Applejack is one of our nation’s oldest alcoholic beverages: Laird’s, the oldest producer of apple jack, is also the nation’s oldest legal distillery. It received the first American distillery license issued in 1780. George Washington was producing applejack at his homestead as early as 1760 using the Laird family recipe. Read some more interesting historical facts about Laird’s here.
Like most things that are old and delicious, there has been an revival of applejack production, particularly in the tri-state area. New York has always been known for its apples, and each bottle of Cornelius Applejack is made from over 60 lbs of apples grown in the Hudson Valley. It’s made in small batches, and each bottle is carefully hand labled with the batch and bottle number. It’s a beautiful product, from the shape of the bottle to the intoxicating golden color of the drink itself.
The liqour smells sweet, with a hint of vanilla. It’s got a hell of a kick to it, but you can taste all the complexity of the apple flavors as it washes over your tongue. I was told there is someone in NYC who is drinking through all of the artisinal applejacks coming on to the market (are you out there?), and apparently this one is the best. At Astor Wine & Spirits, they recommended drinking it neat to enjoy the full flavor of the spirit. But I’ve discovered having it on the rocks with a teaspoon of simple syrup doesn’t hurt a thing. Neither does a couple muddled mint leaves, or a dash of Angostura bitters.