The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2018

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74  /  the tasting panel  /  june 2018 hether it's a Chanel dress or a Chevy truck, a classic is a classic. In the world of time-honored spirits, Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey helms a league of its own after gracing glasses in both long-established cocktails and original creations for more than 150 years. But it's not just this "time served" that's earned Jack Daniel's its icon status—it's also about consistency from bottle to bottle and ubiquity on bar shelves throughout the world. Jack Daniel's U.S. Ambassador Eric "ET" Tecosky has seen it all where his favorite whiskey brand is concerned— and he's captured much of it in his Jack's Black Book series of cocktail recipe compilations (Volume III drops this month). "American whiskey is hav- ing its day in the sun and that shines a light on what makes Jack Daniel's so special," Tecosky says. "Its distinctive process creates unique flavors you won't find in other whiskies, and that uniqueness can be enjoyed both on its own or in a cocktail." Vanilla, lemon, sours, smashes, Old Fashioneds, and Manhattans: Jack loves it all, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for experimentation. While he prefers his Old No. 7 served simply ("Jack rocks, soda water back, no ice"), Tecosky knows all too well from his travels that bartenders and mixologists love getting creative with the entire Jack Daniel's portfolio. He also knows that since the brand's legacy spans more than a century and a half and sees distribution in more than 170 countries, there likely isn't a bartender alive today who hasn't held that instantly recogniz- able black-labeled bottle at some point in their careers. Tecosky recently hosted a Rat Pack– themed gathering of beverage profes- sionals at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas that he aptly called the Sinatra Supper Club (the event will pop up next at New Orleans' Tales of the Cocktail in July). He opined that if unofficial Jack Daniel's ambassador Frank Sinatra could have met Jack Daniel himself, they probably would have gotten along famously as they were both "true gentlemen." TONY ABOU-GANIM Aka "The Modern Mixologist"; author of two books; and Partner in Libertine Social at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, NV Jack' s Black Book Appearance: Featured in Vol. I with his "Tennessee Highball" made with Jack Daniel's Single Barrel On What Makes Jack Daniel 's a Classic: "I don't think there's a more iconic American brand—and I'm not just talking spirits, I mean brand—than Jack Daniel's Old No. 7. It was on every back bar since I started bartend- ing in 1980, and it continues to be on every back bar in America today. It is a brand that has heritage, has a story. Tennessee whiskey is a separate animal from bourbon or rye whiskey—it hasn't really changed. It has survived the test of time over and over again and always comes out on top . . . It's as American as apple pie and baseball." What He Drinking: "I love that the expressions have expanded, because I never reached for Jack Daniel's [Old No. 7] for a cocktail application. I like it just on its own, maybe with ice, maybe with water. Then Gentleman Jack came along—a little bit softer with the double-charcoal filtration rounding it out, but also a little more complex so it lends itself to cocktails like the Manhattan." Jack Daniel 's is Like . . . "It's a roar—but in a very loving way. I'm a big Harley Davidson guy. When I ride my bike, yes, it's powerful, it's rumbling, but it's still very seductive. That's what I find Gentleman Jack to be: seductive. The rough edges have been softened, whereas Old No. 7 is a little rowdier." Author and legendary bartender Tony Abou-Ganim says one would be hard- pressed to find a brand more distinctly American than Jack Daniel's. by Xania V. Woodman / photos by Mona Shield Payne

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