Articles Tagged: aviation


Gin News [October 11th, 2013]

What’s New?

In a ridiculous case of possibly the most unfortunate timing in the world for a gin writer, I had dinner at Washington D.C.’s Founding Farmer’s restaurant on Sunday night. And just four days later, they launch their own gin, distilled at the Copper Fox Distillery in Virginia.  Available at the restaurant after October 22nd. North Carolina’s outstanding Cardinal Gin joined the Barrel Aging fray with their recently released Cardinal Barrel Rested Gin. If you’re fortunate enough to be located in the Carolinas, check it out and let me know how it is. Recently reviewed Ungava Gin has gone international, now available in 55 countries. And c’mon UK folks. You know you’re thinking holiday season already, and you know what that means? Master of Malt’s annual collaboration with The Gin Blog’s Ginvent Calendar. None of the spirits are new, but the calendar is. And it’s a great way to get to know 24 gins, some old favorites, some new.

Who Else is talking about gin?

Gin is no longer stuffy, uptight and old seeming, who would have thought? The telepgraph chronicles gin’s ascension from being “as cool as granny’s sherry*” to the choice of the “adventurous drinker.

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Cocktail School Lesson 1: The Aviation

aviation with bottles

School is in.

Firstly, the Philosophy of it all.

There’s only a few kind of cocktails just as there’s only a few kinds of sauces in the world. Creme Anglaise, Bavarian Cream, Ice Cream are all essentially different end results of the same few ingredients (eggs, sugar and cream). The same thing for cocktails. For example, if you have Creme De Violette, Gin, Citrus Fruit and Maraschino you have all the ingredients necessary to cast an Aviation. But what happens when you start mixing and matching?

For the first lesson we’re going to take a look at one of my favorite cocktails, the Aviation. We’re going to look at four different ways this cocktail has been executed and modified to help you master the drink inside and outside.

Cocktail 1.1 // The Aviation (1917)

{"@context":"http:\/\/\/","@type":"Recipe","name":"The Aviation","author":{"@type":"Person","name":"Aaron"},"datePublished":"2013-08-31 13:28:48","image":"http:\/\/\/wp-content\/uploads\/2013\/08\/aviation-with-bottles-2.jpg","description":"Hotel bartender Hugo Ensslin is credited with the variation on the gin sour that we know as the Aviation. The tome that it appeared in: \"Recipes for Mixed Drinks\" was among the last major cocktail recipe guides published before prohibition.The recipe entailed therein endured a long period for which one of the primary flavoring ingredients: Creme De Violette was unavailable, perhaps in part due to a typo by Harry Craddock in his 1930 cocktail book.

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Gin Reviews

No. 0 [Number Zero] Gin


I’ve been talking about Spain as the “other frontier” of the contemporary gin movement [the United States  being the primary one]. If you’ve been staying tuned in to us, you’ve seen a couple reviews of gins from Spain in the last month. And a couples things have become clear. The Spanish distillers love experimentation and are not afraid to use something completely novel. And these gins are custom made for Gin Tonica.

With the focus seemingly on making this one drink [and making it well] gin distillers have set their sights on making a great gin which compliments tonic water [that will explain at least one of the unusual botanicals in No. 0]. But this bottle doesn’t stop there. It aims to provide “premium” gin at a lower price point than other brands. I’d say this is one trend that is very present in discussion of Spanish gins which I’d posit isn’t even a trend in the American market. Most “premium” or ‘craft gins’ come in at around $30. Number Zero’s point of difference isn’t just flavor, but that at 17 Euros [$22] it’s cheaper than many other similar offerings out there.

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Which Gin works best in Which Cocktail [re-version, July 2012]

A few years ago (and with a much more limited scope of gin experience!) I took a first shot at trying to figure out which gins worked best in a series of classic gin cocktails. Since that initial attempt, I have tried more gins than I can even attempt to count, and I’ve been waiting for the chance to revise my initial list and offer a more nuanced take on how gin works in each of these cocktails.

These cocktails have become my “canon” for reviewing a gin. They’re the old-standbys, the familiar friends whose ingredients I always have in stock. They’re the cocktails that you can go into any bar with its salt and order (perhaps the lone exception in my cabinet may be the “Last Word,” but I digress. The cocktails in the Gin Cocktail Canon are: The Gin and Tonic, Tom Collins, Gimlet,  Negroni, Aviation, Martini and The Last Word. All are fine cocktails and all worthy uses of your gin. But with so many new contemporary gins out there and bold experiments on the classic London Dry out there, it is no longer safe to assume that all gins are created equal.

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Creme De Violette alternatives

Though Creme de Violette was not available on the market for the better part of the last hundred years, violet liqueurs are back in demand and there are a few options out there that get thrown around. Briefly, here’s an overview of the options out there, their flavors, their proofs and their availability.

Creme Yvette

28% / 56 proof. Liqueur. Tastes thicker and more herbal. Though it tastes strongly of violet, there’s a nutty herbal nuance, strong notes of vanilla. The violet tastes complex, as if it may not be strictly violet as much as an array of flowers.

Cost: ~$50 / 750 mL



Rothman and Winter

20% / 40 proof. This is the one that I primarily use in mixing drinks. Tastes thinner, it is a one note liqueur though. Strong violet note, sweet and almost cloying on its own. A huge reason why it can be preferable is that it is significantly cheaper than Creme Yvette, and every bit as good.

