It has been some time since I posted a drink I created, and I finally have become satisfied with what I was trying to do in a cocktail: play with the flavor of apples, but not so that they are cloying as with many apple liqueurs.
I dub this cocktail the Avalon: the name is a welsh word that means apple. Of course, it also has the connotation of the ancient and mythical Arthurian island. The apple to me is a mythical fruit, something that has so many variations and much diversity that it is hard to do justice to the overall beast, just as many myths remain larger than narrative. Yes, myths are larger than life, but they sometimes escape their own narrative, their own discourse, and become larger than that themselves: for instance, the ways in which we take and glorify the Founding Fathers, who were, for the most part part of a large and myriad group of actors that helped establish this country and specific ideals. They have in many ways transcended their original lives, being featured on Rushmore, but even so, their character and ethos becomes qualities that are beyond even the narrative in which they are a part, that being the founding of this country.
Keeping with the Arthurian legend, we can see similar aspects in terms of how myth operates and how we augment the overall figure with new narratives and interpretations. For instance, the NBC TV series Merlin, which was a reinterpretation of Arthurian legend, is a great play off the old more classic storyline. Part of this diversity is that the myth is not limited to one specific narrative or interpretation, but similarly, there is a movement in the consumption patterns of our neo-liberal society in which we drive forward for new, yet familiar stories, ones which can entertain and provide escapism. The escapism of a story is similar to that of many other aesthetic and epicurean delights, and so thus it fits that the cocktail falls into the same group.
With the color of a cider, the drink takes three different apple components, augments them with some accents providing sweetness, freshness and a tart component on the tongue. By no means perfect, the drink is satisfactory and I enjoy the rather complex taste, should you ruminate over it. Using either still or sparkling cider is an excellent choice, but make sure to go for something with a bit of backbone: if you go for a still cider, which is more American, you will have drier, more robust notes, while if you go with an English cider, choose a sparkling demi-sec which assists with tartness. Depending on the cider, you get a completely different flavor, and emphasize different aspects of the fruit.
1 1/2 ounces Calvados
1/2 ounce Berentzen apple liqueur
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce yellow Chartreuse
5 mint leaves
Cider to top up.
Shake all the ingredients but the cider with ice in a shaker tin. Double strain into a cocktail glass, top up with about one ounce of cider, and garnish with a mint leaf.