Sugar Whiskey Sis Embraces Kentucky’s Moonshine History

Agave & Rye owners debut a next-door moonshine-tasting bar in Covington.

There’s a new bar in town, and it’s serving up bites and beverages as rebellious as the Appalachain spirit that inspired it. From the owners of Agave & Rye, a Covington hot spot for tacos and tequila, comes Sugar Whiskey Sis, a lively addition to the Madison Avenue/West Seventh Street corner.

Courtesy Sugar Whiskey Sis

Prior to opening as Sugar Whiskey Sis, owner and restaurateur Yavonne Sarber ran pastry and coffee shop Crema & Co. in the location as she worked on the moonshine bar concept, where she now offers her take on Southern-inspired food as well as desserts and espresso-based and nonalcoholic drinks.

Boasting more than 50 moonshines from several brands, with flavors like key lime, blackberry, peppermint, apple crisp, and more, the bar shelves hold enough moonshine flavors to satisfy many tastes. “A lot of times, people will come over from Agave after dinner and have moonshine and dessert,” Sarber says.

Photograph by Emma Jenkins

We tried the Hell Ya chicken sandwich, one of the standout items. The sandwich is piled high with house-brined fried chicken, pimento cheese, pineapple slaw, bacon, barbecue sauce, and pickles. If you ask us, it’s Man v. Food worthy.

For a lighter, shareable option, the poke tuna cups are a great pick. Four wontons are filled with ahi tuna and a pickled carrot and celery slaw. The portion size will leave you with enough room for cake—or maybe another glass of moonshine.

Courtesy Sugar Whiskey Sis

While dining or drinking in, it’s impossible not to notice the abstract portraits painted along the walls, giving the room a psychedelic feel. Reimagined versions of Mona Lisa, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, and other historic figures are decked out in colorful prints, representing the bar’s motto, as the owner puts it, “where Versace meets moonshine.”

“We take something that’s very proper (spirit tasting) and basically flip it up on its head,” Sarber says.

The space has private event suites in the upper level where guests can enjoy menu items from both Agave & Rye and Sugar Whiskey Sis. The main dining room seats 20, with an additional room that seats six. So whether you’re capping off your evening with a beverage or planning a party with family and friends, Sugar Whiskey Sis has you covered.

Sugar Whiskey Sis, 633 Madison Ave., Covington,

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