Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cocktails To Toast George Washington On His Birthday



posted at City's Best

When Robert Laird founded the first commercial distillery in America back in 1780, it probably never occurred to him that we'd still be indebted to his initiative centuries later. The product of his efforts, Laird's Applejack, which his family had been producing privately for some 100 years prior, is a brandy made from fermented cider. To make it back then, they'd bury a barrel of cider in the frozen ground, then scrape off the ice that formed on top. Voila, old-timey drinking! 

While it may not be as popular as it was in colonial times, Laird's Applejack is a staple at any cocktail bar with a proper sense of history today. That's because it's one of the most important spirits in the mythology of American drinking. Johnny Appleseed sung the apple brandy's praises on his iconic journey across the country, and presidents throughout history have been known to be partial to its lightly spiced apple and caramel bite.


George Washington was enamored of the spirit and managed to wrangle the recipe from Laird, one of his soldiers at one point. Abraham Lincoln served the stuff at his Springfield, Ill., tavern, and William Henry Harrison and Lyndon Johnson were fans as well.

"It's an American pastime in a bottle," says Kevin Martin of Eastern Standard. "I think it's a great way to segue people into the brandy world. It has that fermented apple, that rugged rusticity, but a balanced sweetness and dryness to it."

While it's most commonly used in a Jack Rose cocktail or a Pink Lady. It shows up on two other recipes at Eastern Standard as well.

"It mixes incredibly well in cocktails," Martin says. "It takes on flavors very well, but at the same time, it's strong enough to exude flavors through a cocktail."

What's more American than that?


The New Jersey Flip

Ingredients:
1 oz. tawny ten-year port
1 oz. Laird's Applejack
1/2 oz. Galliano
1 barspoon fine sugar
1 full egg

Instructions:
Shake all ingredients together hard, then strain and serve up.

The Sexy Beast

Ingredients:
1 oz. Laird's Applejack
1/2 oz. orange juice
1/2 oz. Benedictine
1/2 oz. Infusion Diabolique bourbon
1 barspoon fine sugar
1 full egg

Instructions:
Shake all ingredients together hard, then strain and serve up. Garnish with an orange peel.

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