This classic cocktail has somehow managed to stay under the radar of most bars. (And somehow avoiding the distinction of becoming a “Grandpa” drink!)
THE AVIATION COCKTAIL
This drink does call for some specialty ingredients, but it’s just so delicious that I deem it “totally worth it.”
Traditionally, the Aviation is made with only a 1/2 ounce Maraschino liqueur and just a little bit of Crème de Violette, a violet liqueur– meaning you need bottles of each while using just a small amount.
But even at a bar spoon, Crème de Violette isn’t an insignificant ingredient! The deep blue color of that violet liqueur is enough to make the final drink a bright, crisp blue (or at least a purple cocktail) and provides the signature floral taste of the Aviation, which both really define this drink.
HOW TO MAKE AN AVIATION COCKTAIL[Link to video]
Rumor has it, the name actually comes from its color looking like the color of a clear, blue sky. As you may have noticed, that is not exactly the color you see in the drink above– even though the colored liqueurs still gives this drink a distinctive hue.
HISTORY OF THE AVIATION COCKTAIL
The cocktail history for this purple drink is less fuzzy than most; usually there are a lot of rumors and multiple origin stories surrounding classic cocktails this old.
But the undisputed tale of the Aviation cocktail is that it was created by Hugo Ensslin in 1913 and included in his book, Recipes for Mixed Drinks, in 1917.
AVIATION INGREDIENTS AND VARIATIONS
We’ve tried to make our own Crème de Violette in the past but simply couldn’t find the right, actual violet petals to use. Honestly, it’s just worth buying some of this delicious liqueur.
But settling for another dried flower we happened to had around the house, we’ve actually done this cocktail with Crème de Hibiscus instead. (Check out how we made it here!) It offers a pretty fascinating flavor in and of itself.
The result? Definitely a floral cocktail akin to the Aviation, though the floral flavors are admittedly not quite as strong as we’d hoped. The flavor profiles are similar enough between this and the original version, so I do recommend trying it out and comparing for yourself.
- The Moonlight cocktail: Replaces Maraschino liqueur with Cointreau and lemon juice with fresh lime juice
- Rob’s Witch’s Brew: Adds egg whites, jalapeño simple syrup, and black sea salt
HOW TO MAKE AN AVIATION COCKTAIL
But I digress… Today, Chris is making two versions of the classic Aviation cocktail: The classic cocktail recipe and a more modern twist on the original like Harry Craddock did in The Savoy Cocktail book from 1930. Make sure to watch the video above for both versions.
I’m excited to hear your thoughts on which of all these versions is your favorite, so leave a comment below. In Chris’ opinion, the modern one is more well-rounded because of the simple syrup. Do you agree?
Some say that you can make an Aviation without the Crème de Violette at all. And if you’re all out of floral liqueurs, go for it. But if you have the chance to make this original recipe with the Crème de Violette, I say it’s definitely worth a try. I mean, you have two delicious versions here!
So grab your cocktail glass, and make sure to leave us a comment to let us know what you think of this new spin on the classic gin cocktail.
- 1 1/2 oz London Dry Gin
- 1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur
- 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
- 1 barspoon Crème de Hibiscus (Traditionally, Crème de Violette)
- 1 each Brandied Cherry (For Garnish)
- Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for 10-15 seconds.
- Fine-strain into a chilled coupe glass.
- Garnish with a brandied cocktail cherry or lemon twist.