Introducing the Gentleman Jack Culture Shakers New York Class of 2022

Gentleman Jack “Culture Shakers” is celebrating Black and Hispanic bartenders who are shaking up culture in their cities and crafting legacies behind the bar. As a smooth and approachable Tennessee whiskey that utilizes a second charcoal mellowing process to achieve greatness, Gentleman Jack strives to embrace the creator in us all who takes the extra step to craft what’s real and strives to leave a legacy.

For 2022, we are shining a light on a new class of bartenders, kicking off with an impressive group of creatives who are pushing boundaries and shaking up bar culture in New York City. Below, find out more about the New York “Culture Shakers.”

Chellez Marie (she/her)

How does your personality influence your bartending approach, technique and style?

I like to see people at their best. When a customer walks into the bar, I like to give them an experience that they will tell their family, friends, and coworkers about and will want to come back again to experience my hospitality. Not only am I a mixologist, I am a confidant, a psychologist, a hostess and a party starter. Being from Japan, customer service is so polished and ingrained in my culture that it comes pretty naturally. I am all about good energy and creating a vibe. You never know what someone is going through when they walk in that door.  It’s my duty to help them leave their problems there, come inside and enjoy the ride.

What makes the city you live and work in an exciting place to be in hospitality right now?

First of all, New York City is one of the greatest cities in the world and the mecca of culture. Harlem especially is an exciting place to be in hospitality because of its rich soulful roots and vibrant culture you will not find anywhere else. The nightlife and electrifying energy is something you have to come and experience for yourself firsthand. It’s all about the vibes. Living and working in the this melting pot is awesome and because of the diversity; I have a wide selection of different profile flavor options from different countries that are available to me to introduce new cocktail fusions or riffs on classics.

What does being a Culture Shaker mean to you & how can bartenders use their influence to impact positive progress in the industry?

Being a Culture Shaker is an honor and I am incredibly grateful to have been selected. People come to you for your expertise and as a mixologist, it is important to educate people on different spirits, introduce new flavors and help expand their palates by creating cocktails they would have never thought to have tried before meeting you.

Tell us how you used Gentleman Jack in your signature cocktail.

I create my own syrups that I use to enhance the cocktails for more flavor and dynamic complexity. Since Gentleman Jack is a Tennessee Whiskey, I decided on a “down south feel with an uptown edge” and that is how this creation came about.

Harlem Belle

  • 2 oz. Gentleman Jack
  • .75 oz. Chellez Elixirs gingerbread syrup (ginger, cinnamon,  allspice, cloves,  nutmeg)
  • .5 oz. Chellez Elixirs  rosemary syrup
  • .5 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 oz. apple cider
  • Add all ingredients to a shaker, add ice, shake. Pour over fresh ice and top with ginger beer
  • Garnish: rosemary sprig and cinnamon stick.

Liza Galletti (she/her)

How does your personality influence your bartending approach, technique and style?

I love to treat and serve others how I would like to be treated.  My personality plays a big role when I am behind the bar. I am a people person by nature. I love people and also love to have fun, so that is what I bring with me when I am working.  I believe it should be a fun experience when you go out to have drinks. I normally like to feel the guests out first to see what vibe they are on. But I am a whole vibe in my own.

What makes the city you live and work in an exciting place to be in hospitality right now?

I relocated from the Lower East Side to the Bronx during the pandemic and with the new change comes fun and exciting experiences. The Bronx has surprised me. It has its own nightlife culture. Everyone is down for a good time. There is always something to get into. And great people to meet and network with.

What does being a Culture Shaker mean to you and how can bartenders use their influence to impact positive progress in the industry?

Aside from being a bartender, I am an actress, host,  humanitarian & Curly Hair Helper. To me, being a Culture Shaker means being able to connect all the paths I am on into one path: using all of them to influence others in and outside the industry in positive ways not by just serving drinks but by bringing awareness. I also take what I do behind the bar seriously. I care for everyone that comes to my establishment. I incorporate drinking responsibly to each person I serve. Because I want to see them back when I am at work so we can continue to laugh and have great conversations.

Tell us how you used Gentleman Jack in your signature cocktail.

Gentleman Jack is often drank by men and I wanted to create a drink that is catered more for women.

Ladies Man

  • 1.5 oz. Gentleman Jack
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • 1 oz. orange brandy liqueur
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • 9 Maraschino cherries
  • 2 slice orange
  • 1 slice pineapple

Courtney Haughton (he/him)

How does your personality influence your bartending approach, technique and style?

My personality I think comes back from my background and  culture, being Jamaican lends to my being warm welcoming inviting. For my technique and style, I acknowledge of the product that I’m working with so; for example, you could create bitters and syrups to complement the the spirit in your cocktail and bring out certain notes from that spirit.

What makes the city you live and work in an exciting place to be in hospitality right now?

In New York City and the boroughs, it’s all about the sense of community, especially in the hospitality industry which comprise new venues, the ideas of the owners and the creativity from the bartenders.

What does being a Culture Shaker mean to you and how can bartenders use their influence to impact positive progress in the industry?

With hard work and dedication you can grind from the bottom to the top you could be a Bartender and ending up owning a cocktail brand or a bar or restaurant. That’s a very positive outcome in this industry: you work hard and do the right thing and it pays off.

Tell us how you used Gentleman Jack in your signature cocktail.

I created a homemade simple syrup with honey rosewater orange blossom ginger certain ingredients to bring out the flavor in Gentleman Jack that complement each other.

