Refreshing Boozy Jack Rose Apple Cocktail with Brandy
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Jack Rose Cocktail

A classic cocktail with a crisp, fruity taste, the Jack Rose is an American original. Its origins date back to the turn of the century, but its mellow and refreshing flavor has helped it remain popular even today.

About the Jack Rose

Although specifics are unknown, the Jack Rose first appeared in the 20th century in the New York and New Jersey areas. The drink developed a solid fan base throughout Prohibition, and it then grew in popularity throughout the years due to mentions in various Hemingway and Steinbeck stories.

The main ingredient is applejack, which has a fascinating history all its own. Applejack is an apple brandy, a spirit that originated during colonial times in the American northeast, an area with an abundance of apples.

For many decades, apple brandy and applejack were considered the same spirit. However, in the 1960s, the federal government and the Laird and Company distillery developed official standards for blended apple brandy. Legally, apple brandy and applejack are different products, with applejack requiring a blend of 20% apple distillate aged in oak for at least two years.

Originally, manufacturing applejack required a freeze distilling process. Hard apple cider is frozen, the frozen water removed, and the remaining apple spirit collected. The process was called “jacking,” and while effective, it’s also incredibly dangerous. Modern applejack is distilled in the traditional way.

Laird and Company play a key role in applejack history. They’re the largest applejack distiller in the US and the longest continually operating distiller in the country of any kind. Plus, their applejack is widely considered the brand first used to make the Jack Rose.

However, it’s important to note that you don’t need this specific brand to make this drink; any applejack or wood-aged apple brandy will work great.

Ingredients for a Jack Rose

You only need a few basic ingredients to make this drink:

  • 1 1/2 ounces of apple brandy or applejack
  • 1/2 ounces of grenadine
  • 3/4 ounces of lemon juice

How to Make a Jack Rose

Jack Rose cocktails only take a few minutes to make:

1. Combine Ingredients

Add the grenadine, lemon juice, and applejack to the shaker. Next, pack it about three-quarters full with ice. Shake for about 25 seconds. When an even coating of condensation forms on the outside of the shaker, the drink is thoroughly chilled and ready to serve.

2. Pour the Drink

Traditionally, a Jack Rose is served in a coupe glass or champagne saucer. While you want to use a strainer to keep the ice out of the glass, it doesn’t need to be particularly fine, as the drink doesn’t have any large fruit chunks. Finally, garnish with a lemon.   

Variations

The biggest recipe variance is whether to use lime or lemon juice. Lime creates a more robust, tropical flavor. Lemon is subtler with more tartness. Whichever you prefer, the drink will probably taste best if you then garnish it with the same fruit.

Also, you can experiment with different types of apple brandy. Wood-aged apple brandy delivers the most authentic taste, but both non-aged, clear brandy and Calvados, a French apple brandy, can also make a delicious Jack Rose.

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