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What is Applejack?

Know Your Ingredients: Applejack

With apples and artisanal apple cider replacing peaches and melon agua frescas at the local market, my thoughts have turned to applejack, one spirit that truly captures the essence of Fall in a bottle. But what exactly is it and is it really made of apples?

First enjoyed over 300 years a go, applejack is an alcohol beverage made by concentrating hard cider. It was extremely popular among early settlers of North America, including Johnny Appleseed and George Washington, and was thought to have originated from the French apple brandy known as Calvados.

Today, commercially produced applejack — like the one produced by New Jersey's Laird & Company, America's oldest family-run distillery — is composed of apple brandy diluted with grain spirits.

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Much like the name implies, the tipple relies heavily on apples: a single bottle is produced with six pounds of the fruit, which imbues the spirit with a natural apple flavor. Have you ever had applejack? How did you enjoy it?

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