This is a classic applejack cocktail that I’ve somehow never gotten around to featuring. As is the case with many cocktails dating back before Prohibition, the cocktail’s origins are murky at best, with no clear origination and a variety of theories on where the name comes from. The important thing is: it’s simple to make and tastes delicious, provided you use a real pomegranate grenadine.
Making your own grenadine (see below) will produce the best results, but there are several bottled brands that are pretty good. Check the ingredients list and make sure pomegranate juice is featured near the beginning. If it’s mostly corn syrup and red dye, try another brand — you’re not getting grenadine at that point, you’re getting pink simple syrup, which is an entirely different flavor profile.
What is Applejack?
Applejack is a type of brandy made from apple cider, which was quite popular in the American colonial period.
You can use lemon or lime juice in this cocktail, but this is a rare one where I prefer lemon. I think it works better with the apple flavors of the base liquor. I recommend experimenting to see which you prefer!
- 2 oz. Applejack (Laird’s)
- .75 oz. Fresh Lemon or Lime Juice
- .75 oz. Grenadine
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice and shake thoroughly. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. No garnish (though people sometimes use an apple slice).
- 1 Cup Pomegranate Juice
- 2/3 Cup Sugar
- .5 oz. Vodka
Pour the pomegranate juice into a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. As it warms, add the sugar and whisk until thoroughly integrated into the mixture. When it comes to a boil, drop the heat to medium low and let it reduce a bit — about three minutes. Then remove from heat, let it cool to room temperature, and add the vodka, stirring to combine. Bottled and kept refrigerated, this stuff will last at least a month.
This article is a modified and enhanced version of a post that ran on my nightly cocktail blog, DrinkShouts. Liquors in parentheses are what I used when I made this recipe, and are included as suggestions.