Back when America was mostly farms, America ran on apples. They were easy to grow, easy to keep through the winter, and—the last not being least—easy to ferment into hard apple cider. If you liked your tipple a bit stronger, you could let your cider freeze in winter to concentrate the alcohol and transform it into apple brandy, aka applejack, which was often consumed at breakfast. Applejack mostly disappeared around the time bourbon was capturing our collective attention, but New Jersey–based Laird & Co., which harvests and distills its apples near Charlottesville, Virginia, makes a wonderful example. Luckily, there are still some delicious cocktails with the applejack touch, too. The Applejack Rabbit is no young bunny—the first recipe for it dates to the 1920s.
Applejack Rabbit: A Cocktail for Virginia
When life hands you apples…
2 oz. apple brandy, such as Laird’s Bottled in Bond
¾ oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
¾ oz. freshly squeezed orange juice
½ oz. maple syrup, preferably Grade B
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add all ingredients and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass.