Ah, the Cocktail of My Youth!

Rediscovered, thanks to the innerwebs!

Once I left New Jersey in 1980, for first Memphis and then California, I could never find anyone who knew what “applejack” was, less mind the drink itself.

…The cocktail in question? The Jack Rose — a combination of applejack brandy, lemon juice and grenadine — that
was the featured alcoholic beverage (the only one, actually) in one of the most lavish private homes in New York City: 840 Fifth Avenue, the mansion owned by the imperious Mrs. William Astor. The Mrs. Astor, who ruled New York society wearing fabulous diamonds and a purple-black wig from the mid-1800s until 1905. Guests at her dinner parties were permitted one cocktail before dinner: a small glass of Jack Rose.

Flash-forward to 1926: the same year that the Astor mansion at 840 Fifth was demolished, Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises was published. The Jack Rose cocktail figures here as well. The narrator of the novel, Jake Barnes, is waiting for Lady Brett Ashley to meet him in a Paris hotel bar. While he waits, he orders a Jack Rose.

Now I know why. Apparently I’ve been a trendsetting, retro-history buff all along.

Story of my life, really. (Of course, I picked it up as an 18 year-old in a backwoods, 1970’s New Jersey/New York border dive ~ in fact Florida, New York ~ with a curious, “What’s that?” as a pinkish glassful went by on its way to another customer.)

Bought some Laird’s today straight off a Publix liquor store shelf in Pensacola, since the times, they have a’ changed.

4 Responses to “Ah, the Cocktail of My Youth!”

  1. Chancy girl says:

    And let us not forget the Stonewall. Equal parts of gin, Apple Jack and apple juice (preferably Delicious Orchards)!

  2. Kathy Kinsley says:

    Heh – the more things change, the more they stay the same. Still like applejack, even if I never heard of Jack Rose…

  3. Kathy Kinsley says:

    P.S. My New Jersey folks liked things straight or on the rocks. What’s a cocktail? 😛

  4. Mr. Bingley says:

    Lairds is just about 5 miles from us 🙂

    So in fact I do know Jack.

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