When’s the last time you saw a fortune-telling, Zoltar-themed still? Never, right?
Road trip to the “thriving metropolis” of Ludlow, Kentucky (pop. 4,500), just southwest of Cincinnati on the other side of the Ohio River, and you can. Here, quirky little Second Sight Spirits sits pretty in a storied brick storefront with lots of tales to tell.
While working on production crews for several major Las Vegas shows, owners and long-time friends Carus Waggoner and Rick Couch moonlighted as hobby distillers. They eventually attracted the interest of the Las Vegas Distillery founder in nearby Henderson, where they learned the ins and outs of the industry, along with how to construct a still.
When the duo decided it was time to head home to Kentucky in 2014, they set their sights on building out their own magic-themed operation, complete with a DIY still built mostly from repurposed materials they scored off Craig’s List and through personal connections—a condenser, copper kettles, and scrap metal. The result is a whimsical, yet fully functional, apparatus that looks like a cross-legged seated Zoltar oracle complete with turban and crystal ball. Waggoner hopes to add an actual fortune-telling function using tokens in the near future.
In the meantime, Second Sight continues to attract a following for its line of flavored rums, liquors, and bourbon, in addition to hosting guests in its cocktail lounge-style facility. The product lineup includes an Oak Eye Kentucky bourbon and a sweet Queen Mab hazelnut liquor that plays perfectly in coffee or over ice cream. Rum fans have their hands full exploring the un-barreled, bourbon-barreled, spiced, dark and smoked cherry varieties.
Tours of the distillery (with tastings, of course) are available Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Although the products are surprisingly affordable, shipping isn’t yet available. However, with picturesque glimpses of the river peeking through the rolling landscape and historic homes, it’s certainly worth the scenic northern Kentucky drive to discover this quirky little outlier.