ndestructible by a second world war Doodlebug bomb that destroyed most of his street, or years of his breakfast of champions, speedballs, undefeated by the “Man” worldwide may I add, including Nixon, here’s to the bloke that survived as he puts it several lifetimes and 50 years of rocking to make it to this ripe old age, yes the man hisself, Keef Richards, guitar god, eternal bad boy and inspiration for many a wannabee turns 69 today! How he did it remains a mystery, did he sell his soul for rock n roll? Quite likely or maybe its his love for the music that keeps him going , but what could be his elixir for longevity is bourbon whiskey. Ever notice that his other most oft carried accessory aside from his geetar and probably most turned to friend on the road was that Tennessee gentleman Jack Daniels? It is said that the medicinal properties of bourbon are many, as well as imparting an all over warm feeling of goodness there are claims that bourbon whiskey is a powerful stimulant to the heart, arteries and general nervous system, hardens lung tissue, counteracts malaria , tuberculosis and consumption. Taken properly it makes a person feel hopeful, buoyant and ambitious, case in point take a look at this video of the man guitar chopping a marauding zealot, he’s on fire! Yes, I like to think he owes a lot to gentelman Jack although in popular culture Jack is less a genteelman and seen more as the bad boy of spirits, he is the hard loving and living sidekick to many equally hard living characters. Am not a huge fan of the formula I have to admit, there are so many more Bourbon whiskeys on the market these days that are smoother and tastier , however the marketing campaign that launched Jack into the spotlight and made it become a favorite of not only Sir Richards but Sinatra and the Rat Packers and Paul Newman’s Hud is quite clever and worthy of a few words methinks on this glorious anniversary.
The distillery was founded in 1866 by one Jasper Newton Daniel a descendant of Scots-Irish immigrants, the recipe however dates back to 1850 or so, the only time it ceased being produced was during prohibition and World War II when corn was scarce. Up until the 1950s, sales of Jack Daniel’s grew almost entirely through word of mouth, boosted by occasional media attention. In 1951 Fortune published an article on Jack Daniel’s that chronicled its growth and appeal to such disparate figures as the 1950 Nobel Prize winner William Faulkner, British prime minister Winston Churchill, and Hollywood director John Huston. A similar 1954 article inTrue, one of the most popular magazines of its day, put even greater emphasis on its being the favorite drink of entertainment celebrities, such as Frank Sinatra, Jackie Gleason, and Ava Gardner. Sinatra called Jack Daniel’s “nectar of the gods,” and he sometimes wore a blazer with a patch for an imaginary “Jack Daniel’s Country Club.”
“The first modern ad for Jack Daniel’s,” says Nelson Eddy, the brand historian, “was a small black-and-white ad simply pointing people to read a magazine article.”
What is especially interesting about Jack Daniel’s beginning to advertise regularly is that demand then exceeded supply. “From the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s, it was on allocation, kind of like the rare Pappy Van Winkle line of whiskies today. The sales reps would go into an establishment and let them know how many bottles or cases they could have. When other companies would pull back from advertising, Jack Daniel’s spent money on ads to tell people they couldn’t get it.
The approach followed a 1955 one-page marketing plan drafted at the behest of Art Hancock, the brand’s first marketing director, and Winton Smith, its first national sales director, who envisioned a future based on the heritage that Jack Daniel defined. The one-page plan, Nelson says, “codified Jack Daniel’s as authentic, made by real people in an out-of-the-way place.” Their ads are distinctive not only for what they say but also for what they show: “black-and-white photography of these people in Lynchburg, Tennessee, who aren’t in smoking jackets, [but] work clothes they wear every day to make the whiskey.”
Ever since that one-page marketing plan, there’s been a singular focus on telling the lore and legend around Jack Daniel’s. The stories use Lynchburg and its people but the takeaway isn’t Lynchburg. It’s those universal messages about pride in being independent, making your own way in the world, and standing for something authentic, no surprise its a favorite of Keith’s. The special role of Lynchburg in the Jack Daniel’s brand experience led to opening the Jack Daniel Distillery to public tours. More than 200,000 people now visit the distillery every year. The irony of this story is that though Jack is the highest selling American whiskey in the world it is produced in a dry county where law prohibits its purchase except for commemorative editions such as its original No.7 blend.
