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s p r i n g 2 0 1 7 | 3 1 Jack Daniel's is the ultimate American whiskey. Loved by Slash and Sinatra alike, no other spirit has been so beloved throughout our country's history. Founded in 1866, when there were still only 37 stars on the American flag, Jack Daniel's has been a ubiquitous staple behind every bar since. Whether it's Old No. 7 in a cocktail or Gentleman Jack on the rocks, this classic's versatility is unparalleled. We met with four chefs from all over the country—Los Angeles, Atlantic City and Jack Daniel's very own hometown of Lynchburg, Tennessee—as well as with Jack Daniel's Brand Ambassador Eric "ET" Tecosky, to find out how the whiskey's versatility extends to its uses in the culinary world. From Southern comfort food to steakhouses to fine dining, we found that, like its ubiquitous nature behind the bar, Jack Daniel's has a place in every kitchen. Understanding Jack With so many whiskey brands available in the U.S., it can be hard to distinguish between them. But what makes Jack Daniel's shine, beyond its storied history, is the charcoal mellowing—also known as "The Extra Blessing" around Lynchburg—that the whiskey goes through, something Jack Daniel himself learned as a young boy. Jack is composed of a mash consisting mostly of corn, and before it is aged in new American white oak barrels, the 140-proof distilled whiskey goes drop-by-drop through handcrafted charcoal. Brand Ambassador ET notes: "By mellowing the whiskey through charcoal, the process allows for other flavors to shine through, like banana, butterscotch and vanilla." It's this process that ET thinks makes Jack Daniel's such a perfect pairing with—and in—food. ET explains, "It adds great flavor to a variety of meats, soups, stews, sauces or even desserts." ET posits, "Before celebrity bartenders, there were celebrity chefs. Chefs used to be the ones dictating pairings to bartenders, but after the rise of cocktail culture, the chef and bartender began to communi- cate more, matching the food with cocktails instead of the other way around. This led to the rise of spirits in cooking. It's still an emerging field, one that allows for innovation with spirits, in a 'What else can I do with this beyond cocktails?' sense." Chef Eric Greenspan may be well-known by those who love to watch the Food Network, but when he was at U.C. Berkeley studying business, he was hired as a prep chef because he "knew how to press the minute button and start the microwave." His cooking prowess grew considerably after attending Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and during a stage at world-famous El Bulli for six weeks. These days, Greenspan has celebrity chef credentials and runs three res- taurants in Los Angeles. "I'd like to think my cuisine bridges the gap between sophisticated and comfort food," Greenspan muses. "I want people to relate to it, but I also want to expand their horizons . . . I call it 'vibrant classic American.'" Greenspan's fondness for contemporary comfort food shines in his dish of pork belly with horseradish cream, herb spaetzle and apples. The pork belly is glazed in Jack Daniel's, apple cider and vinegar. Then it's slow-roasted and salt-rubbed. The pork belly is cut, then given a quick deep-fry. "I used to cook on Jack Daniel's, but now I cook with Jack Daniels," Greenspan laughs. "It's got a great earthiness, and its caramel notes are better than sugar when you're using it in food. To me, it's a spirit that's synonymous with my style of cook- ing, another American classic. It's about making people comfortable. We don't want to keep people out; we want to bring them in." Jack Daniel's Brand Ambassador Eric "ET" Tecosky and Chef Eric Greenspan, owner of the Roof on Wilshire in Los Angeles, CA. PHOTO: CAL BINGHAM Chef Greenspan's dish of glazed pork belly with horseradish cream, herb spaetzle and apples. ERIC GREENSPAN of The Roof on Wilshire in Los Angeles, California PHOTO: CAL BINGHAM

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