Tonight's drinks all include some apple-based spirit or juice; in some drinks as the base ingredient, in others as a secondary ingredient or mere accent. Booze-wise, we'll primarily be using Calvados or applejack in most of the drinks. Calvados is aged French apple brandy from the region of the same name. Applejack is the oldest and one of the few natively American spirits - indeed, Laird's Distillery, still active today, holds federal liquor license #1. Like a blended scotch, applejack combines its base spirit (apple brandy) with column distilled neutral spirits. A pure, unblended apple brandy is also made by Laird's... but you'll have to go to Illinois to buy it.
Jersey Lightning: the Story behind Laird's Applejack
Apple Blow Fizz $8
Calvados, lemon juice, sugar, egg white, club soda, up. Number 19 in the 100 Fizz Countdown. Of unknown provenance, but most likely early 20thC England.
Calvados Cocktail $7
Calvados, orange juice, Cointreau, and a good amount of orange bitters, up. Given these ingredients the orange flavors are more prominent than the apple, but unbelievably they don't obliterate it.
Hawaiian Room $6
Light Cuban-style rum (Matusalem), Applejack, Cointreau, lemon and pineapple juices, up. From the early 1940s and the namesake drink of the Hotel Lexington's Hawaiian Room - one of NYC's first tiki outposts. Nonetheless, the drink has a bit more in common with classic drink-making than tiki.
Jersey Cocktail $6
So named because most apple-based booze ("Jersey Lightning") came from the Garden State...as well as plenty of counterfeit champagne (fermented apple cider pressurized with CO2). A simple but enjoyable affair: applejack, old fashioned bitters and a little sweetening. Our oldest drink of the evening, this one dates back to civil war days.
The Soother $8
An old Waldorf favorite from the baroque era: cognac (Martell VSOP), Jamaican rum (Appleton 12yr), Grand Marnier, lemon and apple juice, lightly sweetened, up.
Star Cocktail $6
Essentially an old-school Manhattan (1:1) and of similar vintage (late 19thC), but made with applejack instead of whiskey: applejack, Dolin red vermouth, Angostura bitters, up. File with the Saratoga and Metropole.