What Is Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey?

What's the Difference Between Tennessee Honey and Wild Turkey American Honey?

Jack Daniels Tennessee honey
Jack Daniels 

Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey is a honey-flavored whiskey liqueur. It blends the brand's famous Tennessee whiskey with a honey liqueur that uses real honey. This is the most impressive of the distillery's attempts at flavored whiskeys. It surpasses and is more useful than Tennessee Fire, Winter Jack, and many of their competitor's offerings in this space.

If you've shied away from flavored whiskeys in the past, give Tennessee Honey a try. It has appeal to both regular whiskey drinkers and those new to the world of whiskey. Even those who prefer flavored vodkas will enjoy this marriage of sweet honey and smooth whiskey. It's enjoyable ice-cold on its own and an excellent addition to simple soda mixed drinks and a variety of hot and cold cocktails.

Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey vs. Wild Turkey American Honey

The sweet taste of honey is a perfect match for nearly any whiskey style, and many whiskey brands (big names and craft distilleries alike) produce a honey-flavored whiskey. While it seems like this is a recent trend, Wild Turkey has been making one consistently since 1978. Originally just called "Wild Turkey Liqueur," it was rebranded Wild Turkey American Honey in 2006.

Wild Turkey American Honey is a liqueur blended with real honey and the brand's famous bourbon. That's very similar to the description of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey, with the obvious exception that it's made with Tennessee whiskey. At 35.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV, 71 proof), American Honey is just a touch stronger than Tennessee Honey.

The primary difference between bourbon and Tennessee whiskey is the latter's charcoal mellowing process. This means that the Jack Daniel's honey liqueur starts with a smoother base, while Wild Turkey's is definitely a bolder whiskey with a spicy rye character. Both base whiskeys pair well with a honey liqueur, and neither is syrupy-sweet like some whiskey liqueurs. Comparable in price, choosing between the two is a matter of taste. Some drinkers really enjoy Tennessee Honey, while others prefer to stick with the "original" in American Honey.

Fast Facts

  • Ingredients: Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey, honey
  • Proof:  70
  • ABV: 35%
  • Calories in a 1 1/2-ounce shot: 106
  • Origin: Lynchburg, Tennessee
  • Taste: Sweet honey, charred whiskey
  • Serve: shots, on the rocks, cocktails

What Is Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey Made From?

The Jack Daniel's distillery released Tennessee Honey in 2011. While some like to call it "honey whiskey," it is technically a whiskey liqueur because it is blended with flavorings and sweeteners.

As is common with whiskey liqueurs, the details of Tennessee Honey's production and its ingredients are not fully disclosed. The base is the brand's famous Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey, which is blended with a "proprietary honey liqueur." It is noted that the liqueur is flavored with real honey.

Tennessee Honey is bottled at a pleasant 35 percent alcohol by volume (70 proof).

What Does Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey Taste Like?

Tennessee Honey is distinctly Jack Daniel's from the very beginning and straight through to the finish. It does not have that cloying or artificial flavor found so often in flavored whiskey. Quite simply, it tastes as if you mixed a little honey into a shot of Jack Daniel's.

The aroma is an inviting introduction to the honey sweetness, accented by the familiar fragrance of the charcoal-mellowed whiskey. The palate is a delicious marriage of real honey and Jack Daniel's with a light body and rich notes of toasty nuts and vanilla, charred oak, and hints of spice. The finish is rounded and lingers, offering one last taste of its sweet smoothness.

How to Drink Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey

There are numerous ways to enjoy Tennessee Honey. It is a valuable asset to any bar as both a straight sipper and a cocktail mixer.

Tennessee Honey is billed as both a cold shot and a sipping whiskey. Chilling dulls the honey flavor, which is nice at times but not always desirable. For an ultra-smooth shot, serve it as cold as possible. Stick the bottle in the freezer, if you like—at 70 proof, this liqueur shouldn't freeze. When you want a flavorful whiskey-backed, sweetened sipper, don't go too cold. Stick with a single ice cube and enjoy its full flavor.

As with many whiskey liqueurs, simple is often best when it comes to mixing with Tennessee Honey. Pour a shot over ice and top it with soda for a delightful tall drink; try it with cola, Dr. Pepper, or lighter sodas like ginger ale and lemon-lime soda. For something less sweet, go with a spicy ginger beer.

Tennessee Honey is also fantastic with lemonade or iced tea. It adds an intriguing twist to the legendary Lynchburg Lemonade when it replaces triple sec. In autumn and winter, use it as the base liquor or sweetener to spike hot coffee, tea, or apple cider.

For more ideas, you'll want to think about where it works as a substitute. It can replace the whiskey in some whiskey cocktails if you adjust the sweetener. For instance, skip the sugar completely when making a Tennessee Honey old-fashioned. You can also use it to add an extra kick to drinks by replacing a sweetener like honey or simple syrup. And, as long as a drink can handle that Jack Daniel's background, it can work surprisingly well in drinks that use other honey-flavored liqueurs, such as Bärenjäger and Bénédictine.

Cocktail Recipes

Get creative when seeking out drink recipes where Tennessee Honey will shine. When you keep in mind its Tennessee whiskey base, there are quite a few possibilities:

  • Hot Toddy: Use Tennessee Honey as the only liquor or let it become the sweetener.
  • Honey Citrus Drop Shooter: Substitute Bärenjäger with Tennessee Honey.
  • Milk and Honey: Substitute Bénédictine with Tennessee Honey in the warm version.
  • Spiked Arnold Palmer: Sweeten the lemonade with Tennessee Honey or use it as a vodka substitute.
  • Tea Tini - Replace the honey with Tennessee Honey, or use the liqueur instead of the vodka and honey.