Jack Rose cocktail (1905)

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Wed Nov 6 18:08:47 UTC 2002

Perhaps I can obfuscate this discussion a bit.  Evidently more or less contemporaneously with the Jack Rose cocktail there was a brand of cigars called Jack Rose.

[From Douglas Gilbert, American Vaudeville: Its Life and Times, N. Y.: Dover, 1968, p. 227.  (The book was originally published in 1940.)   It has a reference to]  . . . a five cent package of Jack Rose little cigars (later called "squealers," after the witness by the same name who informed in the Rosenthal case). . . .

This refers to the murder of Herman Rosenthal in 1912; a gambler of dubious morals named Jack Rose was a principal informer.  The murder was, and to a degree still is, notorious.  Four men were executed for it, including Charles Becker, a prominent police lieutenant.  Of these, one or two may have been innocent, including the policeman.  The prosecutor in the case, Charles Whitman, used the name-recognition he got from the case to get elected governor, so that Becker had to appeal to Governor Whitman to commute the death sentence won by DA Whitman, with predictable results.  There have been several books about the case, including one by Andy Logan, in the early 1970s.  I haven't read Logan's book for some years, not anything else about the case, but I did not have the impression that Jack Rose the squealer had been a man of much note before the murder.  But perhaps he was famous enough in the right circles to have a drink and a cigar named after him.


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African
Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998.

----- Original Message -----
From: Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
Date: Tuesday, November 5, 2002 7:55 pm
Subject: Re: Jack Rose cocktail (1905)

> At 8:51 PM -0500 11/4/02, Bapopik at AOL.COM wrote:
> >    I was looking unsuccessfully for other cocktail names.  I
> >discussed this in September 2000, in a cite from TAP & TAVERN.  (See
> >ADS-L archives.)
> >
> >    22 April 1905, NATIONAL POLICE GAZETTE, pg. 14:
> >
> >_Wise Bartenders will Get Good Tips in This Column._
> >    Frank J. May, better known as Jack Rose, is the inventor of a
> >very popular cocktail by that name, which has made him famous as a
> >mixologist.  He is at present looking after the managerial affairs
> >of Gene Sullivan's Cafe, at 187 Pavonia avenue, Jersey City, N. J.,
> >one of the most popular resorts in that city.  Mr. May takes an
> >active interest in sports, and as a wrestler could give many of the
> >professional wrestlers a warm argument.
> Here's another version or two, courtesy of
> http://hotwired.lycos.com/cocktail/97/11/index4a.html
> (the site has a lovely picture of the drink, which does indeed
> like a
> Jacqueminot rose--or so I imagine).   I was wondering if there was
> any relation to Rose's Lime Juice, but as far as I can tell there
> isn't.
> Larry
> ========================
> This cocktail gives us a twinge at the back of the tongue before
> smoothly sliding down the gullet, swathed in sweetness. It's the mix
> of pain and
> delight in the Jack Rose that we just can't say no to.
> Mixed with 1 1/2 ounces applejack and an ounce lime juice (or 1/2 an
> ounce lemon juice), followed by half an ounce grenadine, the Jack Rose
> has the tang of Jersey Lightning and the sappy charm of grenadine.
> The lime is the bridge from one to the other. But it's not the Jack
> Rose's
> deep-laid taste, only hinting at apple, that attracts imbibers.
> Instead, it's the drink's hue - not quite red, not quite pink - that
> draws us to the
> cocktail.
> We had just assumed the Jack Rose was named for its color. After all,
> Albert S. Crockett, author of the 1934 Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar, wrote
> that the Jack Rose, or Jacque Rose, was "the exact shade of a
> Jacqueminot rose, when properly concocted." The rose, in turn, is
> named after
> French general Jean-Fran├žois Jacqueminot, who endured from 1787 until
> 1865. Some suggest the drink was named after the general, but we're
> certain that can't be: The French would never allow a drink mixed
> with the Yankee cousin of their fine apple brandy, Calvados, to be
> tied to their
> language.
> Our efforts to find a more believable christening of the Jack Rose
> took us to the Colts Neck Inn of Colts Neck, New Jersey: "The great,
> great
> grandpa of the Laird family, the restaurant's first owner and the
> only distiller left making applejack, invented it," says Nelson
> Fastige, a Colts
> Neck bartender for the last 14 years. "His name was Jack, and the
> drink was a reddish pink color, like the rose." A modest enough tale
> that
> almost inspired us to stop our search. But not having put in a good
> day's work, we decided to call the Laird family in Scobeyville, New
> Jersey.
> "The Jack Rose cocktail was not invented at the Colts Neck Inn as
> some believe. Nor was it created by a Laird family ancestor," Lisa
> Laird-Dunn, the Laird & Company's VP and a member of the family's
> ninth generation, told us. "One of the more colorful myths is in fact
> truth,
> not fiction.... During the late 1800s, there was a gentleman by the
> name of Jack Rose, from New York City. He was regarded as somewhat of
> a
> shady character who made his living in and around City Hall and the
> New York courts. Mr. Rose's favorite beverage was applejack, and he
> consumed it mixed with lemon juice and grenadine. He became known for
> this cocktail, thus it was dubbed the Jack Rose."
> We certainly like the idea of a gangster rogue, instead of a
> presumably well-behaved and well-aged gentleman, sipping the Jack
> Rose. So we
> called it a day and tried to find an establishment that would serve
> us a round of Jack Roses. But alas, no luck. If they weren't trying
> to swap
> Calvados for applejack, then they were set on serving the cocktail
> with apple brandy - all while charging us an extra 50 cents per
> drink. We'll
> actually take these substitutes in a pinch, but attest the Jack Rose
> is far from the same without that applejack burn. Besides, if we're
> going to sip
> apple brandy, we'd rather have it straight. Occasionally, to coax the
> mixer into meeting our demands, we'll quote from Ms. Laird-Dunn: "The
> drink became very popular in the early 1900s and remained so after
> the repeal of Prohibition. There wasn't a restaurant in New York City
> that
> did not serve the Jack Rose." To which most bartenders reply that we
> ought to consider a move.

More information about the Ads-l mailing list