Drinking whiskey straight has always had an air of raw masculine energy but that doesn’t mean you can’t pair a glass of Jack Daniels Old nº7 with a meal. After all, its punchy, smoky, and sweet bouquet match and enhance the rich, complex flavors of so many foods. The real question is: What is the perfect Jack Daniel’s and food pairing?
But not all foods can stand up to the strength of Jack Daniels. If you don’t pair your whiskey correctly, it couldn’t overpower your meal and waste your whiskey. Foods should be paired with Jack Daniels so that neither the flavor of the food nor the strength of the alcohol overrides the other. Instead, the flavors should complement and elevate each other’s complexities. Alternatively, you can pair contrasting flavors to bring out the unique elements of both. You just have to know which food work best.
In this guide, we’ll go through six of the best matches of Jack Daniel’s and food pairing. We’ll explain why they work so well and what you can expect from pairing their flavors. We’ll even give a brief rundown on how you can prepare the foods to maximize the experience. Let’s get drinking!
Jack Daniel’s and Food Pairing – 6 Matches to Try on
Pairing Jack Daniels with Grilled Steaks
It doesn’t get manlier than this. The slight tinge of smoke created by adding charred hickory to Jack Daniels’s barrels matches the smoky fire flavor of a grilled steak to create a punch of meaty umami. The natural sweetness imparted from Jack Daniels’ 80% corn mash can add beautiful layers of counterpoint to the savory notes of a lean cut such as sirloin or filet mignon.
If you prefer a fattier steak, such as a ribeye or New York strip, you’ll find that the spicier notes of a Jack Daniels’, which tingle your front palette, are sharp enough to cut through the richness of a fatty piece of meat.
If you’re not a fan of beef, you can also substitute beef steak with a lamb chop. The dark and gamey flavors mingle well with the same spicy notes.
To get the most flavor from a whiskey/steak pairing, we recommend grilling your meat over a fire or searing it in a pan to lock in the rich meaty flavors. Also, avoid overcooking your meat. Aim for medium or medium-rare.
Jack Daniels with Cheese Pairing
Move over wine… Whiskey is the new go-to pairing for cheese!
Describing the flavor of a cheese is nearly impossible due to the wide variety of textures, colors, and origins but if we were to try, we would describe cheese as salty and umami with a natural dairy sweetness. These flavors pair wonderfully with the slight sweetness and smoky, grain tinge of a Jack Daniels.
In this Jack Daniel’s and food pairing perfect match, we recommend coupling an Old Nº7 with a good British hard cheese such as Lincolnshire Poacher or a clothbound cheddar. The warm grassy notes of unpasteurized dairy will blend with the overtones of corn mash in your whiskey to create a pleasant and bright flavor.
Looking for a Whisky and Cheese guide? Find it here: https://www.whiskyflavour.com/blog/whisky-and-cheese-pairing-guide/
If you prefer a Jack Daniels Tennessee Rye, pair it with a richly flavored cheese such as brie or camembert. The sweet spiciness of a rye whiskey pairs well with the creamy, funky notes of a soft brie to create a perfect blend contrast of flavors.
Serve cheese on its own or with grapes and crackers.
Pairing Jack Daniels with Sushi
Sushi seems odd when it comes to Jack Daniel’s and food pairing. After all, sashimi is a delicate, artful food often paired with the smooth taste of sake. Wouldn’t whiskey overpower the gentle flavors of raw fish and rice? If it sounds unbelievable, you’ll be surprised to learn that the Japanese have paired sushi with whiskey for decades.
Nigiri topped with raw cuts of salmon, tuna, or octopus are often well-suited to the complexities of Jack Daniels thanks to their higher fat content and unique flavor profiles. The saltiness of shrimp and roe will also help the natural grassiness of Jack Daniels pop in your mouth.
However, you may find the alcoholic bite of Jack Daniels a little overpowering. If so, we recommend softening your whiskey with some ice. When chilled, the flavors will settle and the temperature of your beverage will match that of the cooled. Speak with your sushi chef and see which cuts of fish he recommends.
Pairing Jack Daniels with Dried Fruit
Fruit and whiskey? That doesn’t sound right. Think of it this way – wouldn’t you make an Old Fashioned with a twist of orange peel? The fruity-floral tones of fruit naturally lift the sweet grassy tones of bourbon and Tennessee whiskey. Why not double down on these flavors by adding in some dried fruit?
Compared to fresh fruit, dried fruits often have higher complexity of flavors. Without the added water content, fruits’ natural sugars condense down into a punch of floral aroma. Dried dates and figs even have a rich molasses taste which pairs well with the sweetness of Jack Daniels.
To get the best pairing, we recommend sipping a Jack Daniels Gentleman Jack with your selection of dried fruit. The spiced caramel, licorice, and cinnamon tones of Gentleman Jack match the earthy molasses of a hearty date as well as the brighter tones of a candied pineapple or orange.
Pairing Jack Daniel’s Whiskey with Chocolate
If you thought fruit and whiskey was an odd pairing, chocolate and whiskey might throw you for a loop. Yet, chocolate is possibly one of the best flavors you can use while Jack Daniel’s and food pairing. Remember, contrasting flavors bring out the uniqueness of both. But keep in mind, there’s more than one type of chocolate.
The sweetness of a Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey pairs beautifully with the smooth dairy flavors of white chocolate. Although it’s often thought that white chocolate is flavored with vanilla, this isn’t actually true. However, by blending the sweetness of a Honey Whiskey with the creaminess of white chocolate, you can achieve a true vanilla taste.
If you’re more of a traditionalist who doesn’t fancy sweetened whiskey, you can still enjoy the complex contrast between a piece of dark chocolate and a lightly smoked, lightly sweet Jack Daniel’s original. The bitterness of dark chocolate combined with the bright tones of whiskey, combine to balance each other and highlight the other’s unique profile.
Pairing Jack Daniel’s with
Just as Jack Daniels pairs well with a grilled steak or lamb chop, it also benefits from the complex smoky, salty profile of smoked salmon. If you liked the idea of pairing whiskey and sushi but weren’t sold on the idea of softening your beverage, this is the answer you need.
The inherent smokiness imparted into Jack Daniels mingles with the woodiness of smoked salmon to create harmony. Yet the sharp spicy top notes of a Jack Daniels cut through the heavy fattiness of salmon to create balance.
Pair your smoked salmon with bagels and cream cheese or eat it with rye bread and butter.
Jack Daniel’s and Food Pairing – Last commentaries
You don’t have to drink whiskey on its own. Pairing it with food enhances its flavor and turns it into a culinary marvel. Just as you would pair a fine red wine with a meal, you can benefit from blending Jack Daniels’s unique and varied profile with steak, smoked salmon, dried fruit, cheese, or even sushi.