Happy President's Day / Laird's Applejack

Happy President's Day! I am not working. I am drinking.

I'm sipping on Laird's Applejack, a spirit that traces its roots to colonial America. Applejack is the beverage that actually warmed the revolution. The modern version is a blend of 35% apple brandy and 65% grain neutral spirits (GNS). Laird & Company distills their apple brandy in North Garden, Virginia where they age it for three years in used bourbon barrels before shipping it to New Jersey to be blended with the GNS. Why Laird's Applejack today? Here are a few presidential tidbits from their website:

George Washington
Robert Laird was a Revolutionary War soldier serving under George Washington, and the Laird family supplied the troops with applejack. Historical records show that, prior to 1760, George Washington wrote to the Laird family requesting their recipe for producing applejack, which the Laird family gladly supplied. Entries appear in Washington’s diary in the 1760’s regarding his production of "cyder spirits."


Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln served applejack in his New Salem, Illinois tavern. His published list of rates in 1833 shows Apple Brandy at 12 cents a half-pint, while one night’s lodging cost 12-1/2 cents, and a meal was 25 cents.

William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison was dubbed the “Hard Cyder Candidate” because the hard cider or cider spirits flowed freely during his Whig rallies. Some say he won the election because of this.


Lyndon B. Johnson
When Lyndon Baines Johnson met with Soviet Premier Alexei Kozygin at the Summit in Glassboro, NJ in June of 1967, he presented the Soviet leader a case of Laird’s Applejack.


Laird's Applejack

Laird & Company
80 proof
$18 at Frugal MacDoogal's in Fort Mill, SC.

Color: Tawny. Relatively light/thin appearance. 

Nose: No real surprises here- it smells like apple juice. There is a starchy punch to it, like a shirt just back from the dry cleaners. The alcohol presence is gentle and slightly medicinal.

Tasting Notes: The entrance is sweet and syrupy. No burn whatsoever. There are some bitter baking spices but the apples make their entrance and dominate the finish, leaving an apple juice aftertaste.

Overall: NR. Laird's Applejack is one dimensional as a sipper, but it's appropriately priced and it makes for some fun Fall/Winter cocktails. We've linked some good recipes below. Enjoy your day off.


Peer reviews:

Bob's Brew and Liquor Reviews

Tasty Libations (cocktail recipes)