Apple of My Eye
  • Apple of My Eye
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Reports are rolling in by the basketful: Washington, New York, Wisconsin, Michigan — all the big apple-producing states are enjoying a bumper crop this year. And San Diego can take a bite out of this good news at Café 21 where co-owner Leyla Javadov is making the fruit front-and-center in the Apple of My Eye.

Cafe 21

802 Fifth Avenue, Downtown San Diego

Cafe 21

2736 Adams Avenue, University Heights

Admitting she’s more chef than mixologist, Javadov created her cocktail menu with culinary flair.

“I always feel bored when I go into a bar because the people do easy things,” says the Azerbaijan native. “That is why I started thinking how I could make these cocktails more colorful, more seasonable.”

Leyla Javadov: “I always feel bored when I go into a bar."

Leyla Javadov: “I always feel bored when I go into a bar."

For this reason, as its name suggests, the Apple of My Eye seeks to tempt customers by its visual appeal.

“We put for garnish a baked apple and a small piece of honeycomb made in-house to give a toasty, interesting flavor to the drink,” she says. “The honeycomb we make with honey and baking powder. Then we are serving it in crystal stemware.”

A succulent bite of mellow fruitfulness, the Apple of My Eye is apple-forward to the core, Javadov says.

“After the apple shrub is ready, you are taking rum and putting it in that shrub,” she says. “Then you’re adding apple bitters. You don’t need to put any lemon or acid since the apple vinegar has its own acid.”

Relying on feedback from her customers, Javadov says that different customers behold the Apple of My Eye in different ways.

“Some say it’s cider-flavored and some people say they’re getting the ginger flavor with the apple,” she says. “And some say you can also get the caramel and toasted flavors.”

Apple of My Eye

  • 1.5 oz. apple shrub*
  • 2 dashes Baked Apple bitters
  • 2 oz. spiced rum
  • .5 oz. fresh lemon juice

In a cocktail shaker with ice, pour shrub, bitters, rum, and lemon juice. Shake, strain into crystal claret glass, and garnish with baked apple and cracked honeycomb candy for garnish.

  • *apple shrub
  • 4 apples
  • 1 cup of apple-cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Bake apples for 35 minutes at medium-low heat, set one aside for garnish, cut up and add other three to vinegar with sugar and cinnamon in bowl, cover and refrigerate for two weeks.

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