After 1937’s “Big Apple” dance craze, several “Big Apple” drinks were made—usually with applejack. Most of these drinks were never popular or have faded into obscurity.
The “Big Apple Martini” (Big Apple-tini) is the most popular “Big Apple"-named cocktail today.
12 January 1938, Catering Industry Employee, “Cocktails for Two by James E.
Hickey,” pg. 31, col. 1:
The recent International Cocktail Competition held in London disclosed in the American entries many significant cocktail trends. (...) One San Francisco, Calif., bartender enetered what was in fact a West Indies Daiquiri, using shaved ice and an electric mixing machine, and substituted applejack for rum. He named it “The Big Apple.”
12 March 1938, Catering Industry Employee, “International Cocktail Competitions—1937,” pg. 35, col. 2:
THE BIG APPLE (RED)
1 Jigger Apple Jack Brandy
1 Dash Lemon Juice
1 Barspoon Orange Curacao
1/3 Jigger Grenadine Syrup
Place on an electric mixer until thick. (This may also be Green)
Submitted by Harry H. Gregg, New Dalt Hotel, San Francisco, Calif.
11 August 1941, Massillon (OH) Evening Independent, pg. 9, col. 4:
Big Apple Awaits You At Bender’s
You Will Enjoy This New Cocktail And Its Companion, The “Patrol Wagon”; Bender’s Cook With Wine
The “Big Apple” is in town, and the “Patrol Wagon” too. They arrived at Bender’s restaurant Saturday, and both will be found at the bar.
The “Big Apple” and the “Patrol Wagon” are two of the latest drinks that have been sweeping the country. They are particularly palatable cocktails, commonly known as “sneakers,” and in announcing these new additions to the cocktail antree Bender’s suggests no more than three to a customer.
The “Big Apple” is made of rum, cointreau, gin and grenadine, highly decorated, as are all of bender’s cocktails.
The “Patrol Wagon” is a mixture of gin, applejack, lime, sugar to taste and shaken.
My 35 Years Behind Bars:
Memories and Advice of a Bartender, Including a Liquor Guide
By Johnny Brooks
(Brooks worked at the old Waldorf-Astoria, Rector’s, Texas Guinan’s, Jack Dempsey’s, the Stork Club, the House of Morgan, the Glass Hat of the Belmont PlazaHotel, the Gruenwald Hotel in New Orleans, et al.—ed.)
New York, NY: Exposition Press
Pg. 110, col. 2:
THE BIG APPLE
1/4 creme de menthe (white)
Shake and strain into cocktail glass.
December 1963, Ski magaine, pg. 93:
AN APPLE A NIGHT
1/2 of a baked apple (canned)
1 oz. Laird’s Bonded Applejack
3 oz. apple juice, warmed
Pinch of powdered ginger, optional
Heat apple juice and ginger to simmer in a small pan. Scald a thick-sided, heat resistant Old Fashioned glass by filling with boiled water, then emptying. Now put in the baked apple half, with just a little of the syrup. Apple should be at room temperature. Add liquor to glass and ignite with long handled fireplace match. Pour warmed apple juice into glass. Don’t try to slug this down. Sip slowly, and spoon up the liquor-drenched apple.
Applejack - the Oldest American Spirit
by Sylvan on January 7, 2009
Another variation that I just had to try was using applejack in a Manhattan-like recipe.
The Big Apple (Applejack Manhattan or Marconi Wireless)
1 1/2 oz applejack (Laird’s Straight Apple Brandy)
3/4 oz sweet vermouth (Vya)
2 dashes Angostura Bitters (orange bitters for the Marconi)
Stir with small ice, strain and garnish with a boozy cherry. (soaked in rye, bourbon, brandy or what have you).
This one turned out very similar to a whiskey Manhattan, in fact, enough so that it didn’t seem like a good use of applejack at all.