Jack Rose

Jack Rose

This was a popular drink since before Prohibition.  It made its way into Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 classic novel named The Sun Also Rises. This was also a favorite drink of American author John Steinbeck. It is a classic to try for sure. It is a bit sweet, but it is still strong.

Jack Rose himself was a mobster and a gambler.  There are many legends, but the on that I find interesting is a corrupt New York politician who loved to drink and gamble, crossed Jack Rosenzweig (known on the street as Baldy Jack Rose).  Jack saw this corrupt politician gambling and drinking, blackmailed and framed him.

What is important about this drink is that since it was invented in New Jersey, to keep it authentic, the spirit used should be Laird’s Applejack, which is brandy made from apples (not apple flavored brandy).  Laird’s is the oldest licensed family distillery in the United States. It is often referred to as “Jersey Lightening”.  The best part is, this is a great ingredient and it is not expensive at less than $25 per bottle.

The truth of the matter is, nearly any spirit gets lost underneath such strong ingredients such as lemon, lime and the very sweet grenadine.  Add some bitters and it would be hard for anyone to tell if its vodka, brandy, or even a mild bourbon.

No matter what you use, it will be fine, try it using fresh lemon juice, or fresh lime juice. The original recipe is hard to determine, though I am guessing that it is lemons, since that was probably more available year round over limes.


  • 60ml (2 ounces) Applejack (Apple Brandy, a light bourbon like Four Roses 80 proof can be substituted)
  • 20ml (3/4 ounce) Fresh Lemon or Lime Juice
  • 20ml (3/4 ounce) Grenadine (use real Pomegranate Syrup)
  • 1-2 Dashes of Peychaud’s bitters (I prefer Angostura)
  • Shake all ingredients together well with ice, strain into a coupe cocktail glass.


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