The Avenue

I’m still trying to wrap my head around this one. The recipe is from Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails (Haigh credits the Cafe Royal Bar Book from 1937), and I’ve been meaning to try it for months, but lacked one essential component: passion fruit juice (not nectar, or syrup — juice).

Not that I’ve tried too hard to find it. Typically, when I’m in a store likely to carry it, I’m searching for something else with a singular focus, and thus walk right past it. But today, with a little time on my hands and a firm resolve to track down this unusual ingredient, I started poking around Pike Place Market and, at Pike Place Grocery, I finally found what I was seeking.

From the recipe, the Avenue looks intriguing: Bourbon, Calvados & passion fruit juice, with a little grenadine and, for mystery and exoticism, orange flower water. What’s not to like? In the glass, though, the drink seems to be searching for an identity. The OFW is right there at the front, with it’s distinctive perfume, and again at the end, with its lingering aftertaste. In between, the Calvados and the passion fruit juice seem to be searching for some sort of fruity foundation, but no clear note is evident, and the bourbon is almost totally hidden in the drink.

While the flavor profile seems slightly confused, I’m wondering if that uncertain, ethereal character is part of the drink’s charm — instead of a firmly rooted flavor, such as that in a Manhattan or a martini or most other drinks, the Avenue has little ghostly touches of taste that flit across the palate and then disappear. While drinking it, I try to pin down the flavor in my mind, only to have it slip away like a puff of smoke in a gust of wind.

Fortunately, for a drink that’s so hard to understand at first blush, the Avenue is truly delicious. I made the cocktail with Chateau du Breuil Calvados and the soft, wheated Weller 12-year-old bourbon, a favorite of mine, so it was nice and comfortable to wrestle with. I’d say the Avenue is “interesting,” though that tag is typically the kiss of death for new drinks and flavors; if something is “interesting,” you try it once. Unlike the other “interesting” cocktails, though, the Avenue is worth further exploration.

The Avenue Cocktail

  • 1 ounce calvados
  • 1 ounce bourbon
  • 1 ounce passion fruit juice (you could also try it with nectar)
  • 1 dash grenadine
  • 1 dash orange flower water

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

10 Responses to The Avenue

  1. Greetings from a fellow Seattleite-

    Funny you posted this recipe over the weekend — as my wife and I enjoyed the same drink ourselves on Saturday! We’ve made it with both Applejack and Calvados and prefer the later. I need to dial back the OFW next time, as it’s overpowered the drink the last couple times.

    Regarding Passion Fruit juice — we found a great recipe on cocktaildb, The Lover’s Knot. With 1/3 each Gin, White Rum, and Passion Fruit, it’s a beguiling and summery concoction that blends the gin and rum amazingly well.

    As for grenadine — thanks for your quick POM-based recipe. I’ve been disappointed making a Jack Rose with Fee Brothers in the past, but with some homemade it was delicious. Prepared a double with 3oz Applejack, 1oz lime, and 1/2oz grenadine, and it all blended together perfectly.


  2. Hi Steve,

    Yeah, the OFW is really assertive — I think I overdid it in my drink, too. Though I’m really enamored of the flavor; I like it in the Ramos Fizz, as it gives just the right kind of perfume to the drink, and there are also these almond Christmas cookies I make every year that has a big dose of OFW in them, and always draw praise.

    The Lover’s Knot sounds interesting — I’ll definitely give it a try. Thanks for passing that along.

  3. This sounds like an interesting cocktail; I’ll have to add it to my “to try” list, although I think I would start with Applejack, as I like it better in drinks than Calvados myself.

    I’m still looking for the perfect grenadine. I used to have a bottle of a great tasting one, but unfortunately we finished it and I forgot to take down its name and now it is lost to the fogs of history. I have a half dozen bottles downstairs (including Fee Brothers), but none can match the Lost Grenadine. I haven’t taken the time to make my own yet, but perhaps this will be a good impetuous to.

  4. OK, let’s go to plan B. Take Trader Vic’s passion fruit syrup, sub lemon juice for the grenadine and see what you think. My juice was quite sweet, almost indiscernable from nectar; probably not so fresh?

    Plan B does tend to bring it all together a bit better in your juice is too tart.


  5. I just made my own passion fruit juice with cloudy apple juice, passion fruit syrup and lemon juice, cocktail came out great, in fact I have put it on my list now, it is loved by many.


  6. I found a great way to use OFW so as not to over power is to cut it by half with water and put it in a dash bottle. We have it in our bar that way and it really protects against screwing up your drinks by over perfuming them.

  7. I only just realised this morning why my Avenue last night tasted bitter after opening the kitchen cupboard and seeing a bottle of orange flower water staring at me. ‘Oh no I used Angostura bitters by accident’.

  8. Try using Boiron Passionfruit Puree. It’s a puree but 100% fruit and actually comes out thin like a juice.
    Fanstastically sharp too. And for a decent grenadine to really make the difference I use Pom Wonderful sweetened to a 1.5:1 ratio or Boiron Pomegranate at 2:1.

    Best results I’ve had with the above.

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