Cocktail of the Week: The Jack Rose

18 Jan

During my constant search for delicious new cocktail ingredients, I’ve come across recipes that include Applejack on several occasions and have always been curious about it.  I mistakenly assumed it was something akin to sour apple schnapps or some other disgustingly sugary nonsense and so never bothered to try it out.  Oh how wrong I was!

Applejack tastes more like a slightly fruity (and in no way cloying) whiskey than any kind of fruity liqueur I’ve tasted.  And not only that, it’s basically the grandaddy of American cocktail making.  According to Wikipedia, Applejack is “a strong alcoholic beverage produced from apples, popular in the American colonial period and thought to originate from the French apple brandy Calvados. Applejack is made by concentrating hard cider, either by the traditional method of freeze distillation or by true evaporative distillation. The term applejack derives from jacking, a term for freeze distillation.”  Lair’s Applejack is the only brand I’ve ever seen and seeing as they’ve been making the stuff since 1780, they seem to be a pretty safe bet.

A friend of mine mentioned she was making Jack Rose cocktails over Thanksgiving, which piqued my interest in Applejack.  I decided to buy a bottle of my own and try my hand at a Jack Rose cocktail.  It’s the perfect drink for me- smoky, a little fruity and seriously tart.  If you’re not as much of a tang-a-holic as I am, you can halve the lime juice for a mellower, sweeter drink.


  • 2 ounces applejack
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce grenadine

Shake the applejack and other ingredients well with cracked ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


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