Sunday, July 8, 2012

Classic Cocktails: The Avenue

I got this drink out of Dr. Cocktail's always-useful Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails. The cocktail originally comes from the Café Royal Cocktail Book published in 1937. For more about the Café Royal and it's eponymous cocktail book, check out Our Libatinous Nature and their review of this cocktail.

The Avenue
1 oz bourbon
1 oz apple brandy
1 oz passionfruit syrup (B.G. Reynolds')
1 tsp lemon juice
2 drops orange flower water

Combine all ingredients, shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The nose is an interesting melange of the oak and corn bourbon notes with restrained fruit from the apple brandy and passionfruit. Using passionfruit syrup gives this drink a fantastically creamy mouthfeel. The sip opens with fruit from the syrup and apple brandy, which transitions to bourbon, then back to the passionfruit. It finishes with the orange flower water. A very elegant cocktail.

A few notes about the way I put this together. The drink originally called for passionfruit juice rather than syrup and a dash of grenadine. As per VSFC, I subbed in passionfruit syrup and balanced it with a bit of lemon juice. I think this worked out well as the drink was sweet without becoming overwhelming. Lastly, Paul Clarke and I appear to think the same way as we both reached for Weller 12 Year bourbon, as its soft wheat mashbill makes it a good pairing with the apple brandy and passionfruit. A rye-recipe bourbon might give the drink a bit more pep, but I like the way everything comes together in a very smooth fashion with a wheated bourbon.


  1. I read this article and I tried to produce this drink myself. Instead of passionfruit juice I used syrup and balanced it with a bit of lemon juice. It was delicious. The second time I put this drink together it tasted weird. How could that be? Both times I did exactly that as instructed.

    1. Hum... hard to say. It might just be a matter of your sense of taste from day to day. I've noticed it a lot with whisk(e)y, that a particular spirit might taste good one day and not so great the next.

  2. Seriously good. Weller 107 and Laird's Bonded: two muscular spirits that are a nice even match. The passion fruit syrup thickens the mouthfeel as advertised and the teaspoon of lemon juice diminishes the sweetness but doesn't dull it. Definitely on the sweet side, but much more complex than your average sweet drink. Holds up to a splash of soda and would be excellent with a brut prosecco or champagne as a Seelbach variation. I would drink this before a Bellini any day.