My main complaint about the Toronto was that its simplicity meant that it didn't taste like much beyond the Fernet. So the Avenue & Davenport that I first spotted on Imbibe's Twitter feed seemed to solve that problem. While it retains the basic structure of the Toronto, the simple syrup is replaced by a mixture of bittersweet Cynar and funky maraschino liqueur. Hopefully those elements will help to lift it out of the morass of Fernet.
Avenue & Davenport
1.5 oz rye whiskey
0.5 oz bourbon
0.5 oz Cynar
0.25 oz maraschino
0.25 oz Fernet
Combine all ingredients, stir with ice for fifteen seconds, then strain into a chill cocktail glass.
The nose is a bit of a jumble, with the rye and Fernet fighting for prominence. The sip opens with complex bittersweetness from the Cynar and Fernet, the maraschino peeks out around the middle, then sliding towards a more citrus-y bitterness at the back joined by a little oak from the whiskey. The finish is long and oaky with Fernet overtones.
This is a good drink showcasing how different amaros can be mixed to layer bitter and herbal flavors on a solid whiskey base. In contrast to the Toronto it's based on, the Fernet is much less aggressive here, despite occupying roughly the same fraction of the drink. It's equally interesting that the maraschino is a little hard to detect as I usually find it to be a very assertive ingredient. Overall I find it interesting, but not something I feel compelled to return to at a later date.
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