I often worry about unfinished business. It keeps me up at night, which is crazy because, ultimately, we all leave the game with pieces on the table. Plans unfinished, things left unsaid and plenty of stuff we just never got around to, those are the things that worry me. So let’s complete a task as we stand and make The Avenue. 

This one comes to us from William Tarling’s 1937 “Cafe Royal Cocktail Book” and it is the drink I meant to make a while ago when I accidentally pulled up the recipe for the Avenue Scotch Cocktail, which is not the same thing at all. To be fair, on the scale of things left undone, this is not a big deal, but there’s no reason to not check this one off the list. Sometimes you’ve got to take the wins you can get. As Lyle Lovett would say, “What would you be if you didn’t even try? You have to try.” 

Grab your tins and pop in 1 ounce of bourbon, I went with Hudson Baby Bourbon; 1 ounce of apple brandy, Laird’s Applejack, naturally; 1/4 ounce of passion fruit syrup, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, a splash of grenadine and 2-3 stabs of orange flower water. Add ice and shake to the beat of Peter Gabriel’s prescient “The Barry Williams Show”, perfect for living in a reality show society. Dysfunctional excess, indeed. Double strain into some stemware and garnish with a lemon twist. 

It’s a bit sweeter than I care for, but I figured that reading the recipe. That passion fruit syrup is always overpowering and this one would have been fine without the grenadine, except it comes from that time frame when every drink had grenadine added. I assume it was some sort of law. The bourbon and applejack work well together but honestly, the sweetness just kind of drowns out any nuance or subtlety of flavor. It is what it is, as they say. 

Well, it wasn’t a great success, but at least I got to complete that task. Which makes me luckier than a great many folks. There’s a lot of unfinished business this year. So many things that so many people didn’t get to do. Maybe some of us will be able to make up for lost time when the world gets back to some semblance of normal. Not all of us, though. So many have lost so much. As of today, 250,000 Americans have lost their lives to COVID-19. That’s a quarter of a million lives lost. A quarter million families grieving as we head into the holidays. Hell of a milestone, isn’t it? How many of those could have been avoided? On top of that, there are more people in the hospital with this disease right now than at any point in the last year. The numbers are rising in 48 states with no relief in sight. Our local rates of infection and hospitalization are skyrocketing and still our fearful leaders are unwilling to mandate mask usage and do anything more than paying lip service to social distancing. Yeah, there’s a lot of unfinished business. The good news is that it looks like effective vaccines are on the way. That will save lives. Making sure that the incoming folks are up to speed on the plans to get those vaccines out to people will save lives too. But it’s not about saving lives for some, it’s about scoring points. Barry Williams would be proud. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends. It’s gonna be a long, cold winter.