Brandy is a spirit distilled from fruit and named for either the methods that it’s made by or for the region it’s distilled in. The most common variations of brandy include Cognac, Armagnac, Pisco, Calvados, Grappa, Apple Brandy, and Applejack.
So what’s the difference between Applejack and Apple Brandy? Both are distilled from apple cider, but Apple Brandy is traditionally distilled and aged while Applejack is jacked somehow. In the case of Laird’s Applejack, this means their Apple Brandy is blended with neutral spirits. Others may use freeze distillation to create theirs, but once the Brandy gets jacked, it becomes Applejack.
Laird’s is probably the most common brand of Applejack you’ll see, and it runs around $17 a bottle. Never having Applejack before this (though I have tried Apple Brandy), Laird’s a cool, mellow, naturally sweet, and freshly harvested apple flavor. This is easy to drink neat (straight – no ice) as the low alcohol doesn’t need watering down to enjoy it. I will definitely drink this through the fall with some cranberry bitters, and this simple cocktail is a great fit for Applejack, too:
- 1 1/2 oz applejack
- 1 tsp grenadine
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
A great description of Laird’s product, but historically the term applejack was basically synonymous with apple brandy. The “jacking” process was freezing cider to separate the alcohol from water but as stills become more common and the distilling industry more established steam distillation became the preferred method and it did not have to be cut with neutral spirits (or anything else) to be considered applejack.
Nice article, but give credit where credit is due. The cocktail is a Jack Rose, from Wm Boothby, in 1908