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Thursday, November 03, 2005 

Renewed Spirits

Ever had Laird's Applejack? I have a bottle sitting with the rest of my liquor, but haven't had any of it for probably a couple of years now. As I recall, it's pretty potent stuff. After a couple of shots of it, it actually starts tasting like strong apple cider.

I didn't realize the history of this liquor. It's been around since 1780. That's 225 years since Robert Laird established America's first commercial distillery.

This article in the Washington Post by Walter Nicholls explores the efforts by Lisa Laird Dunn to introduce the product to a whole new generation of young drinkers. Apparently the market for this product includes a lot of older males, and that is a dwindling market.

As part of her efforts, the packaging is being updated and all sorts of new drinks which use AppleJack in them are being developed and introduced. I hope the efforts are successful, because this liquor has a colorful history.
"We have records that show that George Washington was so impressed, he asked for the applejack recipe," says Dunn (the company complied but hasn't provided the recipe to anyone since, she says). She also has documents showing that before becoming president, Abraham Lincoln served applejack at his Springfield, Ill., tavern for 12 cents a half-pint. Franklin Roosevelt enjoyed the occasional applejack martini, she says, and Lyndon Johnson gave a case of applejack to Soviet premier Alexei Kosygin at a summit meeting in 1967.
Applejack was also produced through Prohibition, as they were granted a federal license to distill apple bandy for medicinal use. Thus they had plenty of aged brandy in their warehouses when the act was lifted.

I might just break out that bottle tonight and have a bit, looking at it in a whole new light.