Bottle #52: DeKuyper Apple Barrel Schnapps

Mar 19, 2024

Bottle #52 – DeKuyper Original Apple Barrel Schnapps – is not a duplicate bottle like Bottle #51 was. But it might as well be, because there’s not much more to say about it than I had to say about Bottle #29 – DeKuyper Bluesberry Schnapps.

Both of these came out as DeKuyper sought to follow up on its 1984 hit of Peachtree Schnapps, and pushed out a range of sweet and fruity concoctions through the 1980s. The Apple Barrel Schnapps appears to be one of the first, because I found a really fabulous ad for it dated 1985. It’s titled “how to tempt your lover without wearing a fig leaf,” features a couple clad in wooden barrels, and invokes Adam and Eve. It also claims that nine different apple varieties were used to make Apple Barrel Schnapps.

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Personally, I have a hard time believing that ANY apples were harmed in the making of this product. But certainly apples have been key to alcohol for a long time before this bottle came around.

Here’s the thing they didn’t teach you about Johnny Appleseed in the 2nd grade. All those apples he planted? They were not for eating out of hand, like a modern Honey Crisp or Jonagold. They were for making hard cider.

The first apples grew in Kazakhstan, and from there they were carried all over the world. In the 4th and 5th century BC, Greek investigations into horticulture taught the world about grafting. Grafting is important to apples, because unlike many other plants, seeds from apples don’t grow true. If you plant a seed from the most delicious apple you’ve ever tasted, you are as likely to get a sour, bitter crabapple as you are to get something that’s even edible, let alone delicious. Through the process of grafting, growers can take a small branch of a tree that makes good fruit, graft it onto the rootstock and trunk of another tree, and be sure that the new tree will grow the same fruit. This is how all commercial apples are grown today.

Following the Greeks, the Romans took this knowledge and carried apples with them as they expanded the Roman Empire, eventually arriving on the British Isles. From there, they were brought to America, and by the 1650’s there were apple orchards with thousands of trees.

For the most part, our ancestors weren’t sitting around munching on apples, though, or baking them into pies. The most important use of apples was in the production of alcoholic cider, which was safer to drink than the water in most places. For cider, it matters much less how the apples taste on their own. Apples that are too bitter or too tart to eat fresh can make passable or even excellent cider.

And once you have cider, then all you need is the careful application of distillation technology – or even just the freeze distillation method called “jacking” – and you’ve got apple brandy. Apple brandy was probably the first distilled spirit in the land that would become America, before whiskey! And if we were in Europe, one of the words you could use for a dry apple cider distillate would be schnaps. But alas, American “schnapps” and European “schnaps” are very different things, with the American variety (and this tiny bottle) including added sugar and flavorings.

So let’s just say I’m not expecting much from this tiny plastic bottle from the 80s or 90s, especially based on my experience tasting its Bluesberry buddy.

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Bottle #52: DeKuyper Apple Barrel Schnapps

Mar 19, 2024 |

Bottle #52 – DeKuyper Original Apple Barrel Schnapps – is not a duplicate bottle like Bottle #51 was. But it might as well be, because there’s not much more to say about it than I had to say about Bottle #29 – DeKuyper Bluesberry Schnapps.

Both of these came out as DeKuyper sought to follow up on its 1984 hit of Peachtree Schnapps, and pushed out a range of sweet and fruity concoctions through the 1980s. The Apple Barrel Schnapps appears to be one of the first, because I found a really fabulous ad for it dated 1985. It’s titled “how to tempt your lover without wearing a fig leaf,” features a couple clad in wooden barrels, and invokes Adam and Eve. It also claims that nine different apple varieties were used to make Apple Barrel Schnapps.

Personally, I have a hard time believing that ANY apples were harmed in the making of this product. But certainly apples have been key to alcohol for a long time before this bottle came around.

Here’s the thing they didn’t teach you about Johnny Appleseed in the 2nd grade. All those apples he planted? They were not for eating out of hand, like a modern Honey Crisp or Jonagold. They were for making hard cider.

The first apples grew in Kazakhstan, and from there they were carried all over the world. In the 4th and 5th century BC, Greek investigations into horticulture taught the world about grafting. Grafting is important to apples, because unlike many other plants, seeds from apples don’t grow true. If you plant a seed from the most delicious apple you’ve ever tasted, you are as likely to get a sour, bitter crabapple as you are to get something that’s even edible, let alone delicious. Through the process of grafting, growers can take a small branch of a tree that makes good fruit, graft it onto the rootstock and trunk of another tree, and be sure that the new tree will grow the same fruit. This is how all commercial apples are grown today.

Following the Greeks, the Romans took this knowledge and carried apples with them as they expanded the Roman Empire, eventually arriving on the British Isles. From there, they were brought to America, and by the 1650’s there were apple orchards with thousands of trees.

For the most part, our ancestors weren’t sitting around munching on apples, though, or baking them into pies. The most important use of apples was in the production of alcoholic cider, which was safer to drink than the water in most places. For cider, it matters much less how the apples taste on their own. Apples that are too bitter or too tart to eat fresh can make passable or even excellent cider.

And once you have cider, then all you need is the careful application of distillation technology – or even just the freeze distillation method called “jacking” – and you’ve got apple brandy. Apple brandy was probably the first distilled spirit in the land that would become America, before whiskey! And if we were in Europe, one of the words you could use for a dry apple cider distillate would be schnaps. But alas, American “schnapps” and European “schnaps” are very different things, with the American variety (and this tiny bottle) including added sugar and flavorings.

So let’s just say I’m not expecting much from this tiny plastic bottle from the 80s or 90s, especially based on my experience tasting its Bluesberry buddy.

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