Jack Rose – David Embury

Of the various applejack cocktails, the Jack Rose is the best known and, apparently, the best liked

8 parts Apple Brandy

2 parts Lemon Juice

1 part Grenadine

Shake vigorously with plenty of cracked or crushed ice and strain into chilled cocktail glasses. A twist of lemon may be used, and the peel dropped into the glass if desired. Otherwise no decoration. A nice touch can be added to this drink by frosting the glasses. Here, however, the rim of the glass should be moistened with grenadine instead of lemon juice before dipping it in the powdered sugar. A good way to do this is to pour a little grenadine in a saucer, dip the rim of the glass, and, still holding the glass mouth down, spin it by the stem to remove any excess liquid. Then dip in powdered sugar

This drink is one of Embury’s ‘6 Basic Cocktails’, the last of the 6, and first appeared in print in 1905, in the Police Gazette. It also appears in Hemingway’s ‘the sun also raises. To be fair no-one knows for sure where the name comes from, it could be from a Jacquemot Rose, an actual rose or a Joseph Rose from Washington, or it could just be a blend of the word applejack, and the fact that it’s a rose-coloured cocktail. I like the story that its named after a ‘Baldy’ Jack Rose as it’s the ‘romantic’ version.

‘Baldy’ Jack Rose was born in Poland in 1876 before moving to Connecticut. An early brush with Typhoid left him permanently bald, and without eyebrows. Starting from small time gambling dens and a minor league baseball team. A later casino venture, ‘the Rosebud’ was paying a Lieutenant Becker (see Metropole 28-02) £10000 a week to stay in business. Somehow, he emerged un-scathed from the Rosenthal trial, even though it was Jack that hired the killers, allegedly on Becker’s behalf. My guess is that Mr Rose wanted to muscle in on Rosenthal’s gambling spots, had him shot to free things up, then managed to lay the blame on Becker so he no longer had to pay him the protection money, two birds with one neat and tidy stone.

It would appear middle management had its perks  in the eyes of the law when it came to criminal justice in 1915.

The drink is one of Embury’s classic 8,2,1 sour recipes, and really works beautifully. Just enough of the applejack flavour comes through, and its balanced beautifully. I tried it with the sugar rim as per Embury’s recommendation, and I really don’t think it adds much to the drink, so wouldn’t do this again. At Goat we have this drink on our list in the Chelsea Prayer Room, only we call it a ‘Jackie Rose’ and add 1.5 parts aquafaba or egg white, which leaves a nice froth on top, perfect for a couple of dried rose petals for garnish. They’re quite different drinks, the Jackie Rose I think works better for modern palates unused to applejack.