Single malt scotch, check. Bourbon, check. Bitters, check. I wasn't until very recently that I added Laird's applejack to the must-have list for my autumn home bar. Here's why I think it's worth squirreling away a bottle this fall:
- Tastes Change with the Seasons. As the days grow shorter and colder, we all tend to crave drinks that look and taste autumnal. I find myself turning away from the crisp gin cocktails that were so cooling in summer and reaching instead for smoky single-malt scotches, sweet and spicy Manhattans, and other warming drinks with deep amber hues. Applejack fits the bill.
- Apple Pie, Apple Crisp, Apple Sauce, Apple Cider - Apple Whiskey? Laird's applejack is essentially an apple-flavored whiskey. (Note: just so there's no confusion, Laird's makes straight apple brandy too.) A balanced blend of 35 percent apple brandy and 65 percent neutral grain spirits, Laird's applejack plays well with sweet apple-friendly flavors such as honey, maple syrup, and brown sugar; spicy ones such as cinnamon and cloves; and bright, tart accents such as lemon.
- Thanksgiving's Just Around the Corner. This American spirit has good Thanksgiving cred: "cyder spirits" date back to colonial times, when early settlers put the Northeast's plentiful apple crop to use.
- It's Inexpensive. A 750 ml bottle carries a price tag of under $20 (usually somewhere in the $16-$19 range). While it doesn't have the rich complexity of well-aged whiskey or the fruity depth of straight apple brandy, Laird's applejack makes a good value-priced mixer.
- It's Versatile. Use it in a recipe specifically calling for an apple-flavored spirit, such as the Jack Rose. Or get creative and swap it out for whiskey to make an apple-y Old Fashioned. Or mix yourself an Applecar by substituting Laird's applejack for Cognac in your next Sidecar.
- It Makes a Fine Hot Toddy. Okay, this is really just a subset of reason #5, but I thought it deserved a separate mention of its own. Laird's applejack makes a really nice hot toddy with just a shot of the the spirit, a bit of boiling water from the kettle, a squeeze of lemon, and a dash of something rich and sweet like honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar. Good for warming your hands and lifting your spirits on cold, rainy fall days.
Do you have a favorite spirit for fall? Canadian readers: what will you be sipping this Thanksgiving weekend?
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf.
Nora Maynard is a longtime home mixologist and an occasional instructor at NYC's Astor Center. She is a contributor to The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food and Drink Industries and is the recipient of the American Egg Board Fellowship in culinary writing at the Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow. She previously covered food and drink in film at The Kitchn in her weekly column, The Celluloid Pantry.
(Image: Nora Maynard)