Friday, August 24, 2012

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American Apple Spirits

In the airless, nearly gluey July night, black-suited pallbearers hoist aloft a plain wooden coffin and begin their walk. In their wake, solemn mourners march slowly, thick humidity muffling their every footstep. Musicians follow, their low, brassy dirge echoing off damp stones as they move toward the Vieux Carré. The somber mood doesn’t last; this is, after all, New Orleans, where funerals are as much a cause for celebration as they are for sadness. Within blocks, the band strikes up a familiar Dixieland tune. Smiles and whoops break out as the celebrants form a dancing, singing, handkerchief-waving “second line.” Hallelujah! The saints, those reliable old saints, go marching in once again. Once it reaches the French Quarter, the line spills into a Decatur Street café where liquor flows freely and the party begins in earnest. No one — not a soul — sheds a tear for the deceased.

How could they? It was the Appletini.

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My piece on American apple spirits runs in the Summer 2012 Distiller magazine  — part thumbnail history of apple distillates, part overview of some of today's producers. The bit above is the original intro. Fun to write, but it took too long to get to the point, so I cut it. Ah, well. What's the point of having a blog if I can't occasionally post sweepings from the cutting room floor?

Some of the distilleries covered are Laird & Company, Germain-Robin, Osocalis, Harvest Spirits, Clear Creek Distillery, San Juan Island Distillery, and more. Applejack and apple brandy are the same thing (except, obviously, when they're not), but they're hardly the only apple spirits available. As much as we adore Laird's apple brandy — and make no mistake: we sincerely do — it's not the only option for those who hanker for a bit of the old apple palsy.

Here's a PDF of the piece from Distiller with interviews, historic and modern cocktail recipes, and a look at some of what's available for American consumers.

1 comment:

Will said...

Very nice piece. No apple-jacked Hessians?

I look forward to your opinion on the new moonshiner movie coming out (Lawless).