…would smell of bourbon if we had our way. But until that kind of Kentucky hybrid is available, we’ll be exploring another rose, the Jack Rose Cocktail. Shakespeare himself would be pleased with the misunderstandings and legends surrounding the origins of this libation’s name. The first story is the simplest with the drink deriving its name from the base liquor applejack and its rosy color. Boring, huh? The second story is the name is a corruption of Jacqueminot Rose, a rose bush without thorns, since the drink is so smooth. If they can get rid of the thorns, then why can’t they create one that smells of bourbon? But, I digress. The third and final story is the drink was named after a notorious gangster-hitman that was involved in a sensational murder trial in the early twentieth-century. While we wish this one was the true story, it is commonly held that the first story is the most likely of the three.
The Jack Rose Cocktail is definitely a smooth libation, but one that we found a bit unbalanced. It’s beautiful color is the first thing you notice. The deep rosy color is absolutely inviting and would lead you to believe its fragrance of an English garden. However, upon first whiff you are transported more to an orchard than a garden. The smell of apples are very pronounced with just a hint of citrus and exotic spice from the pomegranate. Where we ran into issues though was with the flavor. First flavors are of apple, oak, and a gentle sweetness, but the lime juice begins to overpower all other tastes on the back of the palate. When we have an opportunity to revisit this classic, we would try lemon juice (commonly accepted) and also reducing the amount of the citrus juice to find the perfect balance. In the meantime, give this long-forgotten cocktail a try and see what you think.
The Jack Rose Cocktail
1 1/2 oz – applejack
juice of 1/2 lime (about 1 oz)
2 or more dashes of real pomegranate grenadine (you will need more to obtain the rosy color)
Combine all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake until very cold and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime or lemon slice as appropriate.