Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Cognac & Other Brandy Cocktails

Applejack Rabbit

hands express lemon peel oils over the Applejack Rabbit cocktail, served in a coupe glass / Tim Nusog

The Applejack Rabbit first appeared in Judge Jr.’s obscure 1927 tome, “Here’s How,” but it gained momentum in the mid-aughts thanks to Jim Meehan. At the time, the lauded bartender best known for his work at PDT in New York was behind the stick at Gramercy Tavern. Even though it’s an old American spirit, applejack wasn’t yet a mainstream product at contemporary bars or regularly requested by drinkers.

Meehan constructed the drink with Laird’s bonded apple brandy, fresh lemon juice, fresh orange juice and maple syrup. He increased the lemon juice quotient slightly from the original recipe to give the luxurious notes of the brandy and maple syrup more backbone. The drink was popular, and even got some press, but its true test came when Lisa Laird Dunn of Laird & Company—the country’s oldest distiller dating back to 1698—stepped into the bar for a taste.

Up to that point, Laird Dunn’s cocktail experience with her family’s applejack had been relegated mostly to sticky-sweet Jack Roses. But this cocktail—the warm apple notes made decadent with maple syrup, and the citrus juices adding levity and balance—was revelatory. “I’d never experienced anything like this,” says Laird Dunn. “I was floored.”

Hey, if it’s good enough for a ninth-generation Laird, it’s probably good enough for anyone. Best of all, the Applejack Rabbit is simple to make, even if your name isn’t Jim Meehan. All you need are four easy-to-find ingredients and a shaker.


  • 2 ounces Laird’s bonded apple brandy

  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed

  • 3/4 ounce orange juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1/2 ounce grade B maple syrup

  • Garnish: lemon twist


  1. Add the apple brandy, lemon juice, orange juice and maple syrup into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

  2. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.

  3. Garnish with a lemon twist.