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.
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 déclassé 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…
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.