We are big fans of Alton Brown who is food guru on a couple of the cooking channels. He is really into the history and science of food and constantly comes up with unique ways of enhancing standard recipes. A while back he was extolling the use of apple jack when making an apple pie.
My father drank apple jack on occasion. I wouldn’t call him an alcoholic, though his family roots were based in boot legging back during prohibition. They made whiskey in the family bakery and delivered it in the bakery truck. He seemed to have a fondness for novelty booze such as corn whiskey, apple jack and a variety of other spirits. His main stay was Johnny Walker Black. I don’t know if he actually enjoyed drinking scotch or if he figured it elevated his social standing.
I always recall him tying one on when we went to Canada every summer. He’s buy a bottle of scotch at the duty free shop at the border and he’d spend a long night drinking with our hosts at the lodge. Then randomly at another time of the year he’d tie one on with one of his novelty spirits. Twice a year; never more or less, just twice a year consistently.
I recall when he rediscovered apple jack. I saw an impish look on his face that reminded him of his youth. When Alton Brown talked about using apple jack in the pie recipe I was taken back to that look on my father’s face, so I went to the liquor store to get some.
I am not a real drinker. I think in the last year I’ve had only a couple beers, a couple glasses of wine, a few snifters of sherry and perhaps three Margaritas in the heat of the summer. When I go into the liquor store I immediately have sticker shock. My next shock comes from the quantity of apple jack one must buy. I considered not getting it, but the recipe called for it and I was committed.
When I got the bottle home I figured I’d have a taste to see what my father found good about the stuff. I guess what I was expecting was a combination of apple cider and brandy, but the first taste was something more like fortified jet fuel. I wondered how they could sell this poison. There was nothing charming about it in the least. As far as I could tell it did nothing for the pie. I’m considering it as accelerant the next time I need to burn brush.