Introducing the Gentleman Jack Culture Shakers Atlanta Class of 2024

Meet the Gentleman Jack “Culture Shakers” Class of 2024: Atlanta edition! The Culture Shakers initiative stands as a beacon of recognition and support for Multicultural bartenders ascending in the realm of mixology, revolutionizing cocktail culture in their respective cities while imprinting their unique legacies upon the bar scene. In 2024, the program maintains its commitment to spotlighting a fresh wave of talent, with a dynamic cohort from Atlanta. These trailblazers, armed with creativity and innovation, challenge conventions and redefine the boundaries of bar culture.

Embodying the essence of Gentleman Jack, a Tennessee whiskey distinguished by its smoothness and approachability, the Culture Shakers epitomize the spirit of craftsmanship and dedication. Like the whiskey’s meticulous process, these bartenders exemplify a commitment to authenticity and excellence, leaving an indelible mark on the industry. Through their passion and determination, they embody the ethos of Gentleman Jack, embracing the role of creators who strive to craft what’s genuine and aspire to leave a lasting legacy.

Atlanta Culture Shakers Class of 2024:

Thandi Walton (she/her)

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

As an A-list mixologist in any vibrant city, one discovers that Atlanta is an electrifying playground for hospitality professionals and newcomers alike. The local culinary scene, which is in a constant state of evolution with its diverse array of restaurants and bars, offers the perfect platform to showcase one’s craft. With millions of visitors drawn to the city’s rich history and entertainment options, there’s an ongoing challenge to create innovative cocktails that captivate and delight. Additionally, Atlanta’s status as a tech, convention, sports, and business hub ensures a continuous flow of high-profile events, providing ample opportunities to showcase skills to discerning clientele. Whether crafting bespoke cocktails for VIP guests at exclusive events or infusing local flavors into creations, the vibrant energy and cultural diversity inspire pushing the boundaries of mixology, resulting in unforgettable experiences for every patron.

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

In every sip, you taste not just a drink, but a piece of my vibrant existence. As a Zimbabwean, a fashion aficionado, and a fearless risk-taker, my creations mirror the colorful tapestry of my life. I thrive on pushing boundaries, blending tastes and flavors that defy convention. Each cocktail is a daring fusion of ingredients, a testament to my refusal to play by the rules. Take, for instance, the Pusha T – a bespoke concoction crafted from four handpicked spirits, a celebration of creators from the diaspora. It’s a risky venture, but that’s where the magic happens – in the unexpected, the unconventional, the exhilarating journey of discovery. So, when you take a sip of my cocktails, you’re not just tasting a drink – you’re experiencing a slice of my world, where creativity knows no bounds, and every moment is a chance to defy expectations and redefine what’s possible.

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

As a participant in the Gentleman Jack Culture Shaker program, I understand that being a Culture Shaker means becoming a powerful creative force. It’s not just about expressing myself; it’s about using my unique talents and perspectives to craft experiences that reshape culture forward. It’s about leaving a legacy by fostering connections, bridging divides, and amplifying often overlooked voices, including my own from the African Diaspora. To be a Culture Shaker is to be a visionary, a pioneer, and a catalyst for change. It’s about embracing the full spectrum of creativity and using it to inspire, provoke, and ultimately, leave a lasting legacy on the cultural landscape.

As a woman bartender, I bring my vibrant personality to the forefront, using my influence to spark positive change within the industry. With a dash of flair and a splash of charm, I infuse every interaction with energy and enthusiasm. From shaking up cocktails to shaking things up in the industry, I’m passionate about sharing my knowledge and expertise with my colleagues, turning every shift into a chance for growth and learning. Advocating for responsible service isn’t just a duty, it’s a commitment to ensuring every patron has a safe and enjoyable experience.

Sustainability is one of my passions – I’m all about reducing waste, sourcing local ingredients, and turning my bar into an eco-friendly oasis. And when it comes to diversity and inclusion, I’m mixing up a cocktail of equality and empowerment, creating a space where everyone feels welcome and valued. Beyond the bar, I’m out in the community, mentoring young, up-and-coming bartenders who will make a huge difference in the hospitality industry. With a shake, a stir, and a smile, I’m shaking up the industry one drink at a time, making it more responsible, sustainable, diverse, and lively for all.

Thandi’s Culture Shakers Cocktail – Night Cap With A Gentleman

  • 2 oz. Gentleman Jack
  • .5 oz. Coca Cola Vanilla Marshmallow Syrup
  • .25-.5 oz. Coffee Liqueur
  • 1 oz. Espresso

Theresa Bell (she/her)

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

Living in Atlanta is an absolute joy for me personally. There are always things to do in Atlanta and and the fact that I can contribute to the hospitality scene here in Atlanta makes me happy. I am a bar manager, and we strive for a great time, great customer service, and of course, I give them the “Theresa experience.”

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

I have a dance, singing and acting background so being behind the bar to me is performance. I love people, and I love how my drinks make them feel. When I am behind the bar I love to give not only give great customer service, but I love to give an experience! The bar is my stage and I am very outgoing, fun loving, and of course I love to dance and especially when I’m making cocktails!

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

Being a female behind the bar, I feel sometimes our skills can be underrated. I am the type of person that if I am passionate about something I am going to be the best at it and put 150% behind it. My passion definitely comes out when I curate cocktails and create our cocktail menu. I want to lead by example and not only represent for the females behind the bar but be the best at whatever you do that way you can enjoy it and have a good time doing it!

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

Since Gentleman Jack has notes of spice, brown sugar and maple syrup, I really felt my hibiscus brown sugar syrup was a really great highlight and paired nicely with the flavor. Also, adding in that aromatic bitters to really bring out the spirit. Smoking the glass really complemented the slight smokiness of the Spirit as well. Topping it off with an express orange peel gives that citrus component for a well-balanced cocktail. I love to make and drink Old Fashioneds so I’m always trying new ways to make them!

Theresa’s Culture Shakers Cocktail – A Good Ole Gentleman

  • 2 oz. Gentleman Jack
  • .5 oz. hibiscus brown sugar Demerara (housemade)
  • 3 dashes of angostura bitters
  • 3 dashes of Peychauds Bitters Smoke Cinnamon and Cherrywood

Smoke your glass with a chopped cinnamon stick and cherrywood. In a mixing glass, add hibiscus syrup and bitters and stir to dilute the brown sugar syrup. Add in Gentleman Jack. Fill a mixing glass with ice and stir for about 15 seconds. Place a large ice block in a low ball glass; strain cocktail over the block and express an orange peel on the top of your drink and drop it in the glass.

Jonathan Miles (he/him)

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

Atlanta is a very exciting place to be in the hospitality space right now for a multitude of reasons, mainly because of how eclectic of a city Atlanta truly is. There is so much talent and space for that talent as well as entrepreneurs in hospitality to thrive. The city has had the world’s busiest airport since 1998, between both domestic and international business, so I get to meet people and make connections across a multitude of industries and that networking alone is very hard to beat.

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

Being the eldest grandson and son growing up, I’m very assertive, outspoken, and independent. Being able to tell guests that they aren’t limited to just the cocktails on any menu and creating a drink specifically for them and their palette is my approach, technique, and style rolled into one. It gives guests a new level of comfort and education while adding to their overall experience because of my expert cocktail knowledge. Being able to operate at a high level has given me opportunities and experiences that are unforgettable and I’m truly thankful for that.

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 to me means I get to share my legacy behind and around the bar space. I’m from a small town in Alabama, and I got the opportunity for a change of scenery specifically to impact the hospitality space as a consultant. Bartending is the medium I chose to be creative and share with the world. Working with a group of consultants in the food and beverage space, I get to impact everything from business owners to independent bartenders looking to scale and grow their businesses. Taking risks, learning, and being able to share stories of success while teaching was something I didn’t imagine I would enjoy looking back at myself 10-12 years ago. But I’m grateful to be able to make such a positive impact on such a cool city.

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

I used Gentleman Jack specifically for its short finish and how it sits on both the palette and nose. Taste wise, the caramel, brown sugar, and oak notes do wonders for a cocktail that’s refreshing and on the lighter side. On the nose, the banana and summer fruit smell of Gentleman Jack, allows me as a drink maker to be very flexible in my cocktail making approach. Exotic tropical fruit, namely passion fruit with its sweet-citrusy taste and the slight melon-bitter taste of cucumber, gives you the holy trinity of sweet, bitter, and slightly boozy that make for a perfect cocktail. Lastly, Gentleman Jack being 80 proof gives it the necessary volume and structure it needs for it be an effective cocktail.

Jonathan’s Culture Shakers Cocktail – Clarified Bluegrass Smash

Combine in one glass:

  • 2 oz. Gentleman Jack
  • 1.5 oz. Passionfruit/Cucumber syrup
  • .5 oz. Lemon
  • Quarter of a barspoon blue curaçao

Separate glass: 1 cup whole milk at room temperature

Combine: Pour cocktail batch into the milk slowly to force curdling process. Place in fridge for 30-60min while the cocktail curdles, then strain over a cheesecloth into a separate container. Pour into a Collins glass over ice and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a cucumber peel.

Michael Bradford II (he/him)

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

Atlanta has always been the spot for nightlife and new restaurants , but what makes it the most exciting, is the culture and the endless opportunities for growth. Since I started bartending in 2015, Atlanta has helped me to grow my brand and my clientele. From bartending rooftop bars to creating cocktails for brand new restaurants, Atlanta’s exciting culture has helped me to become the mixologist I am today.

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

My personality is unmatched; most would call it having the “Gift of Gab.” I can be a comedian, a therapist or a sports analyst depending on who I’m serving at the time. My main goal is to provide you with an experience that you won’t find at any other bar. My best personality trait, is that I pick up on vibes quickly. So I can already tell what type of cocktail my guests would want just from talking to them within the first 5 minutes. My main goal is to assure that the guests enjoyed their experience and that they can’t wait to return.

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 in Atlanta to me means someone who not only serves drinks but also plays a significant role in shaping the atmosphere and vibe of the establishment. It involves more than just mixing cocktails; it’s about creating a unique experience for patrons, fostering a sense of community, and contributing to the overall culture of the bar scene in Atlanta.

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

I used Gentleman Jack in my refreshing cocktail because of it’s smoothness. Gentleman Jack is known for its exceptionally smooth taste due to its double charcoal mellowing process. This smoothness can enhance the overall texture and mouthfeel of the cocktail. Gentleman Jack also has a balanced flavor profile with notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak. These flavors can complement a wide range of cocktail ingredients, adding depth and complexity to your drink. Overall, using Gentleman Jack in this refreshing cocktail can add sophistication, depth of flavor, and a touch of luxury to your drink, making it a delightful choice for any occasion.

Michael’s Culture Shakers Cocktail – Sophisticated Swagger

  • 1.5 oz. Gentleman Jack
  • .5 oz. Chambord
  • Muddled Black Berries
  • 1 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • .5 oz. Agave
  • 2 dashes Cardamon Seasoning
  • Topped With Prosecco (or champagne)
  • Garnished with a mint sprig, lemon peel and 2 blackberries

Please Drink Responsibly.
Gentleman Jack and Jack Daniel’s are registered trademarks. ©2024 Jack Daniel’s. Tennessee Whiskey, 40% ALC/VOL, JACK DANIEL DISTILLERY, Lynchburg, TN. 

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