50 Shots of America–Tennessee


The 16th state of the Union, Tennessee is a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll.

Well, wait, maybe it’s a lot of each as both musical genres found their feet with Nashville holding court at the Grand Ole Opry and Elvis recording his music in Memphis. Which makes their choice of the mockingbird as a state symbol entirely fitting.

Not that it’s been all song and dance for the Volunteer State (a nickname earned during the Way of 1812), it’s seem it’s share of downs as well as ups. In response to the end of the Civil War, the original Ku Klux Klan was formed in Pulaski in 1866 and copied throughout the South. In the 1940s this state was the site of the Manhattan Project’s uranium enrichment programs as well as the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King.

Of course, the planned community, Oak Ridge, built around the atomic bomb research is now known as the Energy Capital of the World thanks to the efforts of the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) before and the continued energy research after. And the site of Mr King’s death is now the National Civil Rights Museum, preserving a crucial–if incredibly tragic–part of our history.

Now, if you walked into this cocktail blog post about Tennessee and didn’t immediately think Jack Daniel’s, shame on you. Of course this week’s cocktail is going to have a Tennessee Whiskey base! The rest, though…

‘Nanner Puddin’

1/2 oz Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey
1 oz Banana Schnapps*
3/4 oz Sweetened Condensed Milk

Combine over ice in a cocktail shaker, shake to a chorus of “Jailhouse Rock” (hip gyrations optional but encouraged) and strain into a chilled cordial glass.

Skip the pretzels and serve this one with a side of Nilla Wafers and you’re good to go!

Obviously the banana flavor is in deference to another King, Elvis Presley, and his fondness for peanut butter-banana sandwiches and banana pudding.

*We used 99 Bananas which is bottled just over the border in Kentucky.

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