On the Rocks Aviation

On the Rocks product line of shelf-stable pre-bottled cocktails includes several that you won’t find in anyone else’s portfolio. For gin drinkers, the most interesting is the Aviation.

The Aviation has an interesting and embattled relationship with the gin community. Nearly a decade ago, ordering an Aviation at a bar was the equivalent of a bartender’s handshake– kind of like a shot of Fernet may be still today.

Now it has fallen in esteem.

The Aviation is no longer a cocktail for those in the know– it’s part of mainstream cocktail culture. Hence, On the Rocks decision might be a way for fans of the drink to take the Aviation back. You neither need embarrass yourself by ordering a d√©class√© cocktails and experience judgement in public. Nor do you need to buy a $40 bottle of Maraschino, a $30 bottle of Creme de Violette (to say nothing of lemons and gin) to re-create the cocktail yourself…

Tasting Notes

Pleasant floral nose with a lot of prepared citrus. There’s subtle notes of citric acid, lemon juice from concentrate and rose’s lime juice here that kind of take away from the lightness one would expect from an Aviation. The floral notes are a bit more fruit-forward, leaving impressions of tropical fruit punch and Starbucks Hibiscus summer coolers more than it does violets.

On the palate, gin is present but quiet. The choice of Lario’s might have been one borne out of practical concerns. It’s a fine, but not outstanding gin. A bit too citrus-forward and one note for my liking. But overall it doesn’t stand up enough to overpower the (unfortunate) taste of room temperature shelf-stable citrus.

The 20% ABV bottle strength was a nice choice. It does have a boozy presence, and should be treated like a cocktail when poured.

Overall, On the Rocks Aviation

I’m a bit disappointed. I know there’s a lot that goes into product development– I question the choices that went into the citrus. The lemon doesn’t taste vibrant nor authentic.

Secondly, I question the gin choice. There’s just not a strong enough juniper note, nor enough depth of flavor coming from the gin.

Overall, I’m a bit disappointed. It does not taste a lot like an Aviation made at the bar or at home. Nor does it work as a floral cocktail in its own right.

It’s an acceptable pre-bottled cocktail, but I don’t get much gin and I don’t really feel like it tastes like an Aviation.

1 thought on “On the Rocks Aviation”


  1. have to totally agree. When I first tried this line of cocktails, it was the cosmo. that one is passable and really because I no longer make those types of drinks, it is nice to have as an old stand by for nostalgia. I have had some of the best concocted cosmos in America.

    I picked four of these from the OTR line and the cosmo is like I know what to expect. It is not suppsoed to be “complex” nd really not supposed to hit a note of anything other than some pretty simple components. OTR does them very well. I have two on standby.

    Aviation, well . . . nothing will compare to a truly thought out Aviation made with the best ingredients one can afford. Now, I ‘ve had them with the best of violette liqueurs, as well as with Parfait Amour. This bottled version hits neither note. And I might say compared to the Cosmo they are practically twins, except that the ingredients are listed with different ingredients. The tasting notes come out the same: citrus, well tempered spirits, a sweetener, and something else like either triple sec or similar. Now, mind you, if someone sent me this as a gift, I would have it. If someone poured it for me in a lounge or restaurant and charged me $15 for it, well . . . . The Aviation is gorgeous (I mean, a real home made or bar made one). The violette is, in my opinion, something priceless and precious and beautiful and distinct. This rendition of a drink that says it has notes of violet is, well, missing the mark. I know, I know . . . if you are that picky, make one. Ok, I am going to, from now on.

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