The Star Daisy

Some historians think there are two customs that define civilization – afternoon tea and the cocktail hour. I’ll raise a cuppa or a glass of cheer in honor of that notion!

The newest glass of cheer we’ve raised is the Star Daisy. We probably noticed the article about the Star Daisy in the New York Times because Daisy, a friend from Boston, was visiting. The ingredients captured our fancy and we made it on a lark. But the taste is what has made this drink a favorite in less time than it takes to tell the tale. Here’s the recipe:

Equal parts of:

  • Gin
  • Applejack
  • Orange Curacao
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Shake with ice, strain into a cold cocktail glass. Garnish as desired. Maraschino cherries are always nice with sweet and sweet/tart drinks. Or you might use a pretty slice or wedge of lemon.

The Star Daisy is tart, refreshing and very satisfying. The taste of the gin and its juniper berry kick comes through very nicely, balanced by the sweet-tart of the Orange Curacao. The Applejack adds a bit of an edge. And the lemon juice rounds things out. As it dances across your palate, you’ll be amazed.

We tried a variation which was stirred and served on ice rather than shaken and strained. It was an amazing variation, as the separate and distinct tastes of the ingredients were more apparent as the drink slid across our tongues. Still, we tend to shake our drinks more often than stir them.

If you haven’t tried Applejack, it is a drink with an interesting history. It is one of the oldest strong drinks in America. In the beginning, it was made by freezing large containers of fermented apple juice. The water would freeze on the edges of the container, concentrating the alcohol in the center. After a long period of freezing, the liquid center became a very concentrated alcoholic beverage.

Originally Applejack was a very rough and crude drink. Since Colonial times, the drink has changed. It is now distilled, which makes it smoother. Given the cost of apples, and how many apples it takes to make Applejack, it is now blended with neutral grain spirits. As with blended Scotch Whisky, this mellows the drink, or perhaps robs it of its character. We are looking for a pure Applejack. If we find one that is affordable, we’ll report on it here.

Some people like a sweeter drink and add either simple syrup or grenadine, which also adds color. We tried both variations, and prefer the recipe as given above. Then again, we’re rarely into sweetness for sweetness’ sake.

Come summer, this will be a regular drink for us, up there with a Gin and Tonic or a Hemingway.  We’ll talk about those in an upcoming post.

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