Wednesday, December 5, 2012

cocktail: applejack old fashioned

I'm not a big fruit person, but I do love apples--their scent, texture (nice crisp ones only please), and flavor (the Pink Lady is my favorite, but I like most varieties that have a good tart/sweet balance).  Unfortunately, this was an awful year for apples and apple farmers in western Michigan.  Unseasonable 90 degree temperatures in March, followed by a very late April frost, killed off most of the local apple production.  Maybe it was the dearth of local apples and cider that drove me to finally add a bottle of applejack to my home bar.

Laird's Applejack is the oldest commercially distilled American spirit.  In the American colonies, the usual sources of whiskey--corn, rye, and barley--were not available.  But apples were.  These were made into cider, that was then distilled into applejack.  Laird & Company started making applejack in New Jersey in 1698, and you can still buy a bottle of Laird's today.  It's not very expensive, and it's the ingredient in a number of classic cocktails.  It has a slight sweetness and, yes, a delicious apple flavor.  (You can read much more about Laird & Company and the history of applejack in this New York Times article from 2005.)

I've mixed up a couple different applejack-y cocktails (it makes a nice hot toddy), but my favorite by far has been this very simple Applejack Old Fashioned (recipe found here).  Here's what you do:

In a rocks glass, stir the following together:
*2 oz Laird's Applejack
*2 dashes bitters (Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged preferred; I used Fee Brothers Old Fashioned, and Angostura would work, also)
*1 tsp (or to taste--I like a bit less) maple syrup

After stirring, drop in a large ice cube or two, stir a bit more, and enjoy!  This is a strong drink, but it has a very drinkable sweetness to it.




  1. This sounds great! Shay made me a sidecar last night (with half Maker's and half brandy, which was interesting), and I gotta say, it may be my new cocktail of choice for a while. :) I gotta get him to make this for me!

  2. I've never tried Applejack, but with such history I'll have to give it a try. I can imagine it would be excellent with spices, too.

    I'm so tired of the weather being weird. It's just been "unseasonably warm" for most of the last two years here. We didn't even have a proper snow last year! :-(

    1. Lauren, I made a toddy with the applejack and Bahrenjager (honey liqueur), plus cinnamon, clove, and a slice of orange. I'm not really a toddy person, but it was delicious!

      I'm with you on being unhappy about the unseasonable warmth. It was really awful to see the local apple crop just--not appear. :(

  3. I can't say I've heard of Applejack before but it does sound tasty. I wonder if I can find it where I am… I shall try!

    Pink Lady apples are my favourite too. :)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin