Whiskey isn’t the only spirit that’s destined to be sipped in the cooler seasons—ruby red applejack tastes like liquid fall. The potent apple brandy is a relic of the American colonial period, where it was made by concentrating apple cider through freeze distillation or “jacking,” which increased its alcohol content. The hooch was so popular in New Jersey that people actually used it as currency, giving it the nickname “Jersey Lightning.” If you have a bottle of Laird’s lying around but have no idea what do with it, here are five of our favorite ways to use applejack.
5 Tasty Ways to Use Up a Bottle of Applejack
Essentially an Apple Brandy Sour, the Honeymoon was a popular drink in the 1920s at the iconic Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles. Though the drink has since fallen out of favor, we think it’s high time to bring it back. A heavy pour of applejack gets shaken with Combier orange liqueur, herbal Bénédictine and freshly squeezed lemon juice. It’s tart, bright and boozy, and an excellent alternative to the classic Sidecar.
Sangria traditionally calls for brandy, so applejack is an amazing base for an autumnal take on the recipe. This Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria mixes applejack with white wine, sparkling apple cider, fresh lemon, cinnamon syrup and a host of fall-appropriate garnishes, like chopped red apples, pomegranate seeds and cinnamon sticks. Top it with club soda for extra spritz, and sip it on a crisp fall afternoon.
Sparkling Apple Cider
This classic cocktail may have a demure name, but the Pink Lady actually packs quite the punch. Applejack combines with London Dry gin, lemon juice, grenadine (use a homemade one) and an egg white for frothiness. Fruity yet dry, the Pink Lady is a balanced delight that’s perfect anytime of day.
Inspired by the classic Lion’s Tail, the whimsical Heavyweight Boxer can be made with the same boxed apple juice you used to drink as a kid at lunch time. Bourbon, scotch and applejack provide a strong spirited backbone, which gets tempered by a little allspice dram, honey syrup and fresh lime juice. Garnish with an apple slice and serve it right in the apple juice box for maximum nostalgia factor.
Apple juice box
The Jack Rose is arguably the most popular applejack cocktail, and likely the reason you bought a bottle of the stuff to begin with. Transform the classic tipple into an edible treat by making a fruit roll-up with the same ingredients. Applesauce, lime juice, pomegranate molasses and applejack get thoroughly mixed then dehydrated on a sheet tray. Once dehydrated, peel the fruit leather off the tray, roll it into adorable bite-sized parcels, and take your boozy snack on the go.