Jack Rose

When considering a festive cocktail for the Fourth of July, I opted to avoid the usual red, white, and blue layered concoction.  Which, by the way, inevitably becomes purple, in case you didn’t know.  Instead, I decided to focus on more quintessential American cocktails. There are a number of them but I narrowed in on cocktails featuring an original American spirit, applejack. 

The history of applejack is pretty fascinating – the Laird company has been producing applejack since the colonial era and is the first and oldest distillery in America. (read more here) Applejack was very popular during these early days, but as trade increased and availability of other spirits (such as rum) increased, its popularity declined. Recently, however, the interest in applejack has started to rise again. I certainly couldn’t think of a better time to highlight this lovely liquor. 

Jack Rose

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Credit: multiple – liquor.com, imbibe, The Spruce Eats, Diffords


  • 2 oz Laird’s Applejack
  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • ½ oz grenadine


  1. Put all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or double old-fashioned


There are quite a few  iterations of this cocktail, all with slight variations in amounts of the ingredients. Some call for lime juice or a combination of lemon and lime juice. Another one even includes bitters. I don’t find it necessary to make this drink complicated.  I have tried the lemon/lime juice combo, which was nice. Bitters…well, my husband believes that every drink should have bitters, but I have not tried it – maybe next time? Feel free to experiment with what you have on hand. 

A couple key things – First, use Laird’s Applejack, or an American apple brandy.  I have not looked for any brands other than Laird’s, but I hear they exist and they are good.  Applejack is definitely not the same as French Calvados. Second, homemade grenadine (pomegranate simple syrup) is always preferred. It’s simple to make and keeps pretty well in the fridge to use in other beverages.  My recipe for homemade grenadine can be found here.

The apple flavor is fairly prominent in this drink.  But, beyond that, it is a basic “sour” type cocktail. The applejack brings that robust heartiness that brown spirits do, but is a bit softer than whiskey. While the lemon juice and grenadine soften the drink a bit, they don’t dilute the flavor of the applejack. For those who enjoy whiskey or brandy sours, this is a nice variation.  This drink is smooth with a hint of sweetness…a nice sip for a hot early July evening, as we contemplate and celebrate the experiences of our forefathers. Cheers!

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