Saturday, December 02, 2006

Classic Jack

The Jack Rose

Riding the wave of classic cocktails, I want to share a little about the Jack Rose, a refreshing 'sour.' There is a bit of mystery surrounding the origin of the name of this drink. One school of thought is that ‘Jack Rose’ is derived from a combination of its color (similar to a Jaquemont rose) and it main ingredient, Applejack. The second theory links the drink with notorious gangster, Jack Rose, involved in the 1912 Manhattan murder of gambling house operator, Herman Rosenthal.

The main ingredient in this staple of yore is American apple brandy, or “Applejack,” which dates back to the 1700’s. To make it, juice from Pippin, Red Delicious, and Winesap apples is fermented, distilled, then aged in bourbon barrels. Though much of today’s applejack is mixed with neutral grain spirits, a ‘bonded’ applejack contains 100% apple brandy.

Jack Rose
(This recipe is from Audrey Saunders, owner of Pegu Club in Manhattan. Photo and more info on
2 ounces applejack
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce homemade grenadine (3/4 ounce if using bonded applejack)
Thinly sliced apple, for garnish (optional)

In cocktail shaker filled with ice, add applejack, lemon juice, and grenadine. Shake vigorously for about 20 seconds, then strain into a 6-ounce cocktail glass. Garnish with apple slice.


George said...

Washington Post, 23rd December 1912


"The murder of Herman Rosenthal has seriously affected the business of florists in Brooklyn, and perhaps a good deal in Manhattan. The Jack rose, a pretty popular blossom, has often been left on the hands of the Brooklyn florists, just because it bears the same name as the informer in the famous trials."

The cocktail obviously predates the murder; and due to the Crimson colour of the Jack Rose Flower, it is quite possible that the Jack Rose Cocktail was named after the flower. said...

Thanks for sharing, George! I'm glad to see someone as interested in cocktail trivia as I am!

George said...

Heres another excerpt for you:


Frank J. May, better known as Jack Rose, is the inventor of a very popular cocktail by that name, which has made him famous as a mixologist. He is at present looking after the managerial affairs of Gene Sullivan's Cafe, at 187 Pavonia avenue, Jersey City, N. J., one of the most popular resorts in that city. Mr. May takes an active interest in sports, and as a wrestler could give many of the professional wrestlers a warm argument.