The Tennessee Whiskey Trail 10-Day Itinerary
From mountains to whiskey and from blues to bluegrass, Tennessee has so much to offer that it is impossible to experience it all in one trip. As lovers of all things Tennessee, we thought we should give you a hand in planning your itinerary.
Day 1 — Nashville
Welcome to Music City, USA!
Nashville is a lively hub for everything music. The city is home to the Grand Ole Opry, Country Music Hall of Fame, and Johnny Cash Museum, as well as dozens of rollicking live music venues on Honky Tonk Row sounding everything from country to jazz.
After arriving and checking into your hotel, you’ll no doubt have a hankering for some good Nashville grub. In the mood for some local fast-casual? Try Nashville’s world-famous hot chicken at Party Fowl or Hattie B’s or some “Nashville-style” BBQ at Edley’s or Martin’s.
Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery is the revival of a pre-prohibition era family distillery that dates back to the mid-1800’s. Tours at Nelson’s Green Brier includes fascinating insights about the family’s storied past and resurrection of the age-old family distillery. Corsair Distillery, now with two locations, was founded by two childhood friends turned innovative distillers with pioneering flavor profiles like quinoa, tarragon and hibiscus.
No trip to Nashville would be complete without a stroll down Honky Tonk Row. Soak in the lively sights and sounds emanating from the live music venues along Broadway before turning in for the night.
Day 2 — Nashville
After a night on the town, you might be on the hunt for a hearty Southern breakfast. Try one of Nashville’s favorite hot-spots, like Biscuit Love in the Gulch or trek down to Loveless Café (23 miles south of downtown) for some scratch made biscuits ‘n’ gravy and down-home country cookin’.
After breakfast, you can spend the day checking out some of Nashville’s many famous music venues, such as the Ryman Auditorium or Grand Ole Opry, before heading to the historic Nations neighborhood for a coal-fired pizza at Nicky’s, followed by one of Pennington Distilling Company’s unique whiskies, such as its flavored rye whiskey or flagship Tennessee Sipping Cream. Explore even more of what the Nashville music scene has to offer with trips to the Country Music Hall of Fame, Musicians Hall of Fame, or Johnny Cash Museum.
To soak in every distillery greater Nashville has to offer, head northwest to Clarksville, just over a 30 minute drive from downtown Nashville, to check out Old Glory Distilling Co., a small batch artisan distillery right off of Interstate 24.
Before dinner, stop by one of Nashville’s newest distilleries, Nashville Craft Distillery, in the hip, new Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood and pop into the uber-modern speakeasy-style bar and lounge, Bastion, afterwards to keep the party going.
Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery
Pennington Distilling Company
Old Glory Distilling Co.
Nashville Craft Distillery
Day 3 — Knoxville
Ready to explore even more of the state? Head east on I-40 towards Knoxville, then turn south once you hit Lebanon for a scenic off-the-beaten path drive to visit an authentic watering hole, Jug Creek Distillery. The distillers here take small batch craftsmanship to a whole new level. The process of distilling, bottling and proofing is done entirely by hand using local grains and Tennessee honeycombs amid the beautiful scenery, rolling hills, and babbling creek that surrounds the property.
Drive east along Tennessee’s back-road highways for a pit stop at another small batch distillery, Short Mountain Distillery. Short Mountain is a great place to get a taste of organic Tennessee Whiskey or authentic Tennessee Moonshine along with lunch at their All-American style café serving up organic mash-fed beef burgers, fried chicken and waffles, and a one-of-a-kind moonshine brownie to top it all off.
Continue heading east toward Knoxville, the state’s third largest city behind Nashville and Memphis. Settle in near Market Square or Gay Street for a lively evening filled with music, scrumptious cuisine and a good dose of Southern hospitality. Make time to stop by the tasting room at Knox Whiskey Works near the heart of all the action in downtown Knoxville. You can sample four of their locally produced spirits, or kick back with some of their award-winning Old City Heirloom Corn Whiskey.
Just down the street, be sure to check out PostModern Distilling, an innovative, locally owned new distillery located in the historic Jackson Terminal. Specializing in spirits for the modern consumer. Crafting authentic yet edgy spirits for both experienced drinkers as well as those new to the spirits market. PostModern Distilling features an innovative tasting room and manufacturing facility on site, as yet another destination for locals and visitors to experience something new, from tastings and tours offered along with special events and activities at the nearly 4,000 square foot facility.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, try Sapphire, The Stock ‘n’ Barrel, Cru, Jig and Reel or Suttree’s, then wind down in the swanky, speakeasy-style lounge, Peter Kern Library, just off of Market Square at the Oliver Hotel.
Jug Creek Distillery
Short Mountain Distillery
Knox Whiskey Works
Day 4 — Pigeon Forge
Keep heading east toward Pigeon Forge by way of Thunder Road, a historic route that got its nickname as part of an undercover operation to nab moonshiners illegally producing that “good old mountain dew” during prohibition. Stop by Thunder Road Distillery, a distillery that pays homage to the legendary route and the whiskey runners’ spirit that inspired its namesake.
