A mixture of two Southern favorites with over a century of history, Jack Daniel’s and Coke is also one of the simplest mixed drinks there is. Despite its simplicity and popularity, however, it isn’t just a sweet party drink. The interaction of two slightly different caramel flavors — the sweeter cola and the burnt caramel notes of the whiskey — produces a surprisingly complex result. Making the basic drink is straightforward and quick, but there are several possible variations.


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Drop a few ice cubes into a Collins or Old Fashioned glass, then pour in a generous measure of whiskey. Top up the glass with cola and garnish with a slice of lime. You can adjust the exact proportion of whiskey and cola to suit your taste, but one part whiskey to three or four parts cola is typical. Some whiskey lovers reverse the proportion, adding a smaller amount of cola just to bring out the flavors in the whiskey.

Replacing the Tennessee whiskey in a Jack and Coke with another whiskey can be instructive. Most bourbons have similar caramel notes and therefore also mix well with cola. Most Scotch and Irish whiskeys lack the sweetness needed to really complement cola. A more ambitious re-imagining of this classic mixes cola and sugar to create a sweet syrup, and adds a very small amount — just a quarter of an ounce — to a normal serving of whiskey. A dash of bitters and a lemon twist complete a drink where the whiskey dominates, but benefits from the intense sweetness of the cola syrup.

Pre-mixed versions of this cocktail in cans or bottles — or alcoholic beverages with similar flavors — have a long history, with different varieties produced for different markets around the world. These typically have a slightly lower alcohol content than a Jack and Coke; a one-to-three ratio gives the mixed drink around 10% alcohol, while bottled versions are typically around 5%.