The Aviation cocktail is on the list of “IBA Official cocktails” and it’s really something special. The beautiful light blue color resembles the sky, and the flavor is not even close to what you expect it to be. Refreshing and fairly easy to make, as long as you have to correct ingredients. The unique combination is gin, maraschino liqueur, creme de Violette, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Shaken or stirred and strained into a chilled coupe glass. Oh and let’s not forget the garnish – a cherry as the last touch and it’s perfect.
The origin of this cocktail dates back to the early 20th century and a man by the name of Hugo Ensillin, who was the head bartender at “Hotel Wallick” in New York during that time. Ensillin published the first recipe for the Aviation cocktail in his 1916 book “Recipes for Mixed Drinks”. The recipe called for 1 ½ of El Bart gin, ¾ of an ounce of fresh lemon juice, 2 dashes of maraschino liqueur, and 2 dashes of creme de Violette.
Unfortunately, in the 1960s, the key ingredient (creme de Violette) vanished from the US market, which led to a downfall for the Aviation cocktail. People were still making it of course and Harry Craddock even included a Violette-less version of the Aviation cocktail in his 1930 “The Savoy Cocktail Book”, but if you want to experience the original cocktail, you definitely need to get your hands on that Violette liqueur.
50 years later, (in 2007) a Minneapolis importer by the name of Hauz Alpenz started importing Violette liqueur from Austria, which made it possible for the Aviation to ascend back in the sky.
Aviation cocktail ingredients:
- 1 ½ Ounce (45 ml) of gin (Aviation gin seems like an appropriate choice).
- ¼ of an Ounce (10 ml) of creme de Violette.
- ½ Ounce (15 ml) of Maraschino liqueur.
- ¾ of an Ounce (20 ml) of fresh lemon juice.
- Optional ingredient – half a teaspoon of sugar syrup. Not a part of the original recipe, but a pleasant addition.
- Brandied or Maraschino cherry for garnish.
Here is how We make it:
- Combine all ingredients into a shaker.
- Fill it with ice and shake well for about 30 seconds.
- Fine strain into a chilled coupe glass.
- Garnish with a cherry and enjoy.
You can also build the drink in a mixing glass. Just add all ingredients, fill with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into your chilled glass, garnish, and you’re done 🙂