Weekly Cocktail #59: The Honeymoon…..And The Annulment

The Honeymoon Cocktail.

The Honeymoon Cocktail.

Fall is here and it is time to get back to our weekly cocktails. And when we think autumn cocktails, we tend to look towards apples and Applejack, America’s apple brandy. We are big fans of Laird’s Bonded Applejack, with its dry apple flavor and strong (100 proof), spirituous core. Landing somewhere between the lighter spirits (gin, tequila) and darker spirits (bourbon, rye), Applejack is a natural for cocktails, as you can build a light, bright cocktail, or a dark, heavy drink, simply by playing with a few ingredients.hmoon4

hmoon2For a lighter Applejack drink we really enjoy the Honeymoon cocktail. A simple combination of Applejack (or Calvados, that French stuff), Cointreau, Benedictine and lemon juice. At first you might think this is a sweet drink, but with 2 ounces of Applejack and a light hand with the other ingredients, you get a strong boozy core accented by citrus and then spice from the Benedictine. There is more here than you would expect, and it is certainly better than your average “sour”.

hmoon8hmoon5Originally a pre-prohibition cocktail, the Honeymoon has been discovered, forgotten and rediscovered a few different times. And cocktail writers from Jim Meehan to Ted Haigh to Fred Yarm all sing its praises for a reason, it is a delightful sip. And certainly a pleasant intro to Applejack and a good reason to get a bottle. Oh, and it’s inexpensive, too….

hmoon3Along with being a good sip, the Honeymoon is a fun drink to play with. And one of our experiments gave us our next drink, the Annulment. One of our creations, the Annulment keeps the basics of the Honeymoon, but adds to the Benedictine’s slight herbal, bitter and spice notes through the use of Amaro and bitters. We basically doubled down on the heavier flavors.

The Annulment Cocktail.

The Annulment Cocktail.

For the Annulment, we add a splash of Averna, an amaro known for sweet, herbal, bitter and spice flavors, and both Angostura and Tiki bitters for depth and added spice. What you get is an entirely different drink. Where the Honeymoon is light and bright, The Annulment is darker and spicier, with a clear bitter edge that reminds us of the tannic edge of apple skins. If you like spiced apple cider, you will enjoy the Annulment. As it is we enjoy both the Honeymoon and the Annulment to follow…hmoon6

The Honeymoon Cocktail:


  • 2 oz. Applejack (Laird’s Bonded) or Calvados
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. Cointreau (or triple-sec)
  • 1/2 oz. Benedictine
  • Lemon twist, for garnish (optional, we omit)


  1. Combine all the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until well-chilled and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupé. Garnish with lemon twist, if you like. Serve.


The Annulment Cocktail:


  • 2 oz. Applejack (Laird’s Bonded) or Calvados
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 oz. Averna
  • 1/3 oz. Cointreau (or triple-sec)
  • 1/3 oz. Benedictine
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 dashes Bittermens Tiki bitters (or sub more Angostura)


  1. Combine all the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until well-chilled and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupé. Serve.

20 thoughts on “Weekly Cocktail #59: The Honeymoon…..And The Annulment

  1. Awesome cocktail! If you used Cider Jack instead of Applejack, it could end up have a spritzy feel and flavor. Considering the feel, flavor, and season of the cocktail, it may be worth trying as a substitution!

  2. This looks great! I’ve never had applejack before, and this is the perfect time of year to change that. I read about it in Michael Pollan’s “The Botany of Desire” and it has such an interesting history. Time to bring it back!

  3. I live just up the road from where Lairds is made and wonder if you have ever sprung for their REALLY expensive aged Apple Brandy. A bottle is $50 bucks here. Just wondering if you ever tasted the old stuff and recommend pulling out the gold…

    • Antique shows. We have a big one every year in the Bay Area (Hillsborough antique show, I think) and look for glassware. There are plenty of people who specialize in old cocktail sets and serving glasses…

      Also many beautiful, albeit expensive, antique silver martini and cocktail pitchers.

  4. Will have to try Applejack as it sounds nice with those combinations. And I agree with the comments on the lovely glasses…if only I had room to store more, I would try for a collection like yours! 🙂

  5. Your cocktails … make my head spin without evening tasting, Honey is something I would love to try – I love the glass – so delicate and the stem of it. New ????

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