Yardie

  • 2.5 oz. Gentleman Jack
  • .5 oz. honey rose simple syrup
  • .5 oz. yuzu
  • Top with coconut water

Kanicha Dungy (she/her)

How does your personality influence your bartending approach, technique and style?

My bartending approach is influenced by my personality.  My motto is “I’m here for a good time not a long time,” and I feel when people come to the bar they feel the same way. My style is fun and easy-going but my guests must have a great time. My ability to build a genuine rapport allows for a collaborative experiencing in creating the perfect cocktail for each guest.

What makes the city you live and work in an exciting place to be in hospitality right now?

I live and work in New York City and I feel New York is the premier city for the hospitality, dining and entertainment industries; a bar is the perfect mesh of all three. NYC was the most heavily impacted during the onset of COVID and the healing has been gradual but profound. We are finally able to experience decreasing cases, lifted restrictions, and a sense of normalcy. The enthusiasm is palpable. The excitement is warranted. The celebration is necessary. The city is alive again its clear that NYC is going to be bigger and better than before – we are “NY Strong.”

What does being a Culture Shaker mean to you and how can bartenders use their influence to impact positive progress in the industry?

Being a Culture Shaker to me means being my authentic self and truly enjoying my passion; I love what I do so bartending never feels like a job. Bartenders are the ‘first impression’ of any establishment as drinks are the first thing ordered whether at the bar or sitting at table in a restaurant.  Bartenders can thus use their influence to impact positive progress by curating an memorable experience for the guest from the beginning thus setting the tone for the rest of the night. Additionally, I have the opportunity to share my vast knowledge of spirits and can introduce guests to new drinks and new experiences.

Tell us how you used Gentleman Jack in your signature cocktail.

The warm weather reminds of my family and their southern roots, with one of our favorite pastimes being drinking sweet tea on the porch. I decided to combine my childhood home and current home in creating the perfect cocktail using Gentleman Jack and a hibiscus tea. The tart yet sweet hibiscus blends perfectly with the smooth Gentleman Jack; a little bit of ginger syrup and mint makes you feel like you’re truly catching a breeze. This cocktail exudes ‘light and refreshing’ – the perfect way for one to achieve that southern comfort in the midst of the concrete jungle.

Elite Williamsburg Jungle Breeze

  • 2 oz. Gentleman Jack
  • 2 oz. hibiscus sweet tea
  • .75 oz. ginger syrup
  • Mint leaves

Luis Ramos (he/him)

How does your personality influence your bartending approach, technique and style?

Just like a quality cocktail that, at its finest, is comprised of just a few simple but vital ingredients, my personality can be defined as two ounces of passion and two ounces of love (for my craft). It includes .50 attentiveness (to detail), .25 an insatiable curiosity (in trying new products, shakes, or ideas), and .25 humility. I am intrigued by classic mixology history, and modern-day artisanry inspires me. I have a flow of my own carried by the bar’s music. For me, this music is the sound of a “clank” between two bottles and the easy flow of the alcohol speed-pouring into the jigger. The melody includes the sound of opening the door to a refrigerator and twisting off a cap to a juice or other mixer. It is the scooping ice and uniting the mixture before a thunderous shake. It is the meditative ease of the cocktail being poured through a double strainer and into its handpicked glassware. And it is completed by the look and an aura of satisfaction from a guest during that initial sip. That is why my approach to bartending is being the curator between a well-balanced cocktail and a diverse clientele. I strive to bring creativity and a memorable experience to each cocktail and menu that I design. I found a home behind the bar, and I aim to deliver an inviting experience that will accommodate each unique palette.

What makes the city you live and work in an exciting place to be in hospitality right now?

New York City is not only one of the most exciting places to live, to experience growth in, and it welcomes every hard-working individual with a “hustle” mindset. Because of that, I have the extraordinary opportunity to work beside the real heroes behind the bar: my barbacks. NYC fills those who work here with self-competition to do better than yesterday. From that mentality, my team elevates my work with their garnish and syrup-making prep, infusions, organization, and loyalty each day. They provide me the space to educate, and they trust me to lead them. That is why this city is exciting. Each day we are socially constructing and building toward being our best selves in the best industry.

What does being a Culture Shaker mean to you and how can bartenders use their influence to impact positive progress in the industry?

Becoming a Culture Shakers means I am fortunate to be recognized amongst highly skilled and creative artists who are continually challenging themselves in the ever-changing world of mixology and hospitality. To make a positive progress in the industry is to transform it from being just an ordinary night out with friends to creating an experience where you have the space to tell your story in the form of a cocktail. Bartenders are innovative in what they design in a glass. Bartenders are the tour guides to spirits and drinks, and they are the sales force in an industry significantly hurt by a pandemic. Most of all, bartenders are the great friends there to listen at a time when most of us are just looking to know that even if only for tonight, everything is okay. To share my influence for a positive impact in the industry means that I will be adding a dash of who I am into a half-full glass.

The Wake-Up Old Fashioned

  • 2 oz. Gentleman Jack
  • 2 dashes of chocolate bitters
  • .5 oz. brandy cherry reduction with coffee liqueur and creme de banane
  • Orange peel or lemon peel
  • Garnish with a fresh banana leaf and chocolate-covered dried banana slice

Enjoy Gentleman Jack responsibly. For more on Gentleman Jack, visit https://www.jackdaniels.com/en-us/whiskey/gentleman-jack and follow @jackdaniels_us on Instagram. 

Gentleman Jack and Jack Daniel’s are registered trademarks. ©2022 Jack Daniel’s. All rights reserved.
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