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.