Have you ever had one of those ideas where you think “this is definitely going to score me some bonus points?” this date night totally did that for me.
Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. was the first craft bourbon and whiskey distillery to be founded in North Texas. Sitting south of downtown Fort Worth on the grounds of the former Glen Garden Country Club on 112 acres, Whiskey Ranch offers not only beautiful views of downtown but also a tasting tavern where you can enjoy a cocktail from a Master Mixologist, a gift shop where you can grab a bottle of whiskey or (and) bourbon to take home with you and much more! This holiday season Whiskey Ranch is doing something extra special though – Holidays at TX Whiskey Ranch is a month long celebration of the season that is perfect for getting into the holiday spirit.
Last Friday George and I made the drive to Whiskey Ranch for the opening night of Holidays at TX Whiskey Ranch. I do have to stop and give credit to our sweet Instagram follower Carly though who notified us of the upcoming event, this gave us time to RSVP (general admission is FREE but they do require you RSVP for the day you wish to come) and get our name on a list for a tour of the distillery (which I highly suggest you do! Ticket are $10 and includes a cocktail ticket and a donation to the Soldiers’ Angels).
Driving up to the entrance we were greeted and instructed to follow the pathway up to the main campus and to check in at the guest center in order to get our evening started. Walking into the guest center was like peeking into a grown up equivalent of Santa’s Workshop as the warmly lit Ranch Store which housed holiday edition bottles of whiskey and bourbon awaited us. Since we had RSVPd online we skipped the line and were given our wristbands which allowed for us to join the 7pm distillery tour and our 2 free drink tickets (you are given the option to purchase more drink tickets for $8 – and yes we took the nice ladies offer on this).
Upon getting all checked in we had roughly 30 minutes to kill before meeting back at the guest center for our tour. Naturally, we started in the Ranch Store as it pretty hard to not automatically be drawn in; as mentioned earlier Whiskey Ranch released limited edition holiday bottles of both the TX Whiskey and TX Bourbon this year, along with that they are offering 5 different nights where you can have your bottle engraved for free.
Side note ladies and fellas – this makes for an excellent Christmas gift!
George decided on a bottle of the TX Bourbon and we dropped it off at the engraving station after checking out. The engraving station is open until 8pm but they will leave your newly engraved bottle on a table waiting for you so that you can continue on with your evening and avoid having to play “pass the heavy bottle of bourbon” all evening with your partner.
As you walk out of the Ranch Store towards the bar you will find yourself in one of my favorite parts of the venue – two long stretches of hallways filled with whiskey barrels floor to ceiling. There is something very cozy and eclectic about this stretch of the venue that gave me this warm and giddy feeling (I tried typing my exact feelings about this and honestly warm and giddy were the only words that I could use to describe how I felt). When we finally made it into the TX Tavern George and I both decided on the Pecan Old Fashion – they have a combination of cold and hot cocktails to choose from. This drink offered a strong whiskey flavor but had a sweet and pecan finish that I really liked.
With our drink in hand we decided we better get some food in us – the tour also was going offer a tasting and an empty stomach full of bourbon and whiskey wasn’t the adventure we had in mind for this evening. Whiskey Ranch does not serve food but there are food trucks that park at the front which allows for you to get food and still enjoy the venue. This evening we had two food options to choose from – pizza or street tacos and being a lover of all tex mex food we landed on the street tacos. After finding a place to sit and stuff our faces with food we, rushed to meet up with our tour group.
Our tour began in the Still House which is where the magic happens at Whiskey Ranch. When you walk in the door you are welcomed with a warm yeast smell, a giant copper column standing 50 feet tall, custom-made copper doubler and metal pipes connecting it all together. We began on the second floor though where we were guided through the entire fermentation and distilling process. This is also where we were able to taste test the whiskey and bourbon, very rarely do I ever drink whiskey or bourbon straight and man did it wake me up! I was totally the girl in the back coughing after every sip – but damn is that stuff smooth!
If you do not sign up to do the tour – they do offer free tastings that are first come first serve and you can sign up for that in the Ranch Store when you arrive.
As we continued our tour we were directed to the very large bubbling pot of fermenting yeast. We learned that the pot was bubbling purely because of the yeast eating the sugar, the heat coming off of the yeasty foam also was not from a heat source – just from good ol chemical reactions. Our tour guide told us that we could actually dip our finger into the sludge and taste it if we wanted to – which George totally did, his feedback was that is tasted like warm yeasty water, so pretty much exactly what it is!
Heading back downstairs the last stop of the tour led us to 5 jars which showed what the liquor looked like at each stage in the aging process. I found this part to be very interesting as I didn’t realize the liquor was actually clear at the time the aging process started – duh Ashton, ever heard of White Lightening?! Aka moonshine??
Once the tour wrapped up came the main event of the opening night of Holidays at Whiskey Ranch – the lighting of the 30 foot Whiskey Barrel Christmas tree. Walking into the courtyard everyone was gathered in front of a fire which faced not only downtown Fort Worth but also the hallowed barrel tree.
A countdown was given an in a burst of Christmas celebration the tree was lit and “snow” began to fill the air. It was definitely my favorite part of the evening with Christmas music playing in the background, snow falling from the sky and getting to experience it with my favorite guy.
As we headed back into the TX Tavern we were ready to warm up with a “hot” cocktail and ended up getting the S’mores Hot Chocolate – which I cannot recommend enough especially if you love chocolate. I have since made this at home because who would have thought of mixing hot chocolate and whiskey?! I have a lot to learn obviously. We also stopped and got a sweet treat from Sweet Lucy’s Pies who was featuring a Whiskey Pecan Pie that we just had to try. Don’t judge us on this also – we got a small one to share…
The final event of this evening led us to the Oak Room where Mike and the Moonpies were going to finish off the night. Seating filled up quickly but we were able to find a spot tucked in the back that still gave us a great view of the stage and allowed us to dig into our pecan pie.
I couldn’t help but feel so lucky to be where I was as the night came to a close. I know not every night can be this extravagant with your babe but when you have those nights sprinkled in that truly take you out of your routine they are special.
Our evening at Whiskey Ranch had so much to offer. I truly would put this on your list of “must dos” whether it is this holiday season or just scheduling a tour – you will not be disappointed!