• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
jackal10

Applejack

91 posts in this topic

Taste off between Clear Creek 2 year Apple Brandy, Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy, Germain-Robin Apple Brandy, and Calvados Morice.

First note, the Calvados is really different in character from the American Apple Brandy.

The American Apple Brandies have clean apple flavors.

The Calvados tastes and smells vinegar-ish. It has the funky flavor I associate with British Hard Cider. Is it good that they capture the flavor of fermented cider rather than apple fruit?

Of the American products, the Laird's and Clear Creek are quite similar. The Clear Creek seems to have a spice character I don't notice in the Laird's. The Germain-Robin is the most sippable and gentile. I don't know if it is twice as nice as the Clear Creek or three times as nice as the Laird's; but, it is noticeably smoother. None have much noticeable Oak character.

I'll be interested to try an older Calvados or American Apple Brandy to see how the flavors develop.

edit - post brandy typos.


Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I normally do 2 dashes Angostura and make the drink very small (2 oz total) and I find it scarcely sweeter than a de la Louisiane, both of which are perfect for after dinner.

-Andy

these sweet drinks are making me curious. sugar is a serious flavor enhancer but can so easily hit the cloying point of no return.

i think i will make a standard 2:1 manhattan, measure its sugar content and then compare it to a 2:1:1 widow's kiss. who wants to put a bet down on what % more sweet in brix it is? it could be 15 to 20% sweeter...

creole shrub is 36 brix. that is madness to me... sweet vermouth is 25... who knows where benedictine and yellow chartreuse fall in between...

Of course the Widow's Kiss will be significantly sweeter than a Manhattan, just as TBA is sweeter than brut Champagne. You wouldn't want a Widow's Kiss before your meal (and I for one rarely want something like a Manhattan after one) just as one wouldn't have late harvest wine with their hors d'ouvres. For me, with drinking, context is everything.

And while the WK will always be the sweeter drink, I would think the sweetness (to say nothing of the perceived sweetness of the two drinks has much to do with brands and bottlings used. No getting away from a drink that is 50% liqueur being sweet, but I typically find Bourbon Manhattans bordering on inappropriate for preprandial consumption whereas one with Rye is my preferred aperitif. To each his own.

-Andy


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW, eje,

I have made some fine (though not exceptional) variants on the Vieux Carre that used both Benedictine and Laird's bonded. The best of these were one using Laird's and a bonded bourbon (an old Old Forester) and one using Laird's and an anejo tequila (with Bianco vermouth instead of sweet). I would say experimentation may need to go in another direction than the Vieux Carre to yield something truly brilliant, though. YMMV.


Tim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

re: Vieux Carre Variation

I tried one with Clear Creek Apple Brandy, Compass Box Asyla, Carpano Antica, Benedictine and Angostura bitters last night.

It was all right. For me there wasn't enough contrast between the flavors of the spirits for it to be truly interesting. Maybe a dash of stronger flavored Scotch?

Of course, my poor addled brains failed to remember this Vieux Carre variation. No wonder it seemed like a good idea...


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
re: Vieux Carre Variation

I tried one with Clear Creek Apple Brandy, Compass Box Asyla, Carpano Antica, Benedictine and Angostura bitters last night.

It was all right.  For me there wasn't enough contrast between the flavors of the spirits for it to be truly interesting.  Maybe a dash of stronger flavored Scotch?

Stronger-flavored Scotch might work. I think bourbon, rye, tequila, and rum have in common a more distinctly spicy sweetness from the barrels and/or the distillate themselves that yields an interesting contrast to the fruity assault of bonded Laird's. I actually think younger products are better in this case, too (though Asyla is not an extra-aged product). Maybe Talisker 10 or even a well-peated bottle of Glen Garioch 8? A pricier drink, then, to be sure (at least with Talisker), but it might improve things. Even the spice and burnt-sugar notes of Saz Jr. might be worth a shot.

All that said, as I mentioned upthread, I wonder if experimentation might need to evolve in a different direction. I have some homemade pimento dram that I think might do well with Laird's, a bit of Benedictine, and then...something else to counter the sweetness of the whole mess. I had considered dry vermouth, but that's likely too herbal. Maybe I'll play with a couple of recipes this weekend and see what I can figure out. Tonight, I have too much work to get done, but I think there has to be something great involving these two ingredients; just a matter of discovering it.


Edited by TBoner (log)

Tim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
re: Vieux Carre Variation

I tried one with Clear Creek Apple Brandy, Compass Box Asyla, Carpano Antica, Benedictine and Angostura bitters last night.

It was all right.  For me there wasn't enough contrast between the flavors of the spirits for it to be truly interesting.  Maybe a dash of stronger flavored Scotch?

