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Sometimes the best recipes for a specific liquor come from the people who make it, which is why we’re using Spiritopia products for the Jacqueline Rose. This recipe comes to us from the people at Spiritopia, and, yes, it is a variation of the Jack Rose, hence the name. However, a Jack Rose it certainly is not, and while we love a Jack Rose, especially on a chilly day, we’d really rather have a Jacqueline Rose.
The Jacqueline Rose is 2 types of apple spirits, pomegranate liqueur, and lime cordial. Already we’ve taken a step away from the Jack Rose, but it’s the lime cordial that makes this interesting, and deserves some attention. The specification from Spiritopia is for Rose’s Lime Juice, and, with apologies to the distiller, we won’t have it.
In reality, we have here a cocktail with lime cordial that isn’t a Gimlet, which gives us a different context for looking at the cordial in detail. A cordial is sweetened fruit juice, and nothing new. In days of yore, sugar was added to fruit juice as a preservative, which is how lime cordial acquired it’s status as an additive to gin. It was easy to ship on long sea voyages, and British sailors get thirsty. Of course, you can make a cordial from any juice, and we’ve mentioned orange cordial before, but this is about lime cordial, so let’s see what it takes.
Our base recipe for cordial is equal parts, by weight, of fresh juice and sugar, along with peel or flesh of the fruit, plus sufficient acid. This recipe is pretty standard, and is perhaps closest to the one found in the Death and Co. book, plus the acid and all of the lime. When choosing limes, remember that they may have wax on them, and the wax has to go. To avoid this, go organic, and buy unwaxed limes. Most recipes call only for the zest, but we cut up the remains of the limes and toss everything in the jar with the juice and sugar. I’m sure you’re quick to ask about the pith, and, no, it doesn’t matter.
In a test we carefully removed all the pith (actually we zested the limes before squeezing, then scraped the pulp from the remains) for a pith free addition to our cordial, then did the same thing in another jar, only without removing the pith. It makes no difference. Maybe because the limes we had didn’t have much pith, but it didn’t add any bitterness after sitting overnight, which is a necessary step. Once you sweeten the juice, technically, you have a cordial, but adding the pulp and rinds amplifies the lime flavor, and, like a pot of chili, it must sit for those flavors to really come together.
The continuing problem we found, regardless of how we added zest to juice, was a lack of acid. Sure, it’s a fine product as is, but in a cocktail it always needs a splash of fresh lime, or lemon. Upping the acid content makes this unnecessary, and, while you can get away with that in a Gimlet, the Jacqueline Rose has no room for added juice. This is an apple cocktail, remember, so we add a bit of citric acid to our cordial after we add the sugar. At first we tried to add some lemon juice for a bit more acid, but that made it taste like 7-Up, so we went with citric acid after reading Jeffery Morganthaler’s take on the matter, but keep in mind a little citric acid goes a long way. Start slow, and add a little at a time, tasting as you go.
Whether the people at Spiritopia intended for this cocktail to be a project is a matter of debate, but we think the effort worthy of the products at hand. If you’re not familiar with the brandy and liqueur from Spiritopia, they are all superb. It’s a range of products holding consistent quality, and we treat it as such. We’ve long been fans of their apple brandy, but really came to appreciate their offerings after an introduction to Spiritopia Pomegranate Liqueur, which, in the Jacqueline Rose, stands in for the grenadine used in a Jack Rose. The Apple Liqueur, and Apple Brandy work together where the usual applejack wouldn’t, and they dominate this drink in a very good way. The first thing you notice when tasting a Jacqueline Rose is the apple, bolstered by the pomegranate and rounded off nicely with a touch of the sweet lime cordial. This is a good one, and, while we really have nothing against Roses’s Lime Juice, we do think making your own lime cordial is well worth the effort.
Juice the limes, and put the juice in a large mason jar. Weigh the juice. We use a kitchen scale, so we can weight the jar empty, zero the scale and add the juice to get the juice weight, but if you don’t have one, weight the jar empty, note the weight, then add the juice and subtract the weight of the empty jar from that.
Weigh out an amount of sugar equal to the weight of the lime juice, and add to the jar. Slice up the lime remnants. If you halved them for juicing, cut each piece in half again and you're good to go. Toss it all in the jar, and shake, shake, shake. Shake some more and periodically over time until all the sugar is disolved.
Once the sugar is disolved, add 1/2 oz, by volume, of citric acid to the cordial, let it disolve, and taste. Add acid a little at a time until it’s to your liking, shake again, and leave it on the counter overnight. In the morning, remove the lime pulp and rinds, giving them a good squeeze to get all the cordial out, and drain the liquid through several layers of cheesecloth. You could use a coffee filter, but be advised it will take some time for the thick cordial to soak through.
Once strained, bottle and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
Stir and serve up. Garnish with an apple slice.