I have a set of cocktail napkins at home that is hardly singular in its tribute to Western society's affection for drink. Each white, red-trimmed square offers a classic recipe in its most basic form. My favorite at the moment is the Jack Rose, a tart, palate-resurfacing combination of apple liquor, grenadine, and lime juice. Like the Whiskey Smash, the toast of last month's Toast, this Jack Rose owes its ode to Boston's Eastern Standard bar and restaurant, where they invest more attention and ingredients than my cocktail napkin dictates - you get what you pay (and shake) for.
According to this cocktail napkin, the heart
of a good Jack Rose is 1 1/2 oz. of Applejack.
And compensate with a high-quality grenadine that tastes distinctly of pomegranates - 1 teaspoon per cocktail (you also can make your own; recipes abound on the internet, many with the word "simple" attached - in irony, I can only assume, since nothing simple begins with whole pomegranates). Combine the Applejack and grenadine in a martini shaker, add the juice of half a lime, fill with crushed ice, shake, and strain into a martini glass.
The Eastern Standard adds another fussy touch that's simply magical (and filled with literary and romantic allusion): a dash of orange-flower water, which adds refreshingly floral and bittergreen notes. It knocks the entire concoction out of Sex-and-the-City pink frilliness and into the realm of legendary 'balling with Manhattans and Sazeracs. Perhaps even into the lofty universe of American lit - or at least into the hands of a Raymond Chandler dame.