Last month, a new cocktail surged onto the scene thanks to a collaboration by two, at first, seemingly disparate spirits. It’s called Velvet Fire and it’s simple as cocktails get, two parts Disaronno Velvet and one part Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire.
The new mixed drink came about thanks to a collaborative effort by both companies along with suggestions made by cocktail maestros from across the United States. The resulting beverage delivers sweet and spicy notes that pair perfectly with its almond and cream undertones.
In this week’s Bottle Breakdown, we sat down with Ignacio Llaneza, Vice President of Brand & Trade Marketing for Disaronno, and Lauren Richmond, Brand Manager for Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire, to discuss the origins of Velvet Fire and their favorite ways to enjoy the latest cocktail craze.
Spirited Zine: Let’s start with Disaronno Velvet. It’s a cream liqueur that features a distinct touch of amaretto. What makes it such an ideal ingredient for mixed drinks?
Ignacio Llaneza: Disaronno Velvet has exceptional mixability. It is a liqueur that offers consumers not just another typical cream liqueur, but one that incorporates the quintessential Amaretto flavor that they know and love from Disaronno Originale. Whether cream liqueur enthusiasts are preparing White Russians or Espresso Martinis at home, Disaronno Velvet is the ideal choice that adds a touch of Italian elegance to these very popular and trending cocktails.
SZ: Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire is a blend of cinnamon liqueur with Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7. What’s special about the way Tennessee Fire impacts cocktails? And how is it used to put a twist on the usual?
Lauren Richmond: The combination of a cinnamon liqueur with our signature Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey helps to add a sweet and fiery kick whether consumers enjoy it on the rocks or in a number of cocktails, like Velvet Fire. Whiskey enthusiasts that are looking for a cinnamon twist with a smooth finish can add Tennessee Fire in libations such as a whiskey sour or hot toddy to help bring up the heat.
SZ: Disaronno and Whiskey seem to be from completely different sides of the alcohol spectrum, so why did you think the combo would work in the first place?
IL: Seeing the growth of the flavored whiskey and cream liqueur categories in the U.S., our teams felt it was time to combine both flavor profiles and create Velvet Fire. Our iconic brands offer something unique that helps showcase to consumers just how versatile each product can be on its own and the terrific flavor that takes place when combined.
SZ: Velvet Fire is a combination of Disaronno Velvet and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire. Who was the first one to combine the two drinks? Was it a happy accident or were you testing through various combinations?
IL: We looked at flavor and mixology trends in the market and decided to try the combination. We saw it worked well and approached the team at Jack Daniel’s who was very receptive to the idea. We both share distributor networks which helped bring this cross promotional idea to the market in a most efficient and effective way.
SZ: What was the feeling you got when you first tried Velvet Fire? Was it an immediate hit or did you need to work on the ratios, but knew something was there?
IL: We instinctively knew that a 2 to 1 ratio would be about right. Velvet provides the creamy texture and wonderful nutty and floral notes and Tennessee Fire adds the spicy cinnamon twist that brings the whole drink home. It really is a great combination.
LR: We knew that this would be a great pairing based on previous consumer pairings of flavored whiskey and liqueurs and we therefore decided to reach out to our brand ambassadors around the country and they came back with a host of pairings and cocktail recipes for Jack Fire & Disaronno Velvet.
SZ: How should we drink Velvet Fire? And what should we be consuming it with?
IL: My favorite way of drinking Velvet Fire is shaken with ice and strained. But it also works well served on ice or combined neat. It’s a tasty and fun drink specially great for social gatherings large and small any time of the year. Anyone can show off their cocktail shaking moves with this very easy to make drink.
LR: One of my new hobbies has been practicing my mixology skills especially with old fashion cocktails. My favorite way to try Velvet Fire with a twist and adding Cherry Heering with Chocolate Bitters. Stir all of the ingredients and strain over a large ice cube. It’s been a great addition to my cocktail repertoire.
SZ: Should we be expecting more of these types of combinations to be coming down the pipeline in the near future or was this just a one-off?
IL: We are constantly working on identifying drink recipes and the right brand partnerships. This helps us deliver great drink solutions that are easy to prepare and consumers can enjoy in the comfort of their homes year round. This helps promote our brands and drive retail sales so everybody wins.