Of course, my poor addled brains failed to remember this Vieux Carre variation.  No wonder it seemed like a good idea...

you might want a less intense vermouth as well...


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It was all right.  For me there wasn't enough contrast between the flavors of the spirits for it to be truly interesting.  Maybe a dash of stronger flavored Scotch?

Or you could just leave out the brandy and have a perfectly delicious Bobby Burns. The Vieux Carré is one of those cocktails that has a cool name but just really doesn't live up to it. Probably there is a combination of whiskey and brandy that could work, but your time might be better spent on something that starts out with a recipe that is as good as or better than its name. Like the Fine and Dandy -- horrible name, good cocktail.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, I really enjoyed the Amber Rhum Agricole, Applejack, and Punt e Mes version of the Vieux Carre.

The Scotch, Calvados, Bianco Vermouth, and grapefruit twist version was also really nice. The way the grapefruit twist combined with the Scotch really pulled it together in an interesting way.

But, I agree, it probably comes down to picking your ingredients carefully, and a Bobby Burns is a much less finicky drink.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, a week or so ago I came across 2 bottles of the 12-yr Laird's Apple Brandy. $53. Hmm...the Calvados I use for mixing regularly (and occasional sipping) is just over half that price.

But, in reading through this thread, I see that the 12-yr was perhaps produced only once, for the holiday season, a few years back? If this is the case, my interest is piqued, because I'm a bit of a junkie for out-of-production liquor. Further, it may be my only chance to taste this product.

Regardless, I only collect to drink (eventually), so I'm wondering if anyone has any opinions to offer regarding the cost and relative merits of this stuff. If I spend $50 on a bottle, it's going to be for drinking neat, with maybe one or two occasional cocktails in the mix.

Any opinions or experience beyond what little is stated earlier in the thread?

EDIT: By the way, Erik, I posted in the Drinks! thread about a sort-of Vieux Carre variation with AJack and Benedictine. At first, I didn't know if the contrast between rye and ajack was significant enough, but with all Laird's the drink borders on cloying. The rye does its job well.


Edited by TBoner (log)

Tim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

picked up a bottle of Laird's Applejack this weekend. Just the regular, blended stuff. They didn't have the bonded.

Made an Apple Cart with it. Pretty good. A little tarter than the sidecar I whip up. But I could taste apple in it. Not bad. Now, I need to try some other things with it.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...Sam's is happy to special order but they couldn't get the bonded Laird's for me. They do carry the bonded Captain Applejack, fortunately, but despite what I was told by someone in the sales dept. at Laird's I don't believe these are the same product in different packages. The Captain Applejack is a noticeably inferior product, though not significantly so. The Captain Applejack is a little hotter and a little less "apple-y". The color's a little different too. I wouldn't think twice about drinking the bonded Laird's neat. The Captain Applejack gets an ice cube or two.

Admittedly, my sample is limited to a single bottle of each....

I happened to be in Sam's last night and much to my surprise and delight it appears they are now able to get the bonded Laird's. Instead of the Captain Applejack I found three bottles of the Laird's Straight Apple Brandy on the shelf next to the blended Laird's. Nice.

The other big deal for me was finding Carpano Antica in the vermouth section. I'm not sure I'll ever splurge on a $30+ vermouth but at least now I have the option.

FYI, neither is listed at the Sam's website yet.

Kurt


“I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake--which I also keep handy.” ~W.C. Fields

The Handy Snake

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm experimenting with a tall autumnal drink for the fall/winter cocktail menu.

Spiced Apple-Rum Rickey

1 oz. Laird 7.5 yr. old Applejack

1 oz. Sailor Jerry's Spiced Rum

.5 oz. fresh lime juice

.25 oz. Spiced simple syrup

Fresh orange twist

Club Soda

Build in a Collins glass and fill with soda. Stir and enjoy.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bob:

The bonded is delicious but not what I have available at the bar. We'll soon have the regular listed Laird's Applejack as well (for hot cider toddies), but having tasted through the line we decided the limited shelf real estate was better served with the 7.5 yr. old since it was more versatile for mixing or drinking neat. The bonded is just too hot for that.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...having tasted through the line...

How does the 12 yo compare to the 7.5?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...having tasted through the line...

How does the 12 yo compare to the 7.5?

The 7.5 is more apple-y and tastes more like a whiskey. The 12 year old is more brandy/Cognac-like and the apple flavor is lost a bit.

I think the 7.5 yo is the best bang for the buck in the Laird's Apple line, as well as the most versatile. The most apple flavor whilst retaining that American whiskey character that works so well in a cocktail. The bonded is great for mixing too, but moreso in a drink that has more mixer(s) in it because it's so strong.

If you just want to sip it, the 12 yo would be a great substitute for a Calvados. I suspect it would make a righteous tasty Applecart if one enjoys Sidecars.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.