Jack Daniel’s is known for being the best-selling whiskey brand in the world. It’s also known for its smoothness and (presumably because of that) being a great party drink but is that the best way to drink all Jack Daniel’s whiskeys? I decided to research this – in the only possible way, and here’s what I found.
The best ways to drink Jack Daniel’s whiskeys are:
|Whiskey||Best Way to Drink|
|Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7||Cocktails & Shots|
|Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rye||Cocktails & Shots|
|Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey||Cocktails & Shots|
|Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire||Cocktails & Shots|
|Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple||Cocktails & Shots|
|Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack||Neat / Cocktails|
|Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select||Neat|
|Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select||Neat / Cocktails|
|Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Rye||Neat / Cocktails|
|Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof||Neat / With Water|
Jack Daniel’s whiskeys are good (for a full review of them see the article I wrote about it here) but they differ when it comes to how to drink them. In the rest of this article, I’ll go into the best way to drink each of the above Jack Daniel’s whiskeys in more detail.
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Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 – Cocktails & Shots
The best way to drink Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 is in mixed drinks, cocktails and shots. This is because it’s relatively cheap (about $26), sweet and very smooth, so it’s not too expensive for anything but drinking neat, but it is something pleasant that will go down smoothly in a shot and blend well with the other ingredients in a cocktail.
This doesn’t mean that drinking Old No. 7 neat would be terrible, far from it. It does have good flavors, it’s just that there are not enough of them to make this an interesting daily sipper. It’s certainly worth drinking neat if you’re new to whiskey or to Jack Daniel’s or just like the flavor profile, but it’s lack of complexity means that for many whiskey drinkers doing so would be a bit boring, which is why the best way to drink Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 is in mixed drinks, cocktails and shots.
And what kind of person would I be if I didn’t offer some suggestions. Some of the best things to mix with Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 are:
|Coca-Cola||1 part Jack Daniel’s & 3 parts Coco-Cola|
|Apple juice||1 part Jack Daniel’s & 3 parts apple juice|
|Lemonade||1 part Jack Daniel’s & 3 parts lemonade|
|Ginger ale||1 part Jack Daniel’s & 3 parts ginger ale|
|Soda water||1 part Jack Daniel’s & 3 parts soda water|
Some popular whiskey cocktails that taste great with Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 include:
- Old fashioned
- Whiskey sour
- Hot toddy
You can also drink Old No. 7 Frank’s way. There was a lifelong friendship between Frank Sinatra and Jack Daniel’s (it’s probably part of the reason for the success of the brand) and as they say, wherever Frank went Jack was nearby. Unsurprisingly or should I say, appropriately, he also had his way of drinking Jack Daniel’s now known as the 3-2-1 Frank, which is sipping it with 3 ice cubes, 2 fingers of Jack Daniel’s and 1 splash of water.
Personally, I love the irony of everybody else drinking Jack Daniel’s Frank’s way.
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rye – Cocktails & Shots
The best way to drink Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rye is also in mixed drinks, cocktails and shots. This is because it’s another relatively cheap (about $27) sweet and very smooth whiskey.
The only difference between Tennessee Rye and Old No. 7 is the mash bill. Tennessee Rye is made with 70% rye, 18% corn and 12% malted barley whereas Old No. 7 is made with 80% corn, 8% rye and 12% malted barley, making the Tennessee Rye a spicier version of the Old No. 7.
This means it can be good to drink neat as a cheaper introduction to rye whiskeys but like Old No. 7, while the flavors are good there are not enough of them to make this an interesting daily sipper for most whiskey drinkers.
It also means that the Tennessee Rye can be used to spice up mixed drinks and cocktails. For example, while as mentioned above, ginger ale is a good mixer for Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7, it’s an even better mixer for something containing rye spice. As for cocktails, the Tennessee Rye can be used in those that are traditionally (Manhattan and Sazerac) or often (Old fashioned) made with rye whiskey.
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey – Cocktails & Shots
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey is not technically a whiskey as it’s only 35%ABV and contains caramel coloring. It’s more appropriately described as a ‘honey liqueur’ and I know that because it’s written on the bottle. It’s a blend of Old No. 7 and Jack Daniel’s own honey liqueur.
It’s a very honey-sweet, alcoholic drink that’s not something complex for sipping neat – unless you really like sweet drinks and don’t mind spending about $38 for them.
The best way to drink Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey is in shots, mixed drinks and cocktails especially those that contain something unsweet for balance.
Jack Daniel’s have created a lot of their own whiskey cocktails which you can find here, but one they have created especially for Tennessee honey is:
Tennessee Honey & Ginger Beer
- 2fl oz of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey
- Ginger beer
- Ice cubes
- Fill a high ball glass ¾ of the way with ice cubes
- Pour in the Tennessee Honey
- Fill the rest of the glass with ginger beer
- Add a lime wedge for garnish
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire – Cocktails & Shots
This is also not technically a whiskey but a blend of Old No. 7 and this time Jack Daniel’s own cinnamon liqueur, making it sweet, smooth with lots of cinnamon spicy heat.
Again, if you like lots of spice and cinnamon, you may like this neat but otherwise the best way to drink Jack Daniel’sTennessee Fire is in shots, mixed drinks (Tennessee Fire & Coke or apple juice is particularly good) and cocktails.
