Applejack. For When Hard Cider Just Isn’t Strong Enough

While the American colonists drank hard cider like their modern-day counterparts swill Pepsi and Coca-Cola, for some, cider’s relatively mild 4 to 6 percent alcohol concentration just wasn’t alcoholic enough. The solution to this pressing pioneer problem was applejack.

Cider, circa 1775, was routinely transmogrified into the stunningly stronger applejack simply by setting a pan of it on the back porch in the frigid days of winter. The water in the cider would freeze, and as ice was removed from the cider container, the alcohol in the brew became increasingly concentrated. This process of freeze-distilling, which relies on the fact that alcohol freezes at a lower temperature than water, was known as jacking—hence the cozy name applejack.

Cider, converted to applejack, shrank

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