The Aviation is a classic cocktail that has enough charm to convert vodka sluggers into gin quaffers in the time it takes to find your seat in a 747. The drink is lent a distinctive, slight sky-blue hue by the addition of an ever-elusive liqueur – Crème de Violet – and is best drunk on a beautiful spring day, when the colour of the sky matches that of the nectar in your glass.
Be warned, this is a strong drink, so please ensure that your seat backs are up, tray tables stowed, window blinds up and seatbelts are fastened for take off.
How to make an Aviation:
50ml Gin (GF recommends Avation Gin or Bombay Sapphire)
10ml Crème de Violette
15ml Maraschino liqueur
15ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pour the ingredients into an ice filled cocktail shaker and shake. Pour (if you’re an organized sort, you’ll be pouring into a chilled cocktail glass). Garnish with a cherry or a candied violet. (If you don’t have either of these – we also like a lemon zest instead)
An abridged, inebriated history:
The original Aviation cocktail was first published in Hugo R. Ensslin’s 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks and made great use of Alps produced liqueur Crème de Violet, the colour of which is alluded to in the drink’s very name.
Harry Craddock later printed the recipe in his 1930 publication, Savoy Cocktail Book. Harry’s recipe was a somewhat corrupt take on the drink, as he omitted the Crème de Violette – most likely due to its scarcity in Europe and America (the drink eventually disappeared from the American market altogether in the 1960s). The absence of the liqueur meant that for the next forty or so years the Aviation was served without one of its central (original) ingredients. In fact, it wasn’t until 2007 that it was brought back into the American market and even now cocktail connoisseurs debate over whether violet has any place in the drink.
We’ve included the original recipe below, but if you add another 10ml of Maraschino and remove the Crème de Violette you’ll have Craddock’s own, much sourer version.
The Savoy Cocktail Book recipe:
50ml Dry Gin
15ml lemon juice
Shake well and into strain into a cocktail glass.
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