I typically equate hard cider with wimpy and/or gluten free drinkers. Reminds me of those that can’t digest milk. I get that its real, but still find it a little hard to comprehend.
So when I saw Michael Ruhlman do a mini-series of cocktail posts on Applejack, I was part flumoxed, part curious, and part scared. What was this brandy/cognac/whiskey and why on earth would anyone drink it? People who drink this have be of the same ilk as those that buy “hazlenut infused” coffee beans right? In other words…heretics!!
But, because Ruhlman posted on it, and a few times at that, I figured I would poke around.
Applejack is essentially (from what I can tell) “hard” hard-cider. Yeah, thats right, HARD hard-cider. Cider that has been fermented and then double distilled, which increases the alcohol content and becomes more “spirit-like.”
Note: I DO appreciate the recent renaissance in hard cider. It is REALLY COOL. There, I said it.
As I read about the rich Applejack history in our country, my interest was more than piqued. Apparently applejack had been VERY popular during Colonial times and was consumed throughout the New England states in large amounts. I thought I should explore. Anything that made our Founding Fathers happy, probably could make me happy too…right? So armed with a few great recipes, I decided to venture down to the store to find me a bottle.
Applejack tastes like it sounds is the best way I can put it. It tastes like whiskey that has been infused with apples, or at least something like that. It has a very nice aroma, nice and beautiful fall-like taste and is delicious. I tried three recipes in all and loved every one of them. The cider spirit with cider finish (Jersey) was delightful, the one with the shaken egg white (Sour) was full of depth and character, and the the smash with the muddled mint leaves was perfect.
So, in the spirit of the fall and with all of those beautiful apples hanging around orchards across our state, I share 3 different cocktails, all featuring Applejack as the primary spirit. Two (Smash and Sour) are slightly adapted from Michael Ruhlman’s blog and the third (Jersey) is from BT Parson’s book on Bitters, which is fab by the way.
All three are fun, and certainly cut out the wimp factor found in other hard cider drinks 😉
10 mint leaves
3 ounces applejack
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1 cherry – I have been buying these from Tillen Farms lately (Oregon) and love them.
Smash the mint in a shaker, then add the Applejack. Ideally, let the mint steep for 30 minutes or so.
Add the lemon juice and simple syrup to the shaker. Fill the shaker with ice, and shake hard to further smash to the mint.
Pour over ice in a rocks glass (through a strainer if you have one). Garnish with a cherry.
2 ounces applejack
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 ounce simple syrup
1 egg white
Lemon wheel, for garnish
Lime wheel, for garnish
Blend or dry-shake all ingredients.
Add ice to the shaker, swirl for 60-90 seconds to chill, and strain it over ice in a rocks glass, garnishing it with lemon and lime.
1 ounce applejack
1/4 ounce simple syrup
2 dashes bitters (Angostura or Fee Bros)
Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker and stir until ice cold. Pour into an old fashioned glass with cracked ice (bash up some of your cubes). Fill with hard cider and then garnish with lemon twist.
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