Cost: ~$22 / 750 mL



Parfait Amour

Although the color is right on and one of the botanicals in this liqueur is violet, Parfait D’Amour is not an acceptable substitute for the two listed above.

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Variations on the Aviation: Moonlight Cocktail

Maybe I was a bit harsh on Gary Regan’s Aviation without Creme De Violette. But here is my favorite variation, and a cocktail that I actually like better than the Aviation in general.

The cocktail recipe comes from a Gary Regan piece in the San Francisco Gate.

1.5 oz gin .5 oz. Cointreau .5 oz.Creme De Violette .5 oz. Fresh squeeze lime juice

This is an exquisite cocktail. The lime is sharper than lemon and I think a more complimentary flavor with gin in the first place. The Cointreau provides a more focused counterpoint. Where I think the cherry flavor of Maraschino is buried in an array of complex flavors, the Cointreau is cleanly and clearly orange. The large quantity of Creme De Violette (and slightly smaller quantity of gin) accentuates the flavors mixed into this drink. A sharp juniper forward gin I think is the best compliment to these ingredients. Shake briskly with ice to really blend the flavors together.

Sometimes I don’t know how to express it. Something is going on here: something delicious, something fantastic. I highly recommend this cocktail.

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Aviation Cocktail w/ Spring 44 Gin

2 oz. gin 1/2 oz. Maraschino 1/2 oz. Lemon Juice 1/4 oz. Creme De Violette

Stir, serve straight up in a martini glass.

On this Cocktail: It deviates a bit from my “preferred” Aviation, but let me talk through this one for a second. Spring 44 Gin is a nice balancing point between New American and London Dry style. Enough Juniper and hints of floral notes.  I added more Maraschino in this case, hoping to balance the floral notes in the gin. I also didn’t shake it, because it let the Creme de Violette fade a bit more into the background.

Overall, this is a more martini-like version. Warm, you pick up some different notes than you do when shaken with ice. All in all, a rather nice cocktail and a satisfying variation for one who wants a drink that’s a bit more neat.

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Cocktails by Consensus: The Aviation

Oh Gosh!NY TimesGary Regan'sSavoy Stomp Gin2 shots2 oz. 2 oz.1.5 oz. Lemon Juice1/2 shot1/2 oz.1/2 oz.3/4 oz. Maraschino1/3 shot2 teaspoons (preferably Luxardo)1/2 oz1/2 teaspoon Creme De Violette1/6 shot1/4 oz1/2 teaspoon Simple Syrup1/2 teaspoon (rich simple syrup) Other InstructionsShake well with ice and fine strain in to a cocktail glass. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry.Combine the first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake to chill well, then strain into a cocktail glass. Drizzle the Crème de Violette into the glass and garnish with a lemon twist.Lemon TwistShake well and strain into cocktail glass. (Garnish with cherry.)

The first thing to address when discussing the Aviation is Creme de Violette’s absence from the market. This led to the creation of an Aviation variation that lacked the floral notes and balance that the Violet brings to the cocktail. Gary Regan’s variation is an admirable try, but it doesn’t come close to the cocktail as originally envisioned.

Tasting Notes: Regan’s variation is rather strong. The lemon is a bit overpowering, and its a difficult to balance cocktail. The Maraschino adds a perceived strength to the cocktail. Although a Liqueur and only 32% alcohol- it tastes stronger than its proof.

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Aviation Week!

Its the holidays. Perhaps you were expecting a holiday gift guide, or maybe the construction of some elaborate gin themed holiday staple (like a gin tree? like a gin-vent calendar?). I’m sorry to disappoint, but instead- bare with me here. I thought, let’s take a look at one of the most fabulous cocktails in the gin lover’s repertoire: the Aviation cocktail.

The Aviation is a fantastic cocktail for a few reasons. One, although its a gin drink, the violet + lemon combination is such a far cry from the bitterness of Gin and Tonic, that often times people are surprised to know its a gin cocktail. Its a great entry point to gin. Secondly, its a strong cocktail. The stereotype of gently colored drinks is that they’re “easy,” “gentle,” or otherwise fauxtinis. I assure you, this is none of those things. It is a definitively boozy cocktail. Third, I think its a great way to showcase some of the key characteristics of New Western/New American Gins. The floral notes of gins like Aviation, Seneca Drums  or any of the G’vine gins are highlighted in this cocktail like none other.

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Negroni Week: Cocktailing by Consensus (Revised, August 2011)

Aaron’s Note: Please excuse this re-post. This isn’t something we normally do around here, but seeing as how this week we’re covering the Negroni cocktail in depth, I felt it worthwhile to re-post this blog post I did earlier this year on the delicious and stimulating cocktail (with a few new editorial comments) Cheers!

Generally the Negroni is considered a “pre-dinner” drink. The bitters, often Campari is designed to stimulate the appetite before a meal. Apertifs and Digestifs in particular are more common in Italian culture; therefore the reputed origin of the Negroni- say Florence, Italy, somewhere around 1919?

Regardless of origin, this drink is classic; however uncommon it may be. In its most general form a Negroni consists of gin (surprise, surprise!), sweet red vermouth, and a bitters/campari. Though in theory an alternative like Cynar could be used, most cocktailians seem to agree that this is a drink for Campari. Though other variations exist, I don’t know if I would call them a true Negroni.

  Source #1 Source #2 Source #3 Source #4 Gin 1 part 1 oz. 1 oz. 1.5 oz. Vemouth 1 part 3/4 oz. 1 oz.

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