Continue south, then take a short detour to Tennessee Legend Distillery in Sevierville. From flavorful Tennessee whiskies to smooth, classic White Lightning Moonshine, this distillery captures the legendary recipes of the mountains with its distinct flavors. Extend your road trip a bit farther by traveling east to Newport to Cocke County Moonshine Distillery, where you can get a taste of 100% authentic Tennessee moonshine spiced with home-style flavors and real fruit juice.
Your next stop is Hartford, TN for a taste of Bootleggers Distillery’s whiskey, which may just be the smallest batch distillery in the nation with its small-batch products brewed in 25-gallon stills.
Once you get to Pigeon Forge, be sure to check out the Old Forge Distillery in The Old Mill area of town. These connoisseurs of great whiskey grind their own grains and use old-fashioned methods of distilling to craft some truly remarkable spirits. Since you’re on the cusp of the Smoky Mountains, trying some of the locally crafted moonshine is a must. If you’re brave enough, try some of their 1830 Original Unaged Corn varietal. It’s distilled with pure, local Smoky Mountain spring water which yields a slightly sweeter, smooth and well-balanced finish. After a few samples, hit the historic Old Mill Restaurant and shops next door, an 1830s-era gristmill on the banks of the Little Pigeon River transformed into a unique dining and shopping destination.
Still thirsty? Head over to the The Island in Pigeon Forge, a popular destination with many choices for entertainment, dining, shopping and lodging. Right along the entrance of the Island is the 6,000-square foot Ole Smoky Barn Distillery, that includes an onsite still and a tasting bar, with live bluegrass music performing on the outdoor stage daily.
Want to stretch your legs and get some fresh air? Head to Dollywood, named for the iconic country crooner, Dolly Parton. It’s a lot like Disneyland but with a lot more twang and Southern charm. The theme park boasts gasp-worthy roller-coasters, endless shows and entertainment opportunities plus a water park to boot.
Thunder Road Distillery
Tennessee Legend Distillery
Cocke County Moonshine
Old Forge Distillery
Old Smoky Barn Distillery
Day 5 — Gatlinburg
If you’re ready for a little more adventure, take the short 7.5-mile trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It’s home to some of the most unique eateries, attractions, and distilleries around, as well as stunning mountain scenery any time of year.
Start your day at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies or sail high above the treetops to the top of Crockett Mountain via the Gatlinburg Sky Lift to get a rare, 360-degree view of the breathtaking Smoky Mountains.
Take a stroll along the main parkway to soak in the eccentric sights and sounds of downtown Gatlinburg. Here you’ll find everything from Ripley’s “Believe It or Not” and “Haunted Adventure” attractions to the Guinness World Records Museum. Right along the main drag are stops at Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery, famous for its crisp Apple Pie Moonshine and Ole Smoky Mountain Java Moonshine, or stop by at Ole Smoky Whiskey Distillery, with plenty of spirits to taste like its Ole Smoky Salty Caramel Whiskey; Doc Collier Moonshine, where you can sample its English mountain spring water ‘shine; and Sugarlands Distilling Company, specializing in one-of-a-kind flavors like Tickle’s Dynamite Cinnamon, Maple Bacon and Dark Chocolate Coffee Cream.
Ole Smoky Moonshine
Ole Smoky Whiskey
Doc Collier Moonshine
Sugarlands Distilling Co.
Day 6 — Chattanooga
Now, put the car in drive and head southwest to Chattanooga, a beautiful city that is set along the Tennessee River in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Chattanooga is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream locale with rock climbing, hiking and white water rafting action abound. Check out some of the area’s popular attractions, including Ruby Falls, a visually stunning 145-foot underground waterfall set in an enormous cave.
Spend the afternoon shopping downtown or head to North Shore, a hip, yet historical district just north of the river. For those with a slight sweet tooth, you’ll want to check out the MoonPie General Store – a perfect stop for souvenirs for friends and family members back home!
To round out the day, head over to Stir for one of their critically acclaimed craft cocktails for happy hour. If you’re traveling with kids, Urban Stack is a great family-friendly burger joint that serves up mouthwatering fare including options like their Philly Cheese Steak Burger and North Caroline Chili Cheeseburger.
Chattanooga Whiskey Co.
Day 7 — Lynchburg & Tullahoma
Only a short drive away, you’ll also find more hidden countryside gems around Tullahoma, Tennessee. Start your day at the George Dickel Distillery hidden away in Cascade Hollow surrounded by 600 protected acres of forest and crystal-fresh springs. Since 1870, the distillery has been faithful to the recipe George A. Dickel created and perfected and they continue to craft George Dickel Whisky just as it was made then — Handmade the Hard Way. You’ll see grains being mashed, watch the spirit come off the stills, and the chill-charcoal mellowing process that gives Dickel that extra bit of smoothness.
While you’re in the area, stop by the world-famous Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg. Be sure to make time for their 1.5-hour Angel’s Share Distillery Tour. You’ll hear stories about their history and sample some of their limited-edition single barrel whiskeys.
