Laird's Applejack

Laird’s Applejack

As the snow fell outside my door (in October!), I yearned for something liquid to keep me warm. I headed out to my local liquor store to pick up a small bottle of Kaluha, but, as I was about to check out, a small bottle of Laird’s Applejack caught my eye.

Laird and Company has an impressive history. According to their website, they first started production of Applejack in Monmouth County, New Jersey in 1698. Around 1760, Applejack caught the fancy of one George Washington, who requested their recipe. When other distilleries and breweries shut down during Prohibition, some never to return, Laird and Company was granted a federal license under the Prohibition Act to produce apple brandy for “medicinal purposes.”

Applejack, however, is not just an apple brandy. It’s 35% apple brandy and 65% grain neutral spirits. As I poured it into a small glass for inspection, I could have mistaken it for a highly-filtered glass of apple juice. There was a hint of apple on the nose, but it was quickly overwhelmed by the vapors of alcohol, and the flavor is much the same. This wasn’t a sipping beverage—this liquor was made for mixing.

I went to the company website, and found a good list of recipes. A popular cocktail made with Applejack is the Jack Rose cocktail, but, missing grenadine, I decided to make the Applejack sour.

Applejack Sour

  • Servings: 4oz.
  • Difficulty: basic
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My first Applejack sour

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 oz. Laird’s AppleJack

Directions

Shake well with ice and strain into a sour glass, lowball or old-fashioned glass. Add cherry and orange slice for garnish.

I really liked this drink—a nice blend of apples and sour lemon on my tongue without being overly hot on the finish. I cannot overemphasize the importance of that teaspoon of sugar, though. I made one with and without, and it really made a difference. Don’t be afraid of sugar in a cocktail; it’s like that pinch of salt in a dessert recipe.

I decided to go off the radar on the next drink. I had some cranberry/grape-juice cocktail in my fridge, and said “What the hell?” I mixed it half and half with the Applejack.

Melba’s Cranjack

  • Servings: 4oz.
  • Difficulty: basic
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A perfect fall drink with Applejack

Ingredients

  • 2oz. of Applejack
  • 2oz. of cranberry/grape-juice cocktail

Directions

Combine in glass over ice and stir.

I was pleasantly surprised by the combination. It was tart, fresh, not overly sweet, and had a wonderfully warm finish. The combination of the apples, cranberry, and grape made this the perfect fall drink. I’d like to try it with fresh ingredients and warmed over a stove in the future.

At $10.99 for 350ml at my local—and expensive—liquor store, I recommend Laird’s Applejack for anyone who comes across it. It won’t break the bank to try, which is always in style for any season.