The 6 Best Boozy Train Excursions for 2021

Hop on board these wine, beer and spirits-fueled adventures — including one with moonshine.

July 19, 2021 6:15 am
The Royal Scotsman train, which hosts four-night Scotch Malt Whisky Tours
The Royal Scotsman train, which hosts four-night Scotch Malt Whisky Tours
David Noton / Belmond

Even though I rarely use the Long Island Rail Road, my occasional island forays always involved a stop on the platform’s now sorely missed bar carts. There’s just something about booze and trains that pairs well together — something about the mix of inviting scenery, elevated tipples, comfy seats and the motion of the train makes it … well, better than traveling by car, that’s for sure.

Thankfully, after a 2020 that canceled everything, there are once again plenty of upscale locomotives (far nicer than the LIRR) that are once again offering scenic tours and adult beverages.

Below, six 2021 boozy train options, with the caveats that 1) we are still in a pandemic, 2) these trains have rules you need to follow and 3) these trips could be altered/moved/canceled based on the state of the outside world.

Jose Cuervo Express

These daylong trips from Guadalajara include an on-board tasting, cocktails, food, a stop in the town of Tequila, a tour of the agave fields and more — plus, there are four different classes of seating on the train, including a new Elite status. (There’s a like-minded Tequila Herradura Express train, too, though it looks to be on hiatus at present.)

My Old Kentucky Dinner Train

A 2.5-hour train excursion through Central Kentucky in two restored 1940s vintage dining cars, where you’ll enjoy a four-course meal and a bourbon tasting hosted by a master distiller. Reopening in August, but when we checked, the first available Bourbon Excursion date was in late December. 

French Lick Scenic Railway

Ride through Indiana and taste different bourbons — all paired with food — on-board this vintage railway, which actually doubles as a railroad museum. Available again starting in September.

Belmond Royal Scotsman

On these Scotch Malt Whisky tours, you get to enjoy candlelit dinners and live ceilidhs once you’re back on board. The trains are designed for luxury — you’ll have a private cabin, there’s a spa, guests are limited to around 40 per trip and the excursion includes a free membership to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

Napa Valley Wine Train

Located in Northern California, these half-day train excursions include a meal, tastings, vineyard tours and more, all on board restored vintage early-20th century Pullman cars.

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Beer, wine and moonshine (!) tastings are available on these steam- and diesel-powered trains, which ride through the countryside of Western North Carolina.


Join America's Fastest Growing Spirits Newsletter THE SPILL. Unlock all the reviews, recipes and revelry — and get 15% off award-winning La Tierra de Acre Mezcal.