I constantly talk about balance when it comes to cocktails. Drawing that balance between the booze, the sour of the citrus, and the sweetener will make for a successful cocktail every time. The Applejack Rabbit, a classic cocktail from the 1930s, has only 4 ingredients, bonded apple brandy, lemon juice, orange juice, and maple syrup; it demonstrates balance as clearly as any cocktail I have seen!
2 ounces Laird's bonded apple brandy
3/4 ounce lemon juice
3/4 ounce orange juice
1/2 ounce maple syrup
Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain into a coupe and serve up.
This drink is so simple that there is not much to say here! Laird's makes many very nice apple brandy products. I prefer this drink with their bonded apple brandy, which is 100 proof and not cut with neutral spirits. It adds so much flavor, but be careful! It is 100 proof; so 2 ounces of it, which is how much is called for here, can pack a punch. The Applejack Rabbit is so delightfully balanced that it is easy to put a few of these away and be in trouble very quickly! (I am, of course, speaking from experience here). Always use fresh squeezed juices wherever possible, but buying orange juice (not from concentrate) works just fine here. Bottled lemon juices are horrible and I would stay away from them. And lastly, the maple syrup. If possible, use Grade B maple syrup over Grade A. Grade B has a richer and fuller flavor and is, thus, counterintuitively better than Grade A. But any REAL maple syrup will work well here. I emphasize "real" because there are many "maple products" out there which are not maple syrup at all but rather are artificially flavored.
So there you have it...the Applejack Rabbit. Everyone for whom I have made this drink has been impressed by the flavor and then shocked by how easy it is to make this perfectly balanced cocktail. Enjoy!