By now, you’ve likely worked up an appetite! Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House in Lynchburg offers a truly unique dining experience. Southern lunch fare is served “family style” in an elegant, antebellum-style mansion. Be sure to make a reservation before you go, as this place fills up quickly! Or, another option for lunch, stop by Barrel House BBQ where pulled pork, ribs and chicken are served hot off the pit every day.
After lunch, head south towards Fayetteville to Southern Pride Distillery near the Alabama border. If you like moonshine, this is the place for you. Using an old family recipe that is fiercely protected, they use locally grown corn milled at the distillery to produce their premium distilled spirits.
Just an hour’s drive northwest is Tenn South Distillery, a perfect spot to try some of Tennessee’s best hand-crafted, small-batch artisan spirits, which are entirely produced and finished on-site.
George Dickel Distillery
Jack Daniel Distillery
Southern Pride Distillery
Tenn South Distillery
Day 8 — Franklin & Leiper’s Fork
You’ll definitely want to make a stop in the historic towns of Franklin and Leiper’s Fork near Nashville – home to some of the Civil War’s most dramatic battles that offer a rare glimpse into America’s storied past.
Start the morning with a fresh hot coffee at one of Franklin’s charming coffee shops, like Frothy Monkey or The Coffee House, then take a stroll around Franklin’s main square — a picturesque, 16-block area filled with boutique shops, bistros, and the historic Franklin Theatre. Spend the early afternoon sightseeing at historic venues, including Carnton Plantation and The Carter House, both of which were home to dramatic battle scenes during the Civil War and open daily for guided tours.
If you’re in the mood for some hand-crafted whiskey in a quiet, yet vibrant, town, head over to Leiper’s Fork Distillery – a destination that focuses on bringing back the lost art of small-batch distillation using premium, local ingredients. Just a mile west is downtown Leiper’s Fork, a charming stop where you can find farmers, tourists, songwriters, and country music stars alike roaming the streets. In the heart of downtown Leiper’s Fork is a 1950s restaurant and store called Puckett’s, which offers lively music and Southern staples from its kitchen and country store that is worth a visit.
Another gem amid the rolling hills and pastoral countryside is H Clark Distillery in Thompson’s Station, where their aim isn’t to make a lot of spirits, but to make a few really good ones. Be sure to try one of their small-batch creations that pays homage to the state of Tennessee, including its Tennessee Bourbon, Tennessee Dry Gin, Tennessee Rye Whiskey, Tennessee Black & Tan, New Whiskey and other seasonal spirits.
For dinner, you have plenty of restaurants to choose from throughout Williamson County. From upscale eateries like Cork & Cow and 55 South in downtown Franklin to a historic farm-to-table dining experience at Homestead Manor in Thompson’s Station, there’s no shortage of quality food around town.
Leiper’s Fork Distillery
H Clark Distillery
Day 9 — Memphis
For the last leg of your journey, make time to spend a couple of days amid the blues-filled streets of Memphis. With so many attractions, museums, restaurants and breweries, there is no shortage of activities to pair with some
good Tennessee whiskey.
Start your day with a guided tour of Graceland, a 13.8-acre estate that Elvis used to call home or check out the Memphis Rock & Soul Museum to learn about the evolution of rock, soul and the musical pioneers who made it all possible. While you’re in the neighborhood, stop by the Gibson Guitar Factory where you can watch these incredible instruments being made by hand.
Once you’ve experienced Memphis’ musical roots, grab some lunch for some mouthwatering fare. To truly experience the Memphis vibe, head over to the Arcade Restaurant, the oldest diner in Memphis for some home cooking. Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken is also a popular spot. Be sure to have some sweet tea handy. They serve it hot and spicy.
To wet your whistle, head over to Old Dominick Distillery near the banks of the Mississippi River for some new artisanal spirits. This family run distillery focuses on Tennessee-style whiskey and is housed in a 1920s-era warehouse that has been beautifully renovated to include two tasting rooms, 10,000 square feet of event space, and a 5,000-square-foot restaurant in the enormous 54,297-square-foot facility.
No Memphis experience would be complete without strolling down Beale Street where the party is always humming. Live music spills out of bars and restaurants all day and it’s a great way to experience the city’s vibrant personality.
To wind down after a busy day, stop by Central BBQ for some Memphis-style dry rub ribs and hot chicken wings. Or, if you’re in the mood for something different, Hog N’ Hominy might be more your style. They offer Southern-influenced Italian dishes and cocktails. Other notable options include Sweetgrass for farm to table Southern fare and Next Door which offers craft beers and eclectic comfort food. For something a little more sophisticated, Acre Restaurant is a local favorite for foodies. They offer modern American cuisine and hand-crafted cocktails.
Old Dominick Distillery
Day 10 — Memphis — Departure
We hope you enjoyed your experience on the TN Whiskey Trail! Throughout your adventure, we hope you have gathered a few bits of whiskey wisdom, a taste of Tennessee’s rich culture and storied history, and built a lifetime of memorable experiences along the way. Y’all come back now ya hear?!