Park Avenue – Recipe below from David Embury ‘The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks
1 part Italian Vermouth
2 parts Pineapple Juice
4 parts Gin
2 dashes Curacao to each drink
Shake with cracked ice.
The pineapple is a funny old fruit, it’s thought to have originated in Brazil. The Spanish ‘discovered’ it along with west India and bought it back to Europe where it was an instant hit. The wealthy soon started growing them in hothouses called pineries and they became a symbol of wealth due to the huge expense of either transporting them from the new world or building and staffing a huge novelty pinery. When ships officers returned from long voyages abroad they would bring pineapples and ceremoniously impale one upside down on the gate posts outside there house, symbolising they were home again, and wealthy after a bounty filled trip round the globe. Later architects stylised these and we see them on plinths outside homes still today.
Dole and Del Monte took this super fruit to Hawaii in the early 1900’s and despite wavering like the rest of the world in a prohibition flavoured great depression they were soon making a fortune exporting canned fruit and juice to the world from the 1930’s onwards.
Drinks with pineapple are a rare occurrence prior to the 30’s. we see a Pineapple Julep and punch in Jerry Thomas, but that’s it, it’s an aggressive marketing campaign by the man from Del Monte in the 30’s which see’s the advent of Tiki bars and pineapple enter the mainstream as a cocktail ingredient.
The Park Avenue is a late starter, it pops up in the 40’s long after Trader Vic and Donn the Beachcomber were trading barbs over drink ownership on the west coast, I’d like to think if there were similar problems on the east coast cooler temperatures invoked cooler tempers.
The drink is good, if not great. The Jack in the Box from a couple of days earlier has a hell of a lot more depth and intrigue going on, the fruit flavours from the applejack pair beautifully with the pineapple, in the Park Avenue the juice seems to be doing all of the heavy lifting, and although the gin cuts through it, they get on just like Donn and Vic. This drink may work better with a gin which isn’t quite so juniper forward, like pink pepper, but when there’s applejack out there, why bother.