The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks – written by David A. Embury in 1948 -, one of the fundamental books for anyone who wishes to learn about drink mixology, lists the Jack Rose cocktail as one of the six basic drinks. The other legendary five are the Martini, the Manhattan, the Old Fashioned, the Sidecar and the Daiquiri. Together they are the most classical cocktails, but the most popular as well, not only thanks to their qualities, but also due to their referencing in major literary works or films. The Jack Rose, for example, is mentioned in Ernest Hemingway’s book The Sun Also Rises, from 1926.
The narrator of the book, Jack Barnes, drinks a glass of Jack Rose cocktail while waiting for Lady Brett Ashley in the bar of the Crillon Paris hotel. However, if you were expecting an interesting story about the origins of this bright red cocktail, you will be disappointed because there is little information in this regard. What we do know is vague, but this is the case for most cocktails that are vintage. As for the Jack Rose, it was probably invented in the beginning of the 1920s, because it is then and in the subsequent decade that it enjoyed major popularity.
One of the stories about the origins of the Jack Rose cocktail says that the beverage was probably named after the notorious gambler Bald Jack Rose, who also might have invented it. However, this account is very unlikely, and there is no proof to sustain it. Another possible explanation is that the cocktail was named after the Jacqueminot rose, a type of red rose grown in France. The simplest explanation is probably the most reliable one – the drink is named after its ingredients: the rose-colored grenadine and the applejack.
The Jack Rose cocktail is made using ingredients like two parts applejack brandy, one part lime or lemon juice, and half a part of grenadine. The drink is usually prepared by shaking all the ingredients into a chilled cocktail glass. The glass is then garnished with a cocktail cherry and a slice of apple, and is served straight. The color of the cocktail is usually a bright red, but this also depends on the type of grenadine you use, and on the amount you choose for your recipe. You can also change the Jack Rose recipe without altering its properties by replacing the grenadine with cherry brandy, Chambord, crème de noyaux or any other red liqueur.