A Creolized Jack Rose

The Jack Rose is one of the perennial classics, very popular in pre- and just post-Prohibition times. A simple combination of applejack, lemon (or lime) juice and grenadine, it’s one that I keep returning to.

Many of the classic recipes seem quite sweet to me, though. The Savoy Cocktail Book recipe simply calls for 3/4 applejack and 1/4 grenadine, no citrus. Not enough balance for me. Speaking of the citrus, the classic recipe calls for lemon juice, but I love the way that lime plays with apples.

Others have called for as much as 1/2 ounce of grenadine — also too sweet. I’m fond of more tart drinks, and I’m also fond of bitters. Here’s the way I like to make it at home, with a little New Orleans touch. (For a standard Jack Rose, just omit the bitters.)

I don’t really care for Laird’s Applejack product — it’s now 65% grain neutral spirits, and only 35% actual apple brandy. (Sad.) However, Laird’s bonded Straight Apple Brandy, at 100 proof, is a phenomenal product and mixes beautifully, with a pronounced apple flavor. I love it.

The Jacques Rose Cocktail

2 ounces Laird’s Straight Apple Brandy.
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice.
2 barspoons grenadine.
1 healthy dash Peychaud’s bitters.

Combine with ice, shake for 10-12 seconds, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Now, speaking of variations …

I had a day off yesterday. What did I do? Liquor shopping! (Idle hands, etc.)

I did some surveying of wine and spirits establishments in my area that I hadn’t frequented or even visited before, just to check out their selection and prices. The true revelation, which made me smack my head for spending the last six years passing it by and thinking it was a garden-variety corner package liquor store, is Mission Liquors, on the corner of Washington and Allen in Pasadena. Their selection is jaw-dropping for such a small place, including things I’d never seen before (brand after brand of Lebanese arak, Armenian and Georgian brandies and eaux-de-vie), and pretty decent prices on most items I’d be getting.

From there I finally got a chance to pick up something I’d first tried last month chez Dr. Cocktail, who had been sent a free bottle by the liquor company (Heaven Hill, I believe). It’s a brand-new product called Pama, and it’s the first true pomegranate liqueur. It’s gorgeous too; ruby-colored, and in a gorgeous bottle that they seem to have pinched from my favorite gorgeous-bottle people, Modern Spirits Vodka in Monrovia (whose products are extraordinary, but we’ll talk more about them tomorrow).

Doc first described Pama to us, and later on in a Martini Republic article, as being made, according to the liquor company, with “pomegranate juice blended with imported Tequila and super-premium vodka.”

“I immediately wanted to triangulate my way to any handy vomit bags,” said Doc. I don’t blame him.

Then we tasted the stuff. Dang. It’s good. Mo’ better than it has any right to be, given that description. Tart and well-balanced in its flavor, and Doc started to thinking … why not use this stuff in classic cocktails that call for grenadine? He served us an experimental version of a classic, the Jack Rose, made with apple brandy, lime juice and grenadine, substituting Pama for the grenadine.

It was good.

Here’s our once-again Creolized version, with the lovely Pama substituted for the grenadine. Given that it’s a liqueur and not a syrup, we bumped up the amount a bit — make yours to taste.

The Jacques Rose Cocktail No. 2

2 ounces applejack or apple brandy.
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice.
1/2 ounce Pama pomegranate liqueur.
1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters.

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with a lime wedge.

One Response to “A Creolized Jack Rose”

  1. Cocktail Night VI: The Perfect Pair, or Two of a Kind « Tempered Spirits said:

    Feb 10, 12 at 10:29 am

    […] Jack Rose is my preferred alternative to the dreaded Appletini, as well. For a variation, check out Chuck Taggart’s Jacques Rose Cocktail No. 1 & 2, in which he Frenchifies the drink by adding Peychaud’s bitters (I’ve tried this in […]