While Jack Daniel’s remained available only on allocation through the 1970s, popular culture continued to associate it with maverick independence. Paul Newman’s antihero title character in the 1963 movie Huddrinks only Jack Daniel’s, and rock musicians of the 1960s and 1970s gravitated to it just as Frank Sinatra did. No celebrities have been photographed more often holding, or next to, a Jack Daniel’s bottle than our Keith or metal guru Slash. The biggest- selling song of 2010, “Tik Tok,” by Ke$ha, includes a verse about brushing her teeth with Jack Daniel’s. Nelson Eddy says, “When Hollywood scriptwriters want to use short-hand to show that a character is somebody to reckon with, they still put Jack Daniel’s in their hands.”
For July 4, 2011 Jack Daniel’s launched a huge, multimedia campaign to celebrate the independent American spirit. A poster from this campaign reads, “56 men signed the Declaration of Independence, one man put it in a bottle.” That about puts it in a nutshell!
Since Jack is such a versatile character, bonding with politicians as well as movie stars , rock gods and the girl next door alike I have put together a few cocktails to suit several occasions be it a summer barbie, the great seduction or a drink with the lads as well as one or two that Sir Keith might enjoy too. Here’s to you man and Happy Birthday!
Jack & Smokin Coke
2 oz Jack Daniels or other bourbon of choice
Bottle of Mexican coca cola ( better ingredients than the canned version)
Miracle Mile Chocolate Chilli bitters
tools: Poly science Smoking Gun ( see issue #005 on all things smoke) and hickory wood chips
Take a couple of swigs out of your bottle of coke to give you room to add the smoke. Take your wood chips and add them to your smoking gun per the instructions. Insert the tube from the gun into the top of the coke bottle and blast the coke with the hickory smoke for about a minute, take the tube out and cover the bottle opening with plastic wrap, swish bottle around , not too violently or you will end up with an explosion, allowing the smoke to permeate the cola. In a glass of your choice toss in some ice and your bourbon, add 4 drops of chilli bitters and top with your smokin coke. Because I love sweet and salt sometimes I like to add a smoked salt rim to my glass, up to you if you want to try it.
2 oz Jack Daniels, or again whiskey of choice
1 oz egg white
1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
1/2 oz simple syrup ( 1:1 ratio sugar to water)
2 dashes Miracle Mile sour cherry bitters
tiny pinch of fine salt ( brings out the caramel flavors of your bourbon)
throw it all into a Boston shaker and dry shake without ice for about 15-20 seconds, this will emulsify the egg white and wake up its wee molecules to make them light and airy. Add your ice and shake again for about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupette or sour glass, no need for garnish it has enough going on.
2oz Jack Daniels
1/2 oz agave syrup
3/4 oz John D Taylor’s Velvet Falernum
1 oz fresh lime juice
2 oz pineapple juice
4 drops Bitter End Morrocan Bitters (drops not dashes, this is strong stuff mind)
Corral all your ingredients into a Boston shaker with ice and shake for 30-40 seconds or until you get a nice frost on your shaker. Strain into an ice filled vessel, garnish with mint sprig.
The Right Honorable
1 1/2 oz Jack Daniels or whiskey of choice
1 1/2 oz Cocchi Americano
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
dash Angostura bitters
lemon peel to garnish
Add everything except the peel to mixing glass and stir for a good 40 seconds with ice until the glass is good and cold, strain into a chilled coupette glass , spritz with the lemon oil from peel and garnish with the twist.
A note on the Groupies
Luxardo Maraschino is one of the very few liqueurs in the world produced by distillation. It is obtained from the marasca, a sour cherry variety exclusively cultivated by Luxardo. The distillate is allowed to mature for two years in Finnish ash vats – a wood that does not lend its color even after many years of maturing – and is then diluted and sugared. Though similarly named, this Maraschino liqueur bears little resemblance to the unnaturally colored cherries that come on your sundaes – this cherry liqueur is complex, aromatic and balanced.
Serve Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur neat or on the rocks as an after-dinner drink, with iced tonic water, or in a variety of cocktails. Drinks that can include Maraschino liqueur as an ingredient are the Mary Pickford, Cuba Libre, Daiquiri, Screwdriver, Derby Royal, York Special, Dewey Flip, Cider Cobbler, Gilmore Punch and Martinez (the Martini’s predecessor). This is a must-have for all classic cocktail enthusiasts.
John D Taylor’s Velvet Falernum has limitless possibilities in mixology. This unique liqueur, displaying flavors of lime, almond, vanilla, ginger, and clove, is an essential component in Caribbean cocktails including the Mai Tai and Zombie.
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