Drink of the Week: Peach Soju Cocktail at Avalon Bar
Oh, Avalon Bar... home, sweet hole-in-the wall. Those of you familiar with this local dive already know at least two major details:
1. Contrary to what the kitschy, light bulb-lined arrow pointing down at the bar's entrance may lead you to believe, this is place is no disco.
2. This establishment doesn't serve hard liquor, so you can leave any hope of a vodka and Red Bull at the door.
Now, detail number two might be a bit of a drag for those looking to get trashed by 10 p.m., but it doesn't mean that a beer and wine bar can't serve up a decent mixed drink. Places like Avalon generally refrain from offering hard alcohol because the type of liquor license they hold prevents them from selling beverages over a certain percentage of alcohol by volume, but soju is a convenient way to circumvent this.
Soju technically counts as a hard liquor (ranging anywhere between 20-45% ABV), but the sale of varieties under 25% ABV in a mixed beverage is permitted in California bars that hold only a beer/wine license. This makes soju a popular alternative to other clear spirits such as vodka and gin in mixed drinks. Yeah, your cocktails aren't going to taste quite the same, but you're not going to punch someone in the face for serving you a bologna sandwich with Miracle Whip when there's no mayo... that is, unless you're a jerk.
Enter Avalon Bar's Peach Soju Cocktail. This drink is pretty self-explanatory, consisting of peach juice, soju, and a splash of Welch's grape juice to give it a little tang. The great thing about soju: Compared with other liquors in its price range, it has relatively little aftertaste. This subtlety makes it great for mixing with fruity beverages at a surprisingly high soju-to-juice ratio without compromising the cocktail's drinkability. The Peach Soju Cocktail is such an example, almost surprising in its smoothness and deceptive in its strength. I probably wouldn't have given a second thought to moderation if I hadn't caught myself giggling at a completely unfunny joke after the second drink. At $6 a glass, this cocktail is a pleasant change of pace if you're looking for something other than beer, wine, or sangria to sip on. Try a Soju and Tonic for a less-sweet beverage of equal deliciousness!
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Orange County dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.