Whip up a Jack & Ginger Ale, a sweet and spiced cocktail with Tennessee whiskey. It’s refreshing, light and easy to mix up.
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Jack & Ginger recipe
Whether you’re sitting on a plane, ordering at a dive bar or looking for a quick drink to make, the Jack & Ginger Ale cocktail is here to spice up your life.
If you’re already a whiskey ginger fan, you’ll find Tennessee whiskey is a bright and flavorful rendition of the easy two-ingredient drink.
But when you’re making anything with a short ingredients list, the quality of ingredients matters. Let’s talk about how to make the best version of this classic cocktail, which you could also call a Tennessee Buck.
Why you’ll love this recipe
You’ll love this recipe, for a few reasons:
- Two-ingredient drinks are simple yet delicious.
- Great for beginner mixologists, it is super easy to put together.
- It’s a great way to use up Tennessee whiskey that might be on your bar cart.
What is Jack Daniel’s?
Jack Daniel’s is a brand of whiskey made in Lynchburg, Tennessee by the Jack Daniel Distillery. The brand has been owned by Brown-Forman Corporation since 1956.
Their most popular is Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey, which is known for its rectangular bottle and black label. It has a warm, vanilla aroma. There’s also Gentleman Jack, the brand’s name for an 80-proof whiskey that’s twice charcoal-mellowed for added smoothness.
Jack Daniel’s also has several flavored whiskeys that would be so good in this cocktail, including:
- a honey whiskey called Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey
- a cinnamon whiskey called Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire
- an apple-flavored whiskey called Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple.
Tools & glassware
To make a Jack & Ginger, you don’t need any fancy equipment. However, a jigger will be a big help in getting the right proportions.
Tennessee whiskey vs. Kentucky bourbon
Contrary to popular belief, Jack Daniel’s is not a type of bourbon. Nicknamed “Tennessee Whiskey” because of the way it is made, it is a sour mash whiskey.
Like bourbon, Jack Daniel’s is another type of whiskey made in the United States. There are lots of similarities between bourbon whiskey and Jack Daniel’s:
- Location: By law, bourbon must be made in the United States. Made in Tennessee, Jack Daniel’s qualifies.
- Proof: Bourbon must be distilled at no more than 160 proof, or 80% alcohol by volume. Jack comes over the still at 140 proof, or 70% alcohol.
- Mash bill: Also called a grain bill, Jack Daniel’s mash bill is 80% corn, 8% rye and 12% malted barley. Bourbon whiskeys can have different mash bills, but they must be made of at least 51% corn.
- Fermentation: On the Jack label, it mentions it’s a sour mash whiskey, which bourbon is as well. This means that some of the wet solids from a previously used batch of mash are mixed in to help make the fermentation process more consistent.
- Bottling: Bourbon must be bottled at no less than 80 proof or 40% alcohol by volume, and Jack Daniel’s is as well.
- Barrels: Bourbon must be aged in new, charred oak barrels, and Jack Daniel’s does this too.
But there is one key difference between Jack Daniel’s and bourbon: Once the whiskey has been distilled in copper stills, Jack Daniel’s goes through an extra step.
This extra process is called charcoal mellowing, AKA the “Lincoln County Process,” in which it is filtered through 10-foot stacks of sugar maple charcoal. The process removes impurities and the taste of corn.
When there are only two ingredients in a cocktail, that means they need to be really good! Quality ingredients will make the best version of this simple cocktail.
This is a Jack and Ginger, so the kind of whiskey we need is Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey. It brings its sweet, smooth, spicy and smoky flavor which pair well with the kick of ginger.
Gentleman Jack, the premium bottle of Jack Daniel’s, is charcoal mellowed twice. Some say it’s even better in a cocktail than regular Jack, so it’d be worth a try here.
While Jack Daniel’s is the most well-known brand of Tennessee whiskey, it’s not the only one. If you want to branch out, Uncle Nearest is a delicious, black-owned brand worth trying.
Best ginger ale for Jack & Ginger
Ginger ale is sweet and a little kick of spice, perfect for pairing with whiskey in this cocktail.
You can also make your own ginger ale concentrate at home! Made with real ginger, it has a very natural flavor, and you can make it as bubbly as you like with seltzer or lemon-lime soda.
Classic options include Canada Dry and Seagram’s. Blenheim’s, which is very spicy, is one of my favorites.
A garnish of a rosemary or mint sprig would add extra herbal flavors and botanical aromas.
Variations and substitutions
Mix things up with one of these whiskey drinks with slight variations:
Lighter Jack and Ginger: Use a diet ginger ale or a mixture of ginger syrup and club soda.
Jack and Ginger Beer: With lime juice, this is pretty much a Tennessee mule, a spin on the vodka Moscow mule cocktail.
Bourbon and Ginger Ale: Use Kentucky bourbon whiskey instead of Jack to make another classic two-ingredient drink.
Jack Honey and Ginger Ale: The honey flavor in Jack Honey is a delightful and sweet addition to the ginger flavor.
Jack Fire Mule: Use cinnamon whiskey to make a fiery version of this drink.
Gentleman and Ginger Ale: Use the twice-mellowed Gentleman Jack, a premium bottle of Jack Daniel’s.
Irish Buck: Use an Irish whiskey such as Jameson to make a similarly great cocktail.
How to make a Jack & Ginger Ale
With a base of two ingredients, the Jack & Ginger Ale is one of the easiest cocktails you can make. And it’s so good on a hot day!
- Start with a chilled, tall glass, such as a highball glass or collins glass. Add lots of ice.
- If you’re adding a mix-in like vanilla syrup, add it now.
- Then, add your whiskey. About 2 ounces should do the trick.
- Top with fizzy ginger ale. Let the bubbles die back, then add more to fill the glass.
- Add a wedge of lime as a garnish. Squeeze it in before taking a sip!
Tips & tricks
There are several ways to change up your Jack and ginger ale depending on your preferences:
Make it low-calorie: If you like diet soda, of course, you can use that here! I know a lot of people who like theirs with diet ginger ale, light ginger beer or zero-sugar ginger ale.
Make it non-alcoholic: You don’t have to drink plain ginger ale! Give it some flavor with one of the many non-alcoholic whiskey options on the market, such as Ritual whiskey alternative.
Try a flavored ginger ale: A flavored ginger ale would provide a fun twist. Consider blackberry ginger ale, cranberry ginger ale or vanilla ginger ale. You can also add your own flavoring with a flavored simple syrup.
Try another type of whiskey: It won’t be a Jack & Ginger, but it would still be good!
What to serve with a Jack & Ginger
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey is a great companion for sweet and spiced ginger ale. It adds its mellow, smooth vanilla flavor.
Whiskey and ginger ale go very well together. The oaky vanilla flavors of whiskey — whether it’s bourbon, Scotch, Irish whiskey or Tennessee whiskey, — go well with the sweet and spiced flavor of ginger ale.
More ginger cocktails
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Jack & Ginger Ale Cocktail
- 2 ounces Tennessee whiskey such as Jack Daniel’s
- 6 ounces ginger ale
- lime wedge or wheel, for garnish
- Pour Tennessee whiskey into a rocks glass filled with ice.
- Top with ginger ale.
- Garnish with a lime wedge.
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