Harvest Moon Applejack Cocktail Recipe

This Harvest Moon Applejack Cocktail recipe is made with apple brandy, almond syrup (orgeat) and lemon juice. It’s a delicious cocktail that’s perfect for Fall.

The 1934 December-edition of Esquire Magazine includes a list of the “Top 10” most popular cocktails.

The list starts with an Old Fashioned, and ends with a Daiquiri, with the rest of the cocktails on the list being reasonably well known. However, one of them, the Harvest Moon, appears to have disappeared from cocktail lists since that time.

Described as being an “applejack sour with orgeat” – I wanted to set out on the mission of recreating this vintage cocktail at home.

But first thing’s first.

What is Applejack?

According to Liquor.com, Applejack was created when “resourceful colonists upped cider’s alcohol content by leaving barrels outside overnight to freeze. This clever method, also known as “jacking,” allowed drinkers to separate the alcohol that didn’t freeze from the ice remaining in the barrels, resulting in a high-proof “applejack.

Most “applejack” today is more like an apple brandy. And it’s absolutely delicious. Perfect for spiking some warm Mulled Cider, or adding to an Apple Cider Cocktail or Apple Cider Moscow Mule.

Laird’s Applejack is a brand that is widely available, but any applejack brandy will work in this recipe.

Applejack cocktail on small silver tray garnished with lemon slices.

Ingredients needed

  • Applejack – A brandy distilled from apples.
  • Almond Syrup – Also known as orgeat. I use the Torani brand.
  • Lemon 

How to make it

  • Place the applejack, almond syrup and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker.
  • Shake until chilled, about 30 seconds.
  • Strain the contents into a coupe glass and garnish with a slice of lemon.

Where do you find the ingredients for this applejack cocktail?

  • Look for the Applejack at your local liquor store. It’s a strong alcoholic beverage produced from apples. The brand that I use, and the one you’ll find most here in the United States is Laird & Company.
  • The Almond Syrup (orgeat) can be found at any well-stocked supermarket. Look for it in the coffee aisle. It’s a sweet syrup made with almonds and orange or rose water. You can also find it in the liquor store, as it’s used for making cocktails like the Mai Tai.

Is there an applejack substitute?

While applejack does have its own unique flavor, you can definitely substitute. Here are some alternatives:

  • Pear Brandy (I’ve personally tried this and it’s delicious)
  • Calvados
  • Any Brandy

What does this applejack cocktail taste like?

To me, the Harvest cocktail definitely tastes similar to a whisky sour, but it’s got so much more flavor going on.

It definitely hits you with the tang of the lemon juice, but then that smooth apple brandy mellows it out. It adds a more balanced feel to the cocktail, and the addition of the orgeat gives it a little sweetness. I love that hit of almond flavor, it almost reminds me of a white wedding cake flavor.

Recipe variations

  • Try swapping out the lemon juice for orange juice (sweeter) or lime juice (more tart).
  • Add a bit of fizz to your cocktail by topping it with some ginger beer.

More Fall cocktail recipes 

Did you try this applejack cocktail recipe?

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Apple Jack Cocktail

This Harvest Moon Applejack Cocktail is made with apple brandy, almond syrup (orgeat) and lemon juice. It’s a delicious cocktail recipe that’s served straight up in a martini glass. 
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 cocktail



  • Place all ingredients (except garnish) in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake for 30 seconds.
  • Strain the contents into a cocktail glass and garnish with lemon slice. 
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!


Calories: 136kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Sodium: 1mg | Sugar: 8g | Calcium: 16mg

This post was originally published in 2018. It was updated in 2021 to provide new information and updated photographs. The original recipe remains the same. Enjoy!

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