Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Sep 29, 2011

Libation Education: Applejack

Fall is here, so its seems appropriate that this month's libation education focuses on Applejack (no, not the cereal).  If apples and whiskey had a baby, this is what it would be.  Made by Laird & Company, which has been around since 1780, Applejack consists of 35% apple brandy and 65% neutral spirits that have a hint of apple and aroma.  According to a recent post on The Kitchn, Laird & Company was actually granted a federal license during Prohibition to make it for "medicinal purposes."  Mmm hmm...

This delicious libation is made at the peak of apple harvest, which is usually September until mid-November.  The pure apple juice is fermented naturally (it doesn't need any kind of yeast or starter) in big oak fermenting tanks for 7-30 days until all of the sugar has been fermented into alcohol.  The juice is then sent to the still where the distillation boosts the proof to about 160, where it ensures the maximum flavor and aroma.  After this, the apple brandy is cut with water and aged in oak barrels for 4-8 years.  Applejack tends to be made with a younger blend of this brandy (about 4-6 years).

Applejack is a lovely fall substitute for your traditional whiskey cocktails like Old Fashioneds and Manhattans, and I bet it would be killer mixed into a Hot Toddy or hot spiced cider.  It's also a main ingredient in American Trilogies, but you're all just going to have to wait for that recipe...