One cocktail Jack Daniel’s have created especially for this whiskey is:
Cinnamon Smashed Apple
- 1fl oz of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire
- 1fl oz sour mix or lemon-lime simple syrup
- Apple cider
- Fill a high ball glass with ice
- Pour in the Tennessee Fire
- Add in the sour mix or lemon-lime simple syrup
- Fill the rest of the glass with apple cider
- Garnish with fresh apple slices dusted with cinnamon spice
Jack Daniel’s also suggest something they call the Fire Extinguisher, where you follow up a shot of Tennessee Fire with a pint of hard apple cider to create an amazing balance of cinnamon and apple flavors and give the fiery cinnamon a smooth finish.
And of course, you can mix the Tennessee Fire with the Tennessee Honey (1 part of each) for a blend of sweet and spicy.
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple – Cocktails & Shots
The last of the not-technically-whiskeys, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple is a blend of Old No. 7 and Jack Daniel’s own apple liqueur. It’s basically whiskey and apple and once again if you like that pairing, you may want to try this neat.
However, you may find it’s not sweet enough to drink neat in which case you can add ice to bring out the sweetness from the apple or mix it with the Tennessee Honey. You may also find it has too much apple to drink neat in which case you can mix it with Old No. 7 to change the whiskey to apple ratio.
Otherwise, the Tennessee Apple is great for drinking in shots, other mixed drinks (particularly coke, lemonade and ginger ale) and cocktails.
One cocktail Jack Daniel’s have created especially for this whiskey is:
Jack Apple Fizz
- 2fl oz Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple
- 1/3fl oz lemon juice
- Soda water
- Fill a high ball glass with ice
- Pour in the Tennessee Apple
- Fill the rest of the glass with soda water
- Garnish with lemon
Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack – Neat / Cocktails
To remove unwanted flavors and contaminants, all Jack Daniel’s whiskeys are filtered through ten feet of charcoal made from sugar maple, before it’s put into barrels for maturing. Gentleman Jack is unique among Jack Daniel’s whiskeys as it’s also filtered afterwards, before being bottled.
Since it’s the charcoal filtering which gives Jack Daniel’s whiskeys their distinctive smoothness, being filtered twice makes Gentleman Jack even smoother. It does also tone down the flavors but for those who prefer that extra smoothness this is definitely good to drink neat.
For the same reason, Gentleman Jack is also great in cocktails because it’s extra smoothness will improve some of them. For example, in a whiskey sour the smoothness of Gentleman Jack will round out the tart flavor of the lemon.
Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select – Neat
Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select was created to pay tribute to Frank Sinatra who, as mentioned above, had a strong connection to the brand.
The best way to drink Sinatra Select is neat. This is for two reasons. The first is because it has more flavors than other expressions. This is due to it being aged in unique ‘Sinatra Barrels’ that have deep grooves carved into their staves, so that the whiskey has more exposure to the oak during maturation and can acquire more flavors than the standard Jack Daniel’s.
The second reason why neat is the best way to drink Sinatra Select, is because at about $175 a bottle you won’t want to waste a drop on shots and cocktails.
Of course, being a tribute to Frank Sinatra it does make sense to drink this whiskey Frank’s way, which as mentioned above, was sipping it with 3 ice cubes, 2 fingers of Jack Daniel’s and 1 splash of water. Although ironically, since this whiskey came out after his death, we have no idea how he would have drunk this more flavorful expression.
Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select – Neat / Cocktails
There are two ways to drink Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select and that is both neat and in a cocktail.
It’s great to drink neat because despite being a single barrel version of Old No. 7, it’s a big step up from it flavor wise. This is because all versions of this whiskey come from barrels stored in the uppermost part of the Jack Daniel’s warehouse, where increased changes in temperature cause the whiskey’s color to deepen and its flavors to become more intense.
Having said that, with a higher ABV than many of the other Jack Daniel’s expressions (47% inside the US and 45% outside where the usual ABV is 40%) you may find that you prefer adding a little water or ice as that can release more of the whiskey’s sweetness.
Additionally, since the Single Barrel Select is on the one hand better than the Old No. 7 but on the other hand not too complex or expensive, it’s also a great higher-quality whiskey for a higher-quality cocktail.
Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Rye – Neat / Cocktails
There are also two ways to drink Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Rye and that’s also both neat and in a cocktail.
It’s great to drink neat because like the Single Barrel Select has more flavors than Old No.7, the Single Barrel Rye has more flavors than the Tennessee Rye. This is also due to having a higher ABV (45% – Tennessee Rye is 40%ABV) and because all versions of this whiskey come from barrels stored in the uppermost part of the Jack Daniel’s warehouse, so they have more intense flavors.
Also, it has a little more sweetness and restraint than other rye whiskeys, which if you prefer that over your typical bombastic rye whiskey, will make it perfect for drinking neat.
Otherwise, it’s great for drinking in cocktails. Especially, as mentioned above, in those that are traditionally (Manhattan and Sazerac) or often (Old fashioned) made with rye whiskey.
Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof – Neat / With Water
This whiskey is both single barrel and barrel proof – meaning it’s bottled straight from the barrel at its full proof and not diluted as per usual. Bottles of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof are between 62.5% – 70%ABV.
That’s why it’s a step up from the Single Barrel Select which is itself a step up from the Old No. 7, and with more complex and delicious flavors the best way to drink Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof is neat, especially if you’re a fan of the Jack Daniel’s flavor profile, as this is it only more.
However, bear in mind it is a cask strength whiskey and while some people will find it easy to drink neat, others will want to add a little water to reduce the ABV to a more palatable level.
Also, since it’s not too expensive (about $63) and still not as complex as other whiskeys, it will be great in your favorite cocktails too.
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