It has been one of those weeks—work snuck up and gave me the stress-and-deadlines equivalent of a sound beating with a blunt object, so needless to say I have been a little lax about typing up a post. I really need to replenish my selection of drafts, but I always think about these things when I’m too busy to do them and then promptly forget when I become un-busy. It’s a vicious cycle, I tell you.
Anyway, I’m here now, and I bring you a classic first introduced to me by the one and only Ted Haigh, aka Doctor Cocktail. I had seen this in the pages of Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails but only tried it after Ted explained its construction to a (very patient and cooperative) bartender while we were terrorizing the bars downtown. Said bartender was already wearing one of our party’s Negronis from a tragic shaker malfunction earlier in the evening, so I imagine the Jack Rose was a welcome respite from our wardrobe-destroying Campari fixation.
One of David Embury’s six essential cocktails from The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, the Jack Rose was popular during the Prohibition years and was mentioned by name in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, which also contains the first printed reference to “The Lost Generation,” Gertrude Stein’s phrase for writers like Hemingway and Fitzgerald who so embodied the pathos of the generation coping between the wars. Which is neither here nor there, as the Jack Rose has its own eclectic history:
The simplest explanation of the name is the fact that it is made with applejack and is rose colored from the grenadine. Also, it is possibly named after, or even invented by, the infamous hitman Jack Rose. Albert Stevens Crockett (Old Waldorf Bar Days, 1931) states that it is named after the pink Jacquemot (also known as Jacqueminot or Jacque) rose. It has also been posited that the Jack Rose was invented by Joseph P. Rose, a Newark, NJ restaurateur, and named by him “in honor” of a defendant in a trial then being held at the courthouse in that city. (Joseph P. Rose once held the title of “World’s Champion Mixologist.”) – from Wikipedia
I’m inclined to think that the name is derived from applejack and the rose hue of the drink, but it entertains me to think it refers to a hitman, the drink’s creator issuing a sly warning about his concoction’s potency. You say tomato, I say psycho killer, qu’est-ce que c’est…
1½ oz applejack
½ oz fresh lemon juice
½ oz grenadine
Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon or lime wedge and serve.
So, as I was saying about the potency of this drink, here’s a word to the wise: if all you have in the house is Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy, you may want to consider tinkering with the proportions a bit. Granted, it tastes really good—tart and sweet apple flavors combined with the acid from the lemon and a little oomph from some rich homemade grenadine (which, not being artificially colored, does not impart the same rosy hue as a commercial version). However, at 100º it will put a hurt on you. Sort of like a contract for your life issued to Jack Rose. In a metaphorical sense, anyway.