Introducing the Gentleman Jack Culture Shakers Memphis Class of 2024

Meet the Gentleman Jack “Culture Shakers” Class of 2024: Memphis 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 Memphis. 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.

MEMPHIS  CULTURE SHAKERS CLASS OF 2024

Christopher Covington

What makes Memphis an exciting place to live and work in hospitality right now?

We have a great diverse community where you can meet some amazing people that can often turn to family; the love and support I get down here is phenomenal. We have all type of amazing individuals and talented people in Memphis that’ll make you just fall in love with the city plus they have me as well the best mixologist anyone every laid eyes on. I take great passion in my craft and make sure I give people the best experience of their life when they come to receive hospitality service from me.

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

I strive to always work at the highest level, always take pride in my drinks and always give my customers the best experience of their life. I feel like I connect most with flashy skills and creativity – when it comes to a cocktail, flipping the bottle (flair) to pouring shots for large parties. Also I try to read my customers mind when they are indecisive in terms of what cocktail catches their eyes. I create my ideas off of their body language and the vision of what they want their cocktail to taste like.

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

It means the world to me to be selected to be part of Culture Shakers. It’s an amazing opportunity to show many up and coming bartenders that their personality, skills, and technique can take them very far, give them the opportunity to meet amazing people and influence so many people around them who will looks up to them. This is amazing for me to be selected because this gives me the ability to boost my resume even higher, I can’t wait to wow the crowd and show everyone who’s the man in Tennessee. So thank you Culture Shakers and Gentleman Jack for giving me this opportunity to make a positive influence with people all over the world and encourage them to be great, grow, love what you do and always go above the stars for your dreams.

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

Gentleman Jack blends with my mixes perfectly; I call it my own signature cocktail and it has this perfectly smooth taste as a whiskey. I feel Gentleman Jack blends well with peach flavors in cocktails because of its texture and separation it creates in your mouth as you take each sip. My cocktail is inspired by the idea that there is nothing like having a nice cool breeze and peach flavor with Gentleman Jack whiskey to set the mood right for a great evening.

Feeling Peachy

  • 2 oz. Gentleman Jack
  • .5 oz. peach schnapps
  • .5 oz. peach purée
  • .5 oz. sour mix

Shake with ice; pour over ice in a rocks class and top with a splash of lemon-lime soda.

Ashston R. Smith

What makes Memphis in an exciting place to live and work in hospitality right now?

The soul of Memphis is deeply rooted in music and food, and so the service industry has embodied Memphis’ cultural diversity. I love the fact that Memphis has become a city that appreciates creative cocktails. “Bartender Collabs” bring together as Memphis bartenders from around the city in pop-up style bar experiences that showcase talented mixologists. Local bars are also a staple in the Memphis scene, each with its own nod to what makes Memphis unique, but all providing an inclusive ambiance that welcomes everyone.

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

I am a very approachable person, especially behind the bar. My bartending philosophy is very personal since I understand that I’m potentially talking with someone on what they consider their best day or their worst day. Sitting at my bar, patrons experience a feeling of peace and relaxation, hopefully leading to a better day. My style of bartending encourages people to relax, take a load off while enjoying a cocktail, listening to music, watching a sporting event, a movie, or just talking and laughing with others at the bar.

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 allows me and bartenders like me to impact our communities with positivity and good vibes. Our potential for positive influence is limitless as everyone who sits at one of our bars are affected by our personalities and often our guidance with situations that patrons may be going through. People being heard by someone of their own culture and not being judged by the outside world is so important in community.

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

Gentleman Jack personifies my cocktail by hitting those notes of oak and toasted spice on the palate. It is complemented by the sweet pineapple rum in the middle of the palate, followed by the herbaceous finish of the artichoke liqueur, all tied in with the hint of smokey mezcal finish accompanied by the Gentleman Jack’s citrus undertones on the back end of the cocktail. As one of my customer’s told me, this cocktail manifests the “Memphis Mentality” of “Don’t Take my Kindness for Weakness” as this cocktail is smooth, but potent.

A Gentle Surprise

  • 1 oz. Gentlemen Jack
  • 1 oz. pineapple rum
  • .75 oz. artichoke liqueur

Stir all ingredients on ice until chilled, strain/pour over big ice cube in rocks glass, and spritz top with mezcal. Garnish with skewered Maraschino cherry.

Abraham Washington III aka Tre’

What makes Memphis in an exciting place to live and work in hospitality right now?

One of the first things I noticed about the service industry in Memphis was a common sense of love for family that we all share. I believe that’s something of cultural significance in this city. There is something to be said about what southern hospitality means to us; what family means to us. Are you a local? Are you from out of town? Are you from out of the country? No matter the case, there’s a oneness here. Our world is so big and yet still so small that it doesn’t matter where you’ve come from or where you’re going. If you’re visiting a decades old establishment or one of the many new hot spots downtown, you’ll find a welcoming face and a friend to help get you through your day. Maybe along with a few recommendations to keep the party going.

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

I am a very direct person and I’ve grown to understand that as bartenders we can be the voice of multiple generations – I’m a friend for the “blue to white collar” professionals. I’m the big brother that gives you grief and then tells you to stop, pause and breathe when things get tough. I’m the dad that wants to see you succeed and get ahead. The friend that offers honest advice and a judgement free space to be yourself. The therapist that tells you to take time for yourself. Or sometimes, maybe just the son or grandson that wants to hear your stories of success over a perfect Old Fashioned and your words of wisdom to carry forward. I believe family is far more than our DNA and walking into any local bar/restaurant you should be presented with an opportunity to become a part of our ever-growing world. There’s love poured into every craft cocktail, and each one created is only as special as the smile that welcomes you.

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 for me is about sharing my upbringing and love for family.  The ability to find a way of thinning the line between so many different people, cultures, and beliefs. There will never be any other place in the world like the bar where you can see people in their truest form, guards down and totally accepting of the world and people around them. For me, it was even more impactful to be a Black man in this industry and in this community to be able to find family in a world that’s truly for everybody.

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

Gentlemen Jack’s mellowing process gives us a smooth and well blended whiskey that allows for a perfect execution in countless cocktails. Its vanilla, caramel, and earthy notes blend well with my fruity but floral approach to this cocktail. I absolutely love a good whiskey and I believe it should be enjoyed by man and woman alike. What I’ve attempted to do is here is create a cocktail that pleases all the senses and create a drink for any occasion.

The Family Man

  • 1.25 oz. Gentlemen Jack
  • .75 oz. apricot liqueur
  • .25 oz. creme de violette
  • .75 oz. apple and thyme syrup
  • .25 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 oz. grapefruit juice

Pour ingredients into mixing glass stir until blended. Pour into double rocks glass over a large ice cube. Garnish with lemon twist or thyme sprig.

Joseph Beasley Jr.

What makes Memphis in an exciting place to live and work in hospitality right now?

In the past, Memphis had been know for the BBQ & Soul Food. A lot of “mom and pop” shops, super casual dining experiences. Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen major changes in hospitality from that aspect. That being said, things are growing fast, which is exciting for anyone who works in the hospitality industry in Memphis. New restaurant concepts, new styles of food, and new ways of dining out are just a few reasons that I’m excited about continuing my career here in this city. Having lived and worked on the East Coast for 7 years, it’s exciting to see things that were common and popular over there making a way into Memphis.

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

People tell me all the time I have straight-forward honest personality, and I feel my drinks reflect that as well. No frills, fresh ingredients and straight to the point. Most of the craft cocktails that I create come from my knowledge of the classics. I’m a purest when it comes to things, but if new techniques can enhance a cocktail while still holding true to essence of the original, I am all for it. Whenever a new guest sits at my bar, the first question I always ask them is, “what do you normally drink when you sit at a bar?” From, there I can utilize my knowledge behind the bar to either offer them a classic they haven’t tried yet or tailor something specifically to what they’re feeling in the moment.

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

Being selected as a Culture Shaker reminded me that I’ve chosen the right career. I’ve worked corporate jobs, governmental jobs, sales jobs; you name it. However, I’ve always maintain a job in the hospitality industry, and that has helped me make connections I wouldn’t have necessarily made behind a desk. People come to the bar to unwind from a long day, to celebrate milestones in life, or simply to read book. I’m a counselor of sorts; I usher in good libations and a dope personality to ensure the spirit of whatever it is a person sitting at my bar for is made happy.

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

Gentleman Jack at first sip offers some notes of banana, hence my use of a banana liqueur in the cocktail to bring out those notes. Bananas and pineapples work well together and the pineapple liqueur brings fruit aromas to the nose as well as the palate. As I was coming up with the cocktail, I was wondering what could bring all of these notes together and create one unified taste when you sip the cocktail. Which is where the the vanilla-angostura and freshly grated nutmeg come in. All the ingredients together create a complex, layered taste when sipping that changes subtly as the ice cubes melts.

Mystic Style

  • 1.5 oz Gentleman Jack
  • .5 oz pineapple liqueur
  • .5 oz banana liqueur
  • 3 dashes vanilla bitters

Add all cocktail ingredients in a mixing glass. Add the ice. Fill mixing glass 3/4 full. Use larger cubes to have more control over cocktail dilution. Chill and dilute the cocktail. Stir all ingredients in mixing glass until outside is slightly frosted (about 30 seconds). Pour cocktail over a large cube and aromatize with freshly grated nutmeg. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and enjoy.

All Photography for Culture Shakers Memphis is by Sam Reeves Hill / Athonos Creative Co. 

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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