A Taste of The B-Line with Kathrine Nero: Tousey House Tavern

Have you heard of the B-Line? It’s Northern Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail. meetNKY, the Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau, asked me to highlight some of the hotspots, because, frankly, the B-Line might just be NKY’s best kept secret.

Kentucky and bourbon go hand in hand. And Northern Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail, the B-Line, brings the two together in perfect harmony.

If you haven’t heard of The B-Line, it’s a group of bars, restaurants and distilleries that make and serve bourbons of all kinds.

OK – bars and distilleries make sense. But restaurants? Stay with me.

For almost 200 years, the Tousey House Tavern has welcomed visitors – as a home, a tavern, a hotel, and now, a very popular stop on the B-Line.

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200 years of history, and almost as many bourbons

The history is evident as you walk in … and so is an impressive bourbon selection.

“We have nice bourbons, rare bourbon flights, the whole 9 yards,” said Eric Morehead, the general manager of Tousey House Tavern.

That’s a hallmark of B-Line restaurants – each must have 50 or more bourbons, and the Tousey House passed that threshold long ago.

Patrons who want their B-Line passport stamped are impressed that a small bar room can pack such a punch.

“They come in and (say) ‘Oh, that’s very nice that you have flights that you can offer. You have different styles of pours, different cocktails, different ways that you can present these specific bourbons – and then on top of all that, we have antique style bourbons … 80s, 90s, there’s even a 1941 bourbon we offer,” Morehead said.

The bourbon doesn’t stop there. It finds its way into the kitchen as well.

“The chef is very big in making bourbon reductions, demiglazes, bourbon shallot cream on the chicken thighs we offer. That’s one of the fan favorites.” 

A newly-covered outdoor patio area is another. It’s perfect for rainy days or sunny afternoons.

Back inside, the history and the local heritage of the Tousey House is evident, even in its unique bar menu.

This lovely concoction is called the Erastus Tousey, named for the first owner of the Tousey House in 1822.

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A simple manhattan gets the Tousey House Tavern treatment with a few upgrades, including antique formula vermouth.

“It accentuates the bourbon in the cocktail,” Morehead explains.

Crowdsourcing bourbons on The B-Line

The Tousey House back bar, packed with bourbons of all sorts, is ever changing, with a lot of input from the customers themselves.

“I mean some of them know bourbon better than we do,” Morehead said. Patrons will come in and suggest bourbons they’ve had elsewhere, or ones they’d like to try. “It’s wonderful … and they get to be a part of what we do.”

Morehead says being on the B-Line creates a community, among customers, and also among other B-Line businesses.

“People come in all the time they want to get their ticket stamped, and we always ask ‘Where else have you been?’ Morehead said. That’s when he and his staff become tour guides of sorts. “We’re like, you have to try this place. You have to head down to Covington, head to Newport, head to Bellevue, try out the Boone County Distillery right up the street. Enjoy the entire B-Line. Maybe you’re getting Tousey House today, another place tomorrow. You get a different sense, a different feel of what Northern Kentucky, what the B-Line has to offer.”

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Every stop has its own flair, so check them out for yourself. Grab your official B-Line passport here, and, as they say, find your sipping point.

Check out video from the historic Tousey House in my new social media series, A Taste of the B-Line with Kathrine, sponsored by meetNKY.