Saturday, September 29, 2012

Weekend Cooking....The Classic Jack Rose...With Homemade Grenadine

“At five o’clock I was in the Hotel Crillon, waiting for Brett. She was not there, so I sat down and wrote some letters. They were not very good letters but I hoped their being on Crillon stationery would help them. Brett did not turn up, so about quarter to six I went down to the bar and had a Jack Rose with George the barman.” ..from The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

 For some, that might be their first exposure to the classic cocktail, the Jack Rose.
Mine was when I was a little too young to be reading Hemingway.
As I have mentioned, my family owned a bar when I was a wee Caite..and a teenage Caite..and a college graduate Caite. By that time it was more of a shot and beer place, but when I was young there were actual cocktails being served sometimes.
On a Saturday night, my mother would go there in the evening, a wee Caite in hand, Lawrence "Champagne Music" Welk on the TV,  while my father, in a crispy white shirt and tie, was one of the bartenders.
My mother's drink was the Jack Rose and Caite had a Shirley Temple. "An extra cherry please!"

I think there is something so nice about a cocktail, a calm and sophisticated way to start the dining experience. And according to The Fine Art Of Mixing Drinks by David A. Embury, first published in 1948, that is the classic purpose of the cocktail a pre-dinner drink.

"Embury first outlines some basic principles for fashioning a quality cocktail:
  • It should be made from good-quality, high-proof liquors.
  • It should whet rather than dull the appetite.  Thus, it should never be sweet or syrupy, or contain too much fruit juice, egg or cream.
  • It should be dry, with sufficient alcoholic flavor, yet smooth and pleasing to the palate.
  • It should be pleasing to the eye.
  • It should be well-iced.
Embury stresses frequently that the drink will never be any better than the quality of the cheapest ingredient in it, and hence he stresses constantly the need for the highest quality spirits, liqueurs, cordials, and modifiers (fresh squeezed lemons, etc.) He also repeatedly stresses that a cocktail, in the classic sense (a before-dinner drink) should have no more than the slightest touch of sweetness to it, and deplores the use of drinks like the Brandy Alexander as pre-prandial cocktails, as they dull rather than sharpen the appetite. He does not denigrate sweet drinks per se, pointing out that they are excellent after dinner or mid-afternoon drinks "in place of a half-pound of chocolate cookies", but they are anathema as a "cocktail" before a large meal.

Embury's six basic drinks are the Martini, the Manhattan, the Old Fashioned, the Daiquiri, the Sidecar, and the Jack Rose." ..from Wikipedia
There are a few theories as to where the Jack Rose got it's name. Some say it was named for the pink "Jacquemot" rose, others say for a Newark, NJ  restaurateur. Or maybe just because it is made with Applejack and is rose colored.
I am pulling for the Newark connection.
Regardless, it was a hugely poplar drink in the 20's and 30's..and I am trying to stage a comeback.
Everywhere you go, order "a Jack Rose, bartender!"

Now, on to the ingredients.
They are simple.
Applejack. The liquor, not the kid's cereal.
Lemon or/Lime juice

Once again, here we have a New Jersey connection.
Applejack is made by Laird and Co., which was established in 1780 by Robert Laird in the tiny community of Scobeyville, NJ.  It was America’s first commercial distillery, and still going strong. Applejack is traditionally made by distilling apple cider and as well as Applejack, Laird's also make several aged apple brandies. In the spirit of the finest ingredients, I would have used the better Apple brandy...they make a 100 proof, a 7 1/2 year and 12 year old aged Apple brandy...if I could have found a bottle locally.
But I could not.

So let's use the best quality with the other two ingredients.
Fresh fruit folks. Not stuff from a bottle or a plastic squeeze 'fruit'. Real fruit.
Some recipes use lime. Some recipes use lemon. What to do? Pick your favorite. Not the Laird website uses lemon, and they should know, right?
But the grenadine, that is another matter.

Many of you may have a bottle of grenadine in the frig. No doubt Rose's, by far the most common brand.
Throw it out! Go ahead!!
It is colored sugar water, nothing more. Corn sugar, water, red dye. No!! No, I say.
So we will make our own. Don't worry, it is simple.

One Part Pomegranate juice
One part super fine sugar.

Now, some recipes boil the juice to reduce it my half, take it off the heat and add the sugar, stirring to melt. Or, just use superfine sugar, which will dissolve easily in liquid, and shake.
You can keep it in the freezer, or in the frig for a month. I did...add about an ounce of vodka and it will keep longer. And a little vodka never hurt.

If using for the kid's Shirley Temples, you might not want the vodka. Or maybe you do. Who am I to judge?
Use it over ice cream..or in whipped cream...or in tea.

So, what about that promised Jack Rose?
Again, easy.

Jack Rose
2 ounces Applejack (or apple brandy)
1/2 oz. Lemon juice
1/4-1/2 oz. Grenadine

Shake well with ice and strain into a cocktail glass or serve over ice.

And one more drink, from the Laird's website, since you now have that bottle of Applejack on hand. It is the fittingly named the Jersey Girl. Sort of the love child of a Jack Rose and a Cosmo...

Jersey Girl
1 1/2 oz. Laird’s Applejack
1 oz. Cointreau
1/2 oz. Fresh lime juice
2 dashes of cranberry juice

Shake well with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

The classic Jack Rose

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


  1. I'm just learning about beer - I guess I'll have to tackle liquor next. lol

  2. I always think these kind of drinks look so classy :)

  3. I think I'd go for that Jersey Girl! But both look awesome. My family was always of the "scotch on the rocks" school, so I'm not all that up on my classic cocktails. Jack Rose is new to me (I didn't remember it from Hemmingway).

  4. I never knew that grenadine was so easy to make :) The colour of that pretty Jack Rose is lovely, like Cynni says: it looks very classy!

  5. I'd love either one of those. Adding Applejack to my shopping list!

  6. Oh dear, it's six in the morning and you have made this sound so good!

    1. You know what they say, it's afternoon

  7. I always learn so much when I come here. No alcohol was ever served in our house so I'm not up on any of these things. Dining chez-vous must always be a fun experience!

    1. We actually weren't serving much in the house..

  8. A fancy cocktail place just opened up near us; I'm definitely going to order a Jack Rose when I visit. I enjoyed this post, you really set a mood here!

    1. It is a good test for them. I read an article about two guys in D.C looking for someone who knew..without looking it up in a to make one and had tha Appljack. They failed!

  9. Had to look up Sidecar, which turns out to be cognac, cointreau, and fresh lemon juice. That one sounds good too. Interesting list of six basic drinks. Never occurred to me to make my own grenadine. Well done.

  10. I love this post. So much fun learning about your childhood and how to make homemade grenadine. A Jack Rose sounds lovely!

  11. That is quite some cocktail. It would be super if you popped it in to my Food on Friday: Cocktails to round out the collection! Have a great week.

  12. Never heard of this one but sounds lovely. I've never had applejack. I'm going to have to find a bottle of it now.


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