Jack Maxwell, left, with Steve Morse, director of the hospitality and tourism program in the College of Business at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C. Previously, Morse taught in the Tourism Institute at the University of Tennessee.
Our friends at Scripps Networks Interactive summoned a few folks last Friday to happy hour at the tiny Peter Kern Library, the speakeasy off the lobby of The Oliver Hotel in downtown Knoxville. The purpose of the event: to introduce everyone to Jack Maxwell, the star of the new Travel Channel show, “Booze Traveler.”
Maxwell, 51, is an actor and former bartender from South Boston who says he learned in that profession that when you sit down with a stranger over a few drinks, “the whole world opens up.” In his 15-episode series, which airs on Mondays at 10 p.m., Maxwell and his crew travel to various locations around the world, including Armenia, Belize, Lithuania, Mongolia and Nepal. At each stop, Maxwell drinks with locals and learns about the alcohol customs of each country which, as you can imagine, vary widely.
On Friday, guests were treated to two signature cocktails, “High Note,” made of Whisper Creek, Nonino Amaro, Fernet-Branca, root beer bitters and coffee liqueur; and “Aunt Adelaide,” made of Fords gin, Dolin Blanc, Aperol, orange liqueur, lemon juice, orange bitters and muddled strawberry. Folks seemed to be enjoying both, but because I was headed to another event, I stuck to pinot grigio because I was better able to gauge its expected effect on me.
Maxwell seemed like an affable fellow. His previous credits include stints on “Lost,” “24” and even the original “Beverly Hills 90210.”
“Booze Traveler” is produced by Karga Seven Pictures in association with White Reindeer Productions for the Travel Channel. Travel Channel is the world’s leading travel media brand and is available in over 94 million U.S. cable homes.
Jack Maxwell shares a story with Rani Robinson, left, and Anna Garwood, both of Travel Channel.
Annette Brun, left, a vice president at Scripps, with photographer Brittney Searles Gazaway.
Jim Samples, president of International for Scripps Networks Interactive, left, with Clint Johnston of triphackr.com.
Mary Constantine, food editor of the News Sentinel, and Alan Carmichael, my hubs.
Michael Torano, director of marketing and public relations for Knoxville Opera, and Cheri Elliot, of Scripps Networks.
Jack Maxwell, center, with Robin Pate of Scripps Networks and Rick Gomes of Travel Channel.
James and Hannah Slaughter of the blog hannahandhusband.com.
Michael Riley, the general manager of The Oliver, center, with Rachel Riley and Brad Hubbs.
Alan Carmichael, right, with Erin Bartlett of WVLT and her boyfriend, Mario Azevedo.
Rani Robinson, right, with Rebecca Webster, associate editor of Cityview magazine.
Here’s one of those signature cocktails — “Aunt Adelaide.”
Here is a “High Note.”
Over by the food table, we found Kristin Alm, director of corporate communications for Scripps, and Colby Gallahar, a Scripps intern. He’s eating a bacon chocolate chip cookie! Catering was by Food Network Kitchen.
Speaking of the catering, look at these ham biscuits with caramelized onions Yum.
Arancini stuffed with Fontina. OMG.
Smoked trout dip with Sweetwater Valley cheddar crackers rounded out the offerings.
Somehow it was appropriate to see this logo on cocktail napkins!
The hardest-working folks there were the bartenders! From left, Sarah Holland, Palmer Mason and Krista Stevenson. Great job, folks.
Dylan Jones, left, Scripps’ senior vice president of corporate communications, and Jim Biggs, executive director of the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center.
Kristin Alm and Luke Ball, a student at Western Carolina University and active family member in the popular Troy and Sons distillery in Asheville.
Don’t forget to tune in Mondays at 10.
Loved the parting gifts: a little bottle of Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream, a great cocktail glass with the Travel Channel logo and a luggage tag. Thanks!
In addition to all those exotic locales the Booze Traveler visited, he also taped an episode in Knoxville! That show airs March 2.
Here’s a story my buddy Mary Constantine posted on knoxnews.com. Click here.