This applejack old fashioned is a smooth, rich, heady drink that my husband and I just can’t stop drinking. It’s filled with the sweet note of ripe apple and layered with rich, caramel-y brown sugar and a zesty spritz of orange.
The old fashioned is my favorite drink of all time. It’s a great example of simple done really well. In this fall variation, I love the sweet fruit notes and the lighter body that come with the applejack.
so what is applejack, anyways?
Applejack is apple brandy, simple as that. It’s made by fermenting apple juice and distilling the resulting wine (called cider).
To clarify, it’s not grape brandy that has been artificially flavored with apple. This is an important distinction. If you go to buy apple brandy, a lot of stores will lead you straight to a certain clear bottle with a green label (made by a company I used to work for, no less!). They’re confused, it’s not applejack!
There’s also a thing called “blended applejack.” By law it must contain at least 20% apple brandy and the rest can be a neutral grain spirit. Because these spirits are mainly neutral spirit, they have a much lighter flavor intensity. This makes them great for cocktails that may require a more subtle touch.
But for this old fashioned, use a pure applejack (made with 100% apple brandy) and not one that is blended. The rich apple flavor is the star of this drink!
All applejack must be aged at least 2 years in oak and bottled at a strength of at least 80 proof. These are just minimums, and many producers will age their spirits much longer. The oak gives the applejack a deep mahogany color, softens the bite and can add aromas such as vanilla, toast, spice, toffee, caramel, and coconut (to name a few)!
If you discover you absolutely love applejack and want to explore the world of apple brandies, your first stop should be Calvados.
Calvados is made in Normandy, France, and is the most famous apple brandy. The strict appellations of France guide the production and maturation of the spirit. The variety of apples (with a few pears thrown in for good measure), fermentation methods, distillation parameters, spirit strength, and length of aging (minimum of 3 years in oak) are all regulated in the production of Calvados.
For applejack, however, this level of regulation doesn’t exist. In the US, it’s almost entirely up to the producer to decide how to make their apple brandy.
applejack old fashioned with brown sugar
This applejack old fashioned is a smooth, rich, heady drink that is filled with the sweet note of ripe apple and layered with brown sugar and a zesty spritz of orange. This is the ultimate fall cocktail and you’ll love the sweet fruit notes and the lighter body that come with the apple brandy.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 1x
- Category: Drinks
- Cuisine: American
- one 3 inch strip of orange peel
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- 2 dashes angostura bitters
- 2 oz applejack
- 1 thin apple slice, for garnish
- Squeeze orange peel over the glass to spritz the oils, then drop the peel inside. Add brown sugar, orange bitters and angostura bitters.
- Place one large ice cube in the glass, then pour the applejack over top. Use a spoon to spin the ice cube a few times to chill the drink and dissolve some of the brown sugar.
- Garnish with an apple slice and serve.
makes 1 cocktail
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 110
- Sugar: 9.4g
- Sodium: 2.4mg
- Fat: 0g
- Saturated Fat: 0g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 9.5g
- Fiber: 0g
- Protein: 0g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: applejack old fashioned, what is applejack