Below is a letter I sent to the Times yesterday (with links added for annotation and clarity):
In the article "Bar Crawling From Boutique to Boutique" by Michael Rovner on p. E9 of today's paper, there is the statement that "the Jack Rose [is] named after a friend of the owner, Jonas Hegewisch, and made with applejack, house-made grenadine and lemon juice."
This seems dubious at best, as the Jack Rose (whose recipe is given accurately; consult CocktailDB or any quality bar manual) is a classic drink. According to drinks historian David Wondrich's book "Imbibe!", the New York Police Gazette published a reference to the drink in 1905.
I spent many years believing that this drink, one of only two classic applejack cocktails. . .was named after "Bald Jack" Rose, one of the yeggs involved in the notorious 1912 Becker-Rosenthal case (in which Police Lieutenant Becker eventually went to the chair -- probably wrongly -- for hiring Rose to put out a hit on gambler "Beansy" Rosenthal.) In part, this belief was wishful thinking of the kind all mixographers indulge in. Alas, the facts say different, or at least the Police Gazette does, which is not always the same thing. In this case, however, the evidence seems pretty straightforward: According to a squib the Gazette published in 1905, "Frank J. May, better known as Jack Rose, is the inventor of a very popular cocktail by that name, which has made him famous as a mixologist." This May/Rose fellow was apparently employed at Gene Sullivan's Cafe on Pavonia Avenue in Jersey City -- and indeed, it's worth noting that applejack is the state spirit of New Jersey. A less glamorous back story, to be sure, but most likely a factual one. As for Bald Jack, according to a widely reprinted newspaper squib from the end of 1912, his notoriety put such a dent in the drink's popularity that some bartenders took to calling it a "Royal Smile" instead. Perhaps.
(You can see this in Google Books.)
There's also the theory that the name simply comes from the fact that its primary ingredient is appleJACK, and that it's rose pink in color when mixed. At any rate, I doubt it's named after a friend of a menswear shop's owner; that would be Hegewischful thinking.
Other copy-editing tics: the whiskey from Tennessee is "Jack Daniel's", not "Jack Daniels" -- the original distiller was Jack Daniel, and the brand properly includes the apostrophe. Also, the John Ashe cocktail is "finished with an Islay Mist", which is unclear. Islay Mist is a blended Scotch whisky, so I'm not sure if that means that Islay Mist is misted onto the drink with an atomizer, or floated atop the drink, or something else?
Thank you for your time and attention.
The Times' cocktail coverage tends to be pretty good (see the frequent linkage from here, f'r instance), so this was a surprise to read. I know it's a quick aside in a trend piece about retailing, bu c'mon: thirty seconds with the Google or Wikipedia would've cast doubt on their subject's claims.