Until a week ago I had never heard of the spirit called Applejack. Apparently back in Colonial times when strapping men were settling this great land of ours they produced a lot of apples. These apples were made into cider which was consumed in massive amounts and ranked as the number one beverage in America. Heck, John Adams liked to start his day with a tankard of the beverage. The left over cider was made into applejack during the winter by the freeze distillation process. This allowed for the alcohol in the cider to be concentrated, but risked producing methanol as a byproduct. Methanol can cause blindness, coma, or even death. Today’s applejack is safely distilled and one of its producers, Laird & Company is the oldest commercial distillery in America.
Enough with the history lesson, applejack can be used to make a variety of cocktails including the Jack Rose. The drink is a fairly straightforward mixture of applejack, grenadine, and lemon or lime juice. Which citrus to use is the matter of some debate. Douglas Ford of Cold Glass tackled the lemon vs. lime dilemma and noted the Savoy Cocktail Book used lemon, Laird & Company used lemon, but Forgotten Cocktails left the mixer of choice up to the bartender. My only question was which one tasted better?
To answer this I mixed up the drink both ways. I used a 1/2 oz of citrus in each drink. First up was lemon which certainly provided for a mouth puckering experience. The lime version was more subtle and at least to my untrained palate worked better with the apple notes of the drink’s star. Whichever juice you use, lemon or lime, the drink is a very pretty rose color.
2 oz applejack
1/2 oz. lime or lemon juice
1/2 oz. grenadine
Pour ingredients into a shaker, fill 1/2 way with cracked ice. Shake well and strain into a glass.
*One last note, my favorite cocktail glass broke in the sink last week. A cracked stem did it in, and I have yet to find any normal sized martini glasses in Tallahassee.