, which no doubt helped its case in this category. Of course, 132 draft lines probably didn’t hurt. What we like about HopCat is that it highlights local brews on its long list, carrying no fewer than 20 at any given time. But there’s also a wide range of styles and hard-to-find brews, plus a funky cool vibe in the place that sort of feels like you’re on a late-19th-century riverboat. Well, if late-19th-century riverboats had velvet paintings of modern rock stars. —Kevin Gibson #2. Holy Grale #3. Sergio’s World Beers

Best Wine List Louvino Once L&N Wine Bar closed, there was a void in Louisville — we were sans wine bar. While bourbon is king around here, it still defied our sensibilities to be without a wine watering hole. Enter LouVino. It has over 70 wines by the glass, and offers various, thematic flights — commemorating some of the great Louisvillians, like Muhammad Ali and Jennifer Lawrence. And of course you will not be left without something to pair that wine with … offering “Southern-Inspired Small Plates” that are great for sharing … except the bacon-wrapped dates, which are good for eating all yourself. It’s so good, LouVino is now preparing to open its third location. —Aaron Yarmuth #2. Commonwealth Tap #3. Brix Wine Bar

Best Local Brewery Against the Grain Many restaurants have come and gone from Louisville Slugger Stadium, maybe because we were all waiting for Against the Grain. The beer brewed at Against the Grain is a truly-local product — schemed, designed and brewed on-site … in a baseball stadium. A lineup of beers that covers the spectrum of flavors and rotates on a seasonal basis. It’s so good, I’ve been told, that people will travel hundreds of miles to attend the release of its new products. And Against the Grain does more than brew and drink and brew and drank and drunk and drenk … it also has phenomenal food. —Aaron Yarmuth #2. Goodwood Brewing Company #3. Monnik Beer Company

Best Local Distillery Copper & Kings Copper & Kings is one of the great additions to Louisville, the development of downtown and, in particular, the Butchertown neighborhood. I am not a brandy aficionado, but I have been fortunate to attend several events at Copper & Kings. I only wish that there were more businesses, parks, plazas, etcetera around town with a plaza/courtyard/event space like the one in front of the distillery. And on the third floor there is a rooftop deck and event space with an awesome view of downtown Louisville. It’s great for receptions, gatherings … any sort of party with booze, brandy and a view. —Aaron Yarmuth #2. Evan Williams #3. Angel’s Envy

Best Bourbon List Silver Dollar The old firehouse near the bottom of Frankfort Avenue has added new life to the Clifton neighborhood. Silver Dollar has great modern, Southern food and a surprisingly-excellent brunch on weekends. But this is LEO’s Readers’ Choice for best bourbon list, which is no small feat, and not something we take lightly. I honestly can’t say how many bourbons it offers. I thought about counting them on the menu, but I want to go home tonight. While I’m not sure anyone can guarantee some of the rarer releases in this era of bourbon, I can assure you there’s a good chance it has what you’re looking for. With a cool, knowledgeable staff, the barkeep and bourbon menu will keep your interest … and glass full. —Aaron Yarmuth #2. Bourbons Bistro #3. Haymarket Whiskey Bar

Best Margarita El Mundo El Mundo … Spanish for, “The world.” For over two decades, the once “little burrito shack” is now an awesome little Louisville eatery, making what all y’all say are the best margaritas. (Editor’s note: The “Real Margarita” is excellent. Dangerous, but excellent. Don’t drink two and drive.) —Aaron Yarmuth #2. Galaxie #3. Wild Rita’s Modern Mexican

Best Cocktail Garage Bar This delightful, former-filling-station-turned -bar on Market Street has long played host to cocktails, amid ambient string lights and two cars having a head-on collision. Garage Bar has staked its claim as a piece of quintessential Louisville since opening five years ago, and while its menu is often subject to change, Louisvillians and tourists alike have spoken: the Basil Gimlet is our favorite cocktail. Light, simple, and herbaceous with minimal ingredients limited to New Amsterdam gin, fresh-squeezed lime juice, and basil, the Basil Gimlet is perfect for brunch, with its signature pizzas or a game of air hockey. —Kelsey Westbrook #2. Butchertown Grocery #3. The Hub Louisville