September is Bourbon Heritage Month, and aficionados of the amber restorative have a place to celebrate on the Central Coast. Zaca Creek, Buellton’s storied inn and tavern, will mark the occasion over two weekends, Friday-Saturday, September 17-18 and 24-25.
Both Fridays kick off with a tasting seminar, in which guests will sample a variety of delicious drams, explore a range of distinctive flavor profiles, and come to appreciate the finer points of small-batch bourbon production, from stave selection to time spent in the barrel.
“I want people to have that educational experience to really understand the intricacies of why these decisions were made and how they lend themselves to the final product,” says Zaca Creek’s co-owner and general manager, Stephen Villa. “This can open your eyes and expand your palate to something completely different.”
Saturdays start with a bluegrass cocktail hour featuring live music and an inventive collection of bourbon-based tipples. And as a tribute to the spirit’s Kentucky roots, all four evenings are capped off by a decadent Southern-themed dinner, served either in the tavern’s dining room or poolside near the property’s stunning rock waterfall.
“We want to bring people together and bond over the common enjoyment of great bourbon,” explained Villa. “So we’re trying to bring that Kentucky feel to the Santa Ynez Valley.”
Zaca Creek, which boasts one of the most expansive and impressive spirits lists in the county, is pleased to offer guests the opportunity to taste its very own branded bourbon, born from a collaboration with Maker’s Mark. “We came up with our own unique style,” said Villa, “which I wanted to be able to drink neat with a cube and maintain full flavor, but also, when you add it to a cocktail, it doesn’t disappear.”
Event attendees wishing to stay at the inn will enjoy a special room rate of $300 (not inclusive of tax and gratuity) per night. Guests who book both nights will be gifted a bottle of Zaca Creek bourbon.
“Tomorrow, you can get on the Peloton or hit the gym,” Villa said, “but tonight’s about enjoying yourself. It’ll be an evening to remember.”