A few weeks ago I received an email from friend and fellow food blogger, Amanda Topper of The Ghost Guest inviting me to Sip, Simmer and Savor, a Culinary Event Series by the Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Collection. The event was being hosted by Boka and featuring chefs Paul Liebrandt and Lee Wolen for a special five-course paired dinner with cocktails made from Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Collection. Boka has been one of those restaurants on my “Must Try List” for years so I immediately jumped at the opportunity to attend and finally be able to recommend the Boka experience.
The Culinary Event Series by the Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Collection offers guests the opportunity to participate in a series of dinners, hands-on classes, and seminars led by some of the world’s most esteemed chefs including Einat Admony, Kevin Gillespie, Paul Liebrandt, Daniel Rose, and Lee Wolen among others. The brand selected these leading culinary innovators because these chefs share many of the same characteristics that Jack Daniel’s prides itself on; a deep caring not just about the product be it food or whiskey, but an overall passion for the craft.
The evening began with a series of passed appetizers paired with a cocktail made with Jack Daniels Single Barrel select, grape syrup, lemon juice, peychauds bitters, and topped with sparkling chenin blanc. I marveled at the complex flavors and beautiful plating that went into each little passed bite, every appetizer being better than the next.
Shigoku Oyster with Togarashi
Nori Chip with Black Garlic Puree, Smoked Eel and Fermented Radish
Crispy Chicken Skin topped with Chicken Liver Mousse
Savory Pain Purdu
Only after the room began to fill up did I realize that the restaurant had been closed for the evening in order to focus solely on the event. After an hour or so of cocktailing, we were ushered into the beautiful and simply decorated dining room and dinner immediately began. I’ve only been to a few fine dining restaurants and loved how pampered I felt the entire evening. Each dish was plated individually and often finished tableside in order to ensure all the elements were evenly balanced. I felt as if I’d been transported to an episode of Chef’s Table on Netflix!
Diver Scallop: pomme puree of smoked haddock/quince/green mango chutney
Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select, passion fruit, pernod, black pepper
Dry Aged Beef Tartare: black garlic/sorrel/oscetra caviar
Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select, nebbiolo, pu-erh, bitters
Kindai Kampachi: charcoal grilled beetroot/sheep’s milk yogurt/licorice
Jack Daniels Single Barrel Rye, yuzu raspberry, orange blossom
Whole Roasted Duck: foie gras/Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel gelee/sweet potato
Jack Daniels Single Barrel “duct fat” Rye, thyme, apple
Hazelnut and Coffee: raw milk ice cream/bourbon praline/toasted milk
Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select, amaro dell’ erborista, carpano dry, drambuie
Before each dish was served the different chefs and mixologists would get up and explain what we were about to eat and drink, plus explain how they came up with their ideas. It really helped me to appreciate each course much more, especially because I didn’t know what half the ingredients were in the cocktails. My experience with Jack Daniels prior to this evening consisted mainly of “jack and cokes” and after this meal I had a totally new appreciation of Jack Daniels whiskey and rye. I loved how the chefs were able to incorporate the flavors of Jack Daniels Single Barrel collection into each dish, yet keeping each course completely different tasting and unique.
It was hard choosing a favorite dish of the evening, but several other food bloggers at the event and I agreed that the beef tartare was definitely the most photogenic dish. In fact, if you stalk Instagram you’ll see at least five different photo renditions of the dish! The whole meal was absolutely fantastic and I’m already thinking of an excuse to visit Boka again. And of course, if I get a chance to dine there again, I’ll have to order a Jack Daniel’s whisky cocktail!