What Is Applejack And Why Does It Belong In Your Cocktails?

apple brandy with whole apples
apple brandy with whole apples - Tasipas/Getty Images

Any enjoyer of spirits is sure to be familiar with classic liquors like vodka, gin, tequila, whiskey, and rum. You may have even dabbled in a few deeper cuts like Aperol or coffee liqueur thanks to popular cocktails like the Aperol spritz and the espresso martini. However, there are many other spirits that are well worth your time. Today, we're sharing our favorite lesser-known liquor that deserves its time in the spotlight: applejack.

Applejack is a special type of apple brandy that has a rich history in the United States. What makes it so unique is the way it was first distilled all the way back in the 1600s. Makers of this spirit would use a method called jacking, which involved freezing the water out of apple cider to make it a higher proof. These days, it is instead standard practice to raise the alcohol content of apple brandy by simply blending it with another neutral liquor, but it remains an American classic. Many enjoy this spirit for its boozy, distinctly apple-forward flavor as well as its relative smoothness and drinkability despite its higher alcohol content — typically from 20 to 40 percent ABV but sometimes even higher.

Read more: The 40 Absolute Best Cocktails That Feature Only 2 Ingredients

How To Use Applejack In Cocktails

a jack rose cocktail
a jack rose cocktail - Bhofack2/Getty Images

Since this variety of apple brandy has been around for centuries, it is no surprise that it has an established set of cocktails for which it is required. If you would like to try applejack out in a drink where it can be guaranteed to taste delicious, we recommend the sweet and super-approachable Jack Rose cocktail, which pairs applejack with grenadine and fresh lime juice. It is also used to make many contemporary takes on the appletini, taking the place of sour apple schnapps.

Of course, there are many delicious and creative ways to incorporate this versatile spirit into other drinks. Use it to turn a classic drink like an old fashioned or a Manhattan into a seasonal favorite, as its sweet and fruity notes will complement the autumnal flavors already present in many whiskeys. Additionally, it can also be used as a fantastic way to fortify beverages while adding flavor — try using it to spike your next batch of homemade apple cider for an extra-warming adult treat or as a way to make a pitcher of sangria exceptionally fruity and strong.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.