Stow those tray tables, fasten your seatbelts and get set to take off!

The Aviation Cocktail
The Aviation Cocktail

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 Violette – 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.

1 serving
  • 50 ml Gin
  • 15 ml Maraschino liqueur
  • 15 ml Creme de Violette
  • 15 ml Fresh lemon juice
  1. Pour the ingredients into an ice filled cocktail shaker and shake. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass.
  2. Garnish with a cherry or zest a lemon peel over the drink.

What Gin works best in an Aviation?

If you like the floral nature of the drink (and probably go  a little heavy on the Violette as a result), try the likes of Cotswolds Gin with its huge lavender and grapefruit top notes, or Brooklyn Gin that combines similar floral tones with a medley of citrus. Alternatively, pick gins that use cubeb as a botanical. The spice has a perfumed violet note that adds a complimentary depth to the drink. 

While many focus on the choice of gin, in our opinion it's the choice of Maraschino liqueur that will make the biggest difference to the cocktail. Compare the deeper earthier tones of Luxardo, vs more candied cherry tones or Maraska side by side and you'll see that pick one or the other makes for two radically different cocktails.

Top tips:

This is a cocktail that really suits being sipped as cold as it can be. Chilled glassware is essential. It's not one you can stir and get the same effect either. To get that instant lift off as soon as it comes to your lips, you need to have shaken it vigorously. 

Aviation Cocktail
Aviation Cocktail

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 Violette, 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

20ml Maraschino

15ml lemon juice

Shake well and into strain into a cocktail glass.

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Aviation Gin
Aviation Gin
Cotswolds Dry Gin
Cotswolds Dry Gin
The Bitter Truth Crème de Violette Liqueur
The Bitter Truth Crème de Violette Liqueur