Trends come and go, especially in the liquor world. The latest spirit to have a resurgence over the last few years is applejack. Applejack is old school, and we aren’t talking like Crystal Pepsi old school – it was a big hit in the colonial days and it is thought to be America’s first distilled spirit.


Applejack is made from distilled cider that is aged in oak barrels. The result? A highly alcoholic apple brandy. It was originally created out of necessity because colonial America was not exactly well equipped for drinkers. Most of the crops failed, including hops and barley, aka no beer. The vineyards were no better and the liquor coming over from Europe was more than they could afford.


There were, however, a ton of apples. And the rest is history.


If you want to try a great applejack, go out and get a bottle of Laird’s Applejack. The Laird family has been distilling the apple brandy for over 300 years, so if you want to taste the “real thing,” this is it. You can drink it straight, or use it in many different classic cocktails to replace the main liquor ingredient: a Manhattan, a Sidecar, a Tom Collins, or a Whiskey Sour. Applejack also makes a mean Hot Toddy, so keep that in mind as the months get colder.


Looking for a fun weekend project? You can always make your own applejack as well. If you want to make it entirely from scratch you’ll have to start with apple cider. Here are our instructions for how to make regular apple cider and then how to turn it into hard apple cider. If you don’t feel like doing that, go to the store and buy a jug of hard apple cider. Once you have the cider, here’s what you need to do:


  • Put the cider in the freezer and leave it there for a few days.


  • Once it’s pretty much slush, use a mesh colander and drain the apple liquid from the ice. Ditch the left over slush.


  • Use a funnel and colander and collect the liquid into a milk jug or something similar


  • Put it back into the freezer and repeat this entire process over and over again until the liquid doesn’t freeze anymore. Then you’ve got your applejack.


Applejack is a true American classic, so if you’ve never tried it before we highly recommend that you do so. For seasoned applejack drinkers, what’s your favorite way to drink it?