Cracker Jack is Americana. An iconic snack for over 100 years known as much for its toy surprise and link to baseball as the caramel popcorn and nuts mix within the box. Why not make a cocktail to replicate this wonderful flavor profile? The Cracker Jack Irish Whiskey Cocktail does just that in time for the beginning of spring and the baseball season.
Cracker Jack was invented by F.W. Rueckheim, a German imigrant, who had been selling popcorn on the streets of Chicago since 1872. At the Chicago World Fair in 1893, the product originally known as "Candied Popcorn & Nuts" was launched. The product later adopted the name Cracker Jack but the origin is not definitively known. For the time, the box packaging was very innovative. The inside packaging was also unique and invented to prevent the popcorn kernels from sticking. This invention by Henry Eckstein made him a partner with the company.
The product's mascots have become iconic. The sailor boy known as Sailor Jack was modeled after Rueckheim's grandson. The dog named Bingo was modeled after Eckstein's actual adopted dog Russell.
The now iconic toy prizes were not originally included in the early years. Coupons were instead provided for products targeting adults, particularly women. After a couple of years, the company shifted marketing focus to children by including toy prizes inside the box. This proved to be a brilliant move as sales skyrocketed.
Cracker Jack received a huge boost as well in 1908 when it was included in the iconic song, "Take Me Out To The Ballgame". Sung at baseball games for over a hundred years, the unsolicited lyric "buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack" has proven to be one of the greatest unpaid advertising boons of all time.
For those who can't get out to the ballpark or like their treats to be more adult oriented vs. toy surprises, this Irish Whiskey Cocktail is perfect. Replicate the snack's flavor profile with this refreshing drink and you'll be singing and rooting for your favorite Irish whiskey.
- 2 oz. Irish Whiskey
- 1 oz. Amaretto liqueur
- 1 oz. butterscotch schnapps
- 3 oz. Canada Dry Ginger Ale & Lemonade
- Cracker Jack for garnish (optional)
IWSA Cocktail Shaker
Tall Cocktail glass
Stir ingredients together in your shaker of tall cocktail glass. Add ice. Add Cracker Jack garnish if desired. Don't forget to give yourself a toy surprise!
IWSA recommendation: Use Roe & Co blended Irish Whiskey which is well suited for cocktails given its higher abv. Exclusive aging in ex-bourbon casks provides the right flavor profile for replicating the cracker jack snack.
Recipe Credit: Hy-Vee.com