With an especially cool summer and crisper weather already in the air, it’s easy to anticipate the smell of apples and campfires. Those not ready to give up summer yet might enjoy this shoulder-season drink, dating to about 100 years ago, with a base spirit from one of the first licensed distilleries in the United States: Laird’s Bonded Applejack. It's essentially a distilled apple cider first made here by a Scotsman back in Colonial times.
Incredibly, this cocktail can still be found on menus today after a century in existence, and yet it is virtually unknown. Mixing NYC’s latest edition is The Ship, positioned discreetely in SoHo. Partner and head bartender Cervantes Ramirez has curated a menu of classics that he made for years during his tenure at Little Branch, where he worked since it opened nine years ago. Drinking well is far from a secretive affair these days, and Cervantes aims to make The Ship a neighborhood respite of craft and service in a sea of establishments that often just feign quality.
Light and with a hint of apple aromatics, the Jack Rose is the perfect example of those deceivingly simple three-ingredient drinks that can “whet rather than dull the appetite,” as author David Embury outlined as a requirement for great cocktails in his 1948 The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. Included by Embury as one of the six basic drinks – alongside the Martini, Old Fashioned and Daiquiri – it’s hard to tell why the Jack Rose, and applejack for that matter, might have fallen out of popularity. It’s never too late, though, to start enjoying this tart, rose-colored taste of American history.
- 2 ounces Laird's Bonded Applejack
- 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
- 3/4 ounce grenadine
- Combine all ingredients into a shaker tin and add ice.
- Shake vigorously for 10 seconds.
- Strain into a chilled coupe.
- Garnish with a lime wedge.
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