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  • If Westerns are to be believed, the first American settlers in the Wild West drank more whiskey than water.

  • In fact, it's so important to American culture that in 1794, Americans literally rebelled against a founding father, President George Washington, over whiskey, according to History.

  • Basically, there is no liquor more American than whiskey.

  • And while America makes a lot of whiskeys, Jack Daniel's is probably the most famous.

  • In case you were in any doubt about the popularity of Jack Daniel's, it reportedly sold 13.3 million, 9-liter cases of its whiskey in 2018, which is pretty incredible.

  • And rumor has it that the great Frank Sinatra wouldn't let a concert go by without toasting with a glass of Jack.

  • The only logical conclusion is that you can't beat the taste of Jack Daniel's.

  • Apparently the product's distinctive taste is all down to how it's distilled in the so-called "Lincoln County Process."

  • According to Discover, the process dates back hundreds of years and relies on a special secret ingredient, and that's charcoal.

  • Along with charcoal, the distinctive taste of Jack Daniel's relies on knowledge passed down from an enslaved African American man known as Uncle Nearest Green, whose real name was Nathan.

  • After researching Nearest, author Fawn Weaver launched a whiskey in his honor.

  • "It was possible that an African American was behind Jack Daniel's."

  • Historians now believe that slaves brought over a version of Jack Daniel's distilling technique from West Africa, where it's not uncommon to cook foods and filter drinks over charcoal.

  • Nearest Green, who undoubtedly inherited these techniques from his ancestors, reportedly worked as Jack Daniel's first distiller, a tradition which was carried on by his children and grandchildren.

  • The Greens would teach Jack Daniel that filtering whiskey through charred sugar maple dramatically changes its taste.

  • Meanwhile, filtering freshly distilled, unaged whiskey over charcoal mellows the liquor's taste by reducing the strength of some of these by up to 50 percent.

  • "Here at Jack Daniel's, charcoal is held in a higher regard, so much so that we make our own."

  • The technique is not as novel as it sounds.

  • As it turns out, charcoal is also commonly used to remove impurities and polish the flavor of vodka.

  • But while Jack Daniel's uses maple, vodka distillers prefer silver and birch, according to Spirits Distilled.

  • Tequila has also jumped on the charcoal-filtering bandwagon.

  • But as charcoal filtering is not unique to the Jack Daniel's brand, there must be other secrets behind its exquisite taste profile.

  • First, it's important to understand there are certain standards a distiller must uphold in order for a bottle of the liquor to achieve the rich, smooth, woody tastes associated with Tennessee whiskey.

  • For one, it must be distilled from at least 51 percent corn.

  • Secondly, it must be filtered through maple charcoal.

  • And third, it must be aged in new charred oak barrels and bottled at over 80 proof, according to Time.

  • Jack Daniel's, of course, isn't just any-old Tennessee whiskey.

  • That's thanks to what may be a third, secret ingredient, and that's the water that's used in production.

  • According to Jack Daniel's, they use fresh, limestone spring water from Cave Spring Hollow, Lynchburg, Tennessee in their distilling process.

  • The iron-free water runs year-round at about 56 degrees Fahrenheit, per New Food Magazine.

  • And it's not just dumb luck that Jack Daniel's is located next to Cave Spring Hollow.

  • Instead, Jack Daniel founded his distillery based upon the location of the spring alone.

  • And when you know a little bit more about the distilling process, you can truly appreciate the importance of water.

  • As Artisan Spirit Magazine explains, clean water with low alkaline levels is vital to healthy fermentation.

  • Because yeast loves minerals, the water's mineral content also aids the fermentation process.

  • As far as we know, Jack Daniel's hasn't played around with using different kinds of water in its distillation process.

  • But in 2015, a group of gin distillers did.

  • According to Wired, the group of distillers made the same gin six times.

  • The only difference was that, each time, the distillers used six different kinds of water, from French mineral spring water to tap water.

  • As expected, tasters noticed the differences immediately.

  • The experiment was not scientifically reviewed, but its results were nonetheless compelling, and proved that water really matters when you're striving to make high quality liquor.

  • So, is Cave Spring Hollow Jack Daniel's big secret?

  • We don't know what exactly makes the taste of Jack Daniel's so distinctive.

  • However, we do know that it is something very special.

  • Check out one of our newest videos right here!

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If Westerns are to be believed, the first American settlers in the Wild West drank more whiskey than water.

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The Secret Ingredient You Didn't Realize Was In Jack Daniel's

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    たらこ posted on 2020/07/07
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