The classic cocktail revival has brought with it several drinks from the dead. But this is one drink that couldn’t be brought back from the land of ghosts and smoke until Creme De Violette returned to the market. For this small mercy, the gin community thanks Rothmann and Winter.
The drink is a potent blend of gin, Creme De Violette, Maraschino, and lemon juice. Usually served martini style, shaken with ice and poured into a martini glass. The aviation’s beauty is its simplicity. A classic gin mixed with a couple strongly flavored liqueurs. It also has a wonderful purple/blue color if you use a clear gin. Though if beauty isn’t your goal, I’m going to make a couple of suggestions that will make you an ugly as sin, but delicious drink.
Recipe by Consensus
In this case, I’m not going to rattle off a bunch of recipes, but tell you from experimentation what I think the perfect aviation is.
2 shots of good gin (this drink is nearly all gin, so I wouldn’t advise cheaping out here)
1/3 shot of Maraschino (you could do less if you dislike the strong flavor of it, but I think it adds balance)
1/3 shot of Creme De Violette. (many might say this is too much, but if you want to actually taste the violet, I recommend going this much)
Juice of 1/4 lemon. (just squeeze the wedge in there)
Shake together with ice in a shaker, pour into a martini glass. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry (a real one) if desired.
In this recipe, I’m using more Creme De Violette than a lot of recipes call for. I don’t know if this is an issue of scarcity (it was rare until this past year) or an issue of taste, but I don’t think that the violet comes through strongly with any less. The lemon and maraschino can drown it out which defeats the whole purpose of seeking out this single-use 25 dollar bottle of liqueur.
As for the type of gin, you can’t go wrong with Miller’s, but if you’re looking for something to play up the floral notes, I have a couple of suggestions. Firstly though the gold tone of Gabriel Boudier’s Saffron Gin will leave you with an ugly muddy colored cocktail, the saffron and violet play off each other extremely well giving you an aromatic floral cocktail with a hint of spice. Hendrick’s gin’s rose notes also merge nicely with the violet. Because the rose (and cucumber) are less strong than the saffron, its a little more subtle, pleasant and smooth floral sweetness. And for the purists, Hendrick’s is clear, making for a more visually attractive cocktail.
Alternative recipes are abound, another one that I think is particularly good is here, and for those of you unable to obtain a bottle of Creme De Violette, this blog has a selection of Aviation recipes that do without it. Additionally, Sippity Sip has a good version of the Aviation that they made by combing through several recipes (kind of like I normally do).
Overall, the Aviation has come back into style and with it I think is helping make gin an “in” drink once again.