I live just a ways down the road from the oldest distillery in America. In 1698 Alexander Laird booked passage on the Caledonia and emigrated from County Fife, Scotland, to the British colony now known as America. His sons Thomas and William came with him. William settled in what would eventually become Monmouth County, New Jersey. Apparently William had been a distiller of Scotch back in Scotland. Old William might have had a hard time finding barley where he settled but he had no problem at all finding apples. He began distilling Applejack for his own use and then, of course, for his friends and neighbors. Naturally William's children learned the family secret recipe and in 1780 Robert Laird established America's first commercial distillery. Robert Laird had served in George Washington's Revolutionary War Army so when the general asked for the secret Applejack recipe he got it and started distilling it himself. Applejack has an important place in our country's history. Abraham Lincoln sold it in his New Salem, Illinois, tavern. His saloon license lists the price of a half pint as twelve cents. For a half cent more you could sleep in the saloon but if you wanted a meal you had to fork over twenty-five cents. William Henry Harrison apparently loved Applejack to excess. And in June, 1967, when Lyndon Johnson met with Soviet Premier Alexei Kozygin at the Summit in Glassboro, New Jersey, he gave the Soviet leader a case of Laird's Applejack. I'm pretty sure that a daily slug of Laird's Applejack doesn't provide the same health benefits as an apple a day but it might, if you are an experiential learner, increase your understanding of this country's history.
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