Cocktails Issue 24

Cocktails: Humble Baron at Nearest Green Distillery

Getting to know Humble Baron, the world’s longest bar on the Nearest Green Distillery Campus

Written by Maggie Kimberl

Uncle Nearest has made waves since its introduction in 2017. In 2019, founder Fawn Weaver was the first African American to grace the cover of American Whiskey Magazine, and master blender, and Nearest Green descendant, Victoria Eady Butler has won back-to-back Master Blender of the Year accolades in Whisky Magazine’s Icons of Whisky America awards. The theme of the Uncle Nearest brand seems to be ‘go big or go home’ and the distillery’s new bar is no exception. On March 23, 2023 Nearest Green Distillery’s on-campus restaurant, bar and live music venue, Humble Baron, was officially certified as the Longest Bar in the world by GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS. Receiving the certification as part of the venue’s grand opening ceremony, Humble Baron shattered a nearly 25-year-old record title by more than 100 feet, with its 518-foot-long, 17-station, 202-seat bar now the current record holder for the longest permanent continuous bar in the world.

“Humble Baron is a place where everyone has a seat at the table,” explains Humble Baron’s founder and Fawn’s husband, Keith Weaver. “We want our guests to pull up a seat at the world’s longest bar and enjoy some amazing music over a craft cocktail or a bite to eat and engage with those around them. Humble Baron reflects my varied music tastes and will bring all types of people, with all interests and backgrounds, together.”

Named after Keith’s nickname from Fawn, Humble Baron reflects Keith’s support, humility and leadership qualities.

“Although the vision of Humble Baron comes from the incredible mind of my favorite person on earth, I had the great honor of naming it,” Fawn said in a press release about the bar’s opening. “Keith’s storied career as an executive vice president for one of the largest movie studios in the world, and one of the highest-ranking Black executives in Hollywood for more than 20 years, causes people to look at him as a baron. But he’s remained the humblest person I’ve ever known throughout his impressive career.”

Humble Baron’s bar is wrapped around a stage that hosts live entertainment, and James Beard-nominated chef G Garvin has been tasked with creating a food menu that complements the bar menu, including Nashville hot shrimp and grits.

Chef G Garvin
Image courtesy of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey

“We actually worked really well hand-to-hand, especially before we actually opened the bar,” explains Humble Baron associate beverage director DeAndre Jackson. “We were doing a lot of catering events where if he would create a menu it would be three or four things, and I would come up with a couple of drinks, or if not one drink, just to match entirely in the menu. I like to do one for the entrée and one dessert cocktail to match whatever dessert he has.

“For Christmas, he had a caramel whiskey cheesecake, and then I made an eggless whiskey eggnog. I know people kind of stray from eggnog, some people don’t like eggs. So I did an eggless eggnog with French vanilla Jell-O pudding packs, and then some cinnamon, some nutmeg, of course whiskey, and then a chai syrup that we made in house. We worked together a lot. 

“One of my favorite drinks, and probably our most popular right now, is called Honey I’m Home. We were in the kitchen, he was actually making wings for an event, and he made some Nashville hot sauce that he uses for his Nashville hot shrimp, and we turned it into a honey syrup that we use in the Honey I’m Home cocktail.”

Jackson got his start bartending in Miami before joining a luxury movie theater/restaurant concept group, where he became the head bartender for the corporation. He opened bar programs for that company in New York, Washington DC, Arizona, and more before finally going to work for The Four Seasons. During his tenure with the luxury hotel group, he worked in Arizona before transferring back to Miami, where he worked with an international team whose influence he credits with making him the bartender he is today.

“That was where I was like, ‘This is what I want to do with the rest of my life,’ and I fell in love with creating drinks, so I’ve been doing that for the past 10 years,” he says.

During the pandemic, Jackson participated in a virtual bartending competition hosted by Uncle Nearest, and ended up in the finals. He traveled to the Nearest Green Distillery to participate in the finals with a handful of the best bartenders in the world and won that competition. Shortly after, he was hired to help run the bar program at Humble Baron, a considerably smaller market than he was used to serving.

“Nashville is actually not too far behind from the major cities I’ve been in,” Jackson explains. “I love barbecue, I love country music, I love being around people, I am super nomadic.”

Jackson draws inspiration for his cocktails from his decade of experience bartending all over the United States and learning from bartenders from all over the world.

“I sometimes start with the name of the drink, then I’ll start with some local ingredients that are meaningful for the people wherever I’m at, like Tennessee,” Jackson says. “We celebrate a lot of our Uncle Nearest spirits here on the menu, so that was the basis for me before opening up the bar. I’m able to start there and play with ingredients that I know, even if you don’t drink whiskey, I think you’ll like this. I pride myself on using fresh ingredients and making everything in-house, syrups and tinctures. That way I’m not limited to only doing one thing because of the core, we can make whatever flavor you want in-house.”

Making whiskey cocktails for the masses is more than just Old Fashioneds, and Jackson incorporates some unique ingredients in his cocktail recipes.

“Definitely a lot of citrus,” he explains. “We have a julep on the menu. I love doing things like shrubs. People shy away from shrubs because of the vinegar, but I feel like the whiskey really battles that vinegar and if you do it right, especially with the raspberry shrub that we have, I think it plays really, really well. I love infusing the whiskey, like a coconut fat wash whiskey – there are a lot of flavors to play with.”

Humble Baron is open Friday 5–11pm, Saturday 11am–11 pm, and Sunday 11am–10pm and makes a great stop before or after a tour at the Nearest Green Distillery.

“The idea of Humble Baron is that everyone gets a seat at the table,” says Jackson. “It’s a place for gathering and it’s an easy offering for many people that come to middle Tennessee that offers them a new experience. We showcase incredible cocktails and food as well as exceptional live music. I feel like this is one of a kind, and it’s a destination spot for sure.”

Queen’s Gambit 

Queen’s Gambit Cocktail
Image courtesy of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey

• 1.5 oz Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey

•  0.5 oz Sorel Liqueur

•  0.75 oz lemon juice

•  0.5 oz simple syrup

•  2 dashes apple blossom bitters

Shake and strain into a double Old Fashioned glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a dehydrated lemon wheel.

Humble Baron Old Fashioned

Humble Baron Old Fashioned
Image courtesy of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey

• 1.5 oz Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey

•  0.5 oz Sorel Liqueur

•  0.25 oz wildflower honey syrup

•  1 dash Hella Cocktail Co. Bitters

Build in a single Old Fashioned glass, add ice and stir. Garnish with a dehydrated lemon wheel.  

Dear Fawn

Dear Fawn
Image courtesy of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey

• 1.5 oz Uncle Nearest 1884 Small Batch Whiskey

•  1 oz cold brew concentrate

•  0.75 oz Mr Black Coffee Liqueur

•  0.25 oz demerara syrup

Shake and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with three coffee beans.  

Maggie Kimberl is a spirits journalist focusing on whiskey culture in the United States, though she considers herself to be 'geographically blessed' to live in the epicenter of the bourbon world, Louisville, Kentucky. When she's not covering the bourbon beat you can find her browsing through vintage vinyl with her kids or tending to her homegrown tomatoes. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and check out her blog.

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