The Applejack Rabbit

December 4, 2012


One of the main goals of the Night Cap is to expose or re-introduce varieties of alcohol, whether that be beer, wine, or liquor, in a way that provides legitimate reasons to add to your own collection. Particularly on the liquor front, it is so easy to default to the basics when entering a liquor store, but when armed with cocktail recipes or ideas that taste as good as this Applejack Rabbit, you’ll be grabbing up bottles of Apple Brandy and whatever else we showcase guaranteed.

This is one of those cocktails that is way greater than the sum of its parts. Lemon juice, orange juice, and maple syrup pair with the Apple Brandy and all take on some crazy synergistic flavor profile that is insanely delicious; not to mention a little too drinkable if you know what I mean. But Apple Brandy, or as the French call it, Calvados, itself has a pretty interesting connection to the booze-fiending habits of our earliest American ancestors making this drink even more exciting.

As I’ve mentioned in a few previous posts, one of the more crude but effective methods for distillation utilizes Mother Nature in a way that seems part genius, part dumb luck. As the cold winters of the early American settlers kicked in to full ass-freezing gear, the temperatures dropped significantly. Just like in traditional distillation where we take advantage of the difference in boiling temperatures of alcohol and water, in “freeze distillation” we relish in the fact that alcohol also has a much lower freezing temperature point. This is why of course we can put our bottles of vodka in the freezer.

So as the temperatures dropped, the water component of the fermented juices (often apple) in barrels would begin to freeze. As ice freezes and it’s density drops, the barrel became increasing alcoholic down to the bottom. By chance or by intuition, tapping these barrels at the bottom rendered wonderfully strong barrel aged liquors, one of the more common, an Apple Brandy or sometimes referred to as Apple Jack.

We of course did not go through the freeze distillation process for our cocktails as our winter has not quite kicked into full gear (let’s go with that as the only excuse here…). Luckily there are a number of great Apple Brandy options out there. But we recommend sticking with Laird’s or a well rated French Calvados. Once it becomes more available, I’m looking forward to adding in the NY produced, Cornelius, to the mix as well.

The Applejack Rabbit is easy and delicious and goes great for any occasion. But don’t overlook the Apple Brandy as a sipping spirit as well. Great after a long winter’s day! Enjoy!



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