Cocktails come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, but most include one base spirit accented by other ingredients. That is the case with Angel's Face recipe, an original cocktail from Brooklyn bartender Jay Zimmerman that mixes gin and applejack, plus apricot liqueur. The story of the Angel Face cocktail began in 1930 when Harry Craddock published its splendid collection of recipes: the Savoy Cocktail Book. The main source of inspiration for this drink is the notorious gangster of the American Prohibition (Angel Face). Others state that the cocktail is dedicated to Rick Blaine, the legendary star of Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart, considered that the film came out in 1942. Gin is a traditional base ingredient that seldom joins forces with applejack. Applejack is a kind of apple brandy that dates back to the late 1600s when the American colonists turned their apple harvests into hard cider, discovering they had something a lot stronger. They increased the cider's alcohol content by leaving barrels outside overnight to freeze resulting in a high-proof spirit they dubbed "applejack." The Angel Face is a cocktail made from gin, apricot brandy, and Calvados in equal amounts.
The combination of gin and apricot brandy was quite common in the early days of the cocktail. It's a pleasant taste because the brandy adds a sweet fruit contrast against the gin's botanical flavoring and drier profile. The orange juice complements both of those, bridging the gap and adding a bright citrus touch that is very enjoyable. The earliest known in-print recipe for the Paradise Cocktail was written by Harry Craddock in 1930.