This Road Trip Route Is Great For Discovering America's Best Distilleries

Need something to get you in the "spirit" for a great road trip? Why not plan a trip to discover some of America's best distilleries? The U.S. is home to a variety of distilleries, each producing unique spirits. So, are we sending you to Kentucky, home to the self-proclaimed bourbon capital of the world in Bardstown? Or perhaps Tennessee, another state famous for its whiskeys? Nope, we're talking about Route 66.

Route 66 is well-known for the incredible landscapes it passes through and the quirky roadside attractions you can enjoy. But distilleries? "It doesn't even pass through Kentucky," we hear you cry! We promise that along the roughly 2,400-mile stretch of Route 66, there are heaps of distilleries to discover. Whiskey is ever-present, but you'll also discover gin, vodka, and even rum during this road trip. As you make your way from Chicago to Los Angeles, you'll experience the changing landscapes and history of the areas through the spirits. 

However, distilleries and driving don't exactly make the best bedfellows. We're sure this goes without saying, but don't enjoy the fruits of these distilleries and then get back behind the wheel. Either plan an overnight stop nearby or have a designated driver who can stay on the straight and narrow.

Midwestern tipples

If you're starting your journey in Chicago, your first stop should be at Koval. You can take a tour of the distillery, visit the tasting room, and pick up some spirits to go. Koval is a favorite among Redditors on the r/Chicago forum, and it also gets a mention in the r/Gin forum for — you guessed it — its excellent gins.

Next state, next stop! In Missouri, head to St. Louis and check out one (or all) of the great distilleries here. The r/StLouis forum praises local distilleries, including Still 630 and Switchgrass Spirits. Google reviewers loved the informative tours and the bourbon at both. If you want to try local vodka, St. Louis Distillery, home of Cardinal Sin, is also a favorite.

When you've dragged yourself out of bed the next morning, it's time to get back on the road. But you're not leaving Missouri yet. After you pass through Springfield, plan some time to take a detour south of Route 66. Tall Pines Moonshine Distillery in Noel has 5/5 on Google reviews. Visitors love the tours and the products, which include fun flavors like huckleberry and pine sap.

The spirit of the South and Southwest

Power through Kansas and head into Oklahoma. First stop: Red Fork Distillery in Tulsa. Here, you'll find bourbon, whiskey, vodka, and moonshine. One Redditor in the r/Tulsa forum and a Google reviewer really liked the apple pie whiskey here. Continue toward Oklahoma City and swing north to Guthrie and the whimsical world of Wander Folk Spirits. Try their award-winning Garden Society gins and vodkas and Same Old Moses bourbons.

Shoot across into New Mexico and stop in Albuquerque to add a Southwestern flavor to your distillery road trip. Albuquerque Distilling is a top pick in Reddit's r/Albuquerque forum and on Google. You can try whiskeys, moonshine, rum, and blue agave tequila here. Another favorite is Left Turn Distilling, where you can get your hands on NM Blue Corn Whiskey and La Luz Verde vodka, which contains local green chiles.

The best of the West

Stop at Grand Canyon Brewing Company in Flagstaff, which added a distillery in 2017. You can try a range of local spirits, including whiskeys, gins, and prickly pear vodka. Then, in Kingman, make a stop at the Desert Diamond Distillery. Their multi-award-winning spirits include rum, whiskey, and vodka. Visitors who reviewed the place on Google loved the friendly owners and had high praise for the drinks, especially the agave rum and moonshine.

Finally, drive into the final state on your trip, California. If you're still thirsty by the time you reach your end point of Los Angeles, there are a few distilleries to check out. You'll find the aptly named Los Angeles Distillery, where you can take a tour and try their award-winning whiskey and vodka. And finally, there's the more inventively named Dead of Night Distillery. It gets five-star reviews on Google for its gins. You can try more unusual spirits like limoncello, amaro, and aquavit here, too.