Episode #047: Apple Brandy Cocktails and Cider Cocktails


If an “apple a day keeps the doctor away,” then apple brandy, a distilled liquor which seeks to concentrate the form and flavor of the apple, must keep them away for a whole week! Now that’s the sound, technical, scientific knowledge our listeners have come to know and love on this show! (Is there a sarcasm emoji?)

But pseudoscience aside, there’s a lot to love about apples—and not just in the fresh, crisp form, but also in the fermented and distiller kind, of course (this is the Speaking Easy Podcast, as you well know). On today’s episode, we delve into the world of apples—mostly in the form of apple brandy, but also taking a look at apple cider as it is used in cocktails.

This fall flavor of apples, whether they are spiced up with cinnamon or ginger, or made more complex with the addition of cloves or vanilla—is a pervasive one in American cocktail culture. In fact, apple brandy—or applejack, which is one variety of the liquor, made most famous by Laird’s Applejack of New Jersey—has a dear place in the annals of American cocktail culture, which is to say, all cocktail culture (as so many early cocktails do come from American ingenuity).

Images are conjured up of George Washington drinking it and giving it out to his troops (he loved it so much, he asked for the recipe—and got it—probably because Robert Laird served under General Washington during the Revolutionary War).

There’s certainly a lot to be said about this deliciously sweet liquor—and how apple cider can also be a stand-in or substitute for such.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • A little of the history of apple brandy/applejack/apple cider
  • How to mix apples into your favorite drinks
  • Where you can used apples in new drinks
  • A little about cider, and how to mix it

Other Features:

Applejack: A favorite liquor of the Founding Fathers and a certain foolhardy underage drinker. (Slate)

Interesting Facts about Laird’s (Laird & Company)

Before There Was Bourbon, There Was Applejack (Seattle Weekly)