Our favorite story behind the Jack Rose is that it is somehow connected to notorious gambler and alleged hitman Bald Jack Rose in the 1910s. Unfortunately, the cocktail seems to predate the man by about ten years, and though there are many suspected origin stories, one of the likeliest, to us, seems to be that the cocktail’s name simply comes from the fact it’s made with applejack and that it’s pink in color. One thing is certain, the cocktail is a consummately New Jersian cocktail, still the home of the oldest licensed distiller in America, the apple brandy distiller Laird & Company.
Our Jack Rose approaches the historically sour cocktail with lime and lemon, combining them with Laird’s bottled-in-bond apple brandy, grenadine, and two dashes of Peychaud’s. The Jack Rose saw a come back after Prohibition, taking a place in David Embury’s 1948 list of six major drinks, but it was certainly a popular staple at the tale end of the cocktail’s golden age, in the early 20th century—probably as common, judging from the sources, as the Corpse Reviver class of cocktails in the mid 19th century. Appropriately, they accompany each other on our Laird & Company cocktail flight, alongside the Wassail.