Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Applejack is a strong alcoholic beverage produced from apples, popular in the American colonial period and thought to originate from the French apple brandy Calvados. Applejack is made by concentrating hard cider, either by the traditional method of freeze distillation or by true evaporative distillation. The term applejack derives from jacking, a term for freeze distillation.

From the fermented juice, with an alcohol content of less than 10%, the concentrated result contains 30-40% alcohol, is slightly sweet and usually tastes and smells of apples. Freeze distilling concentrates all of the alcohol by-products of fermentation including ethanol, methanol and fusel alcohols. Distillation by evaporation can separate these; they have different boiling points. Due to the higher cost and lower yield of alcohol produced from fruit fermentation, commercially produced applejack may be composed of apple brandy diluted with grain spirits until the drink reaches the desired alcohol content.

In New Jersey, applejack was used as currency to pay road construction crews during the colonial period. A slang expression for the beverage was Jersey Lightning.

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