Aviation Cocktail

published Sep 24, 2022
Aviation Cocktail Recipe

This classic gin-based cocktail was created during the golden age of air travel.

Makes1 drink

Prep5 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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Photograph of Aviation Cocktail.
Credit: Maria Do

The aviation cocktail is a classic gin-based American cocktail that was created during the golden age of air travel in 1916. A refreshing mix of gin, lemon juice, maraschino liqueur, and crème de violette liqueur, this cocktail was often made without the crème de violette because Prohibition prevented it from being imported from Europe. To me, it’s a key element in this classic libation, though, adding a floral note and a touch of sweetness to the cocktail. Once you get your hands on some crème de violette, it’s easy to shake an aviation up at home yourself.

What Does an Aviation Cocktail Taste Like?

An aviation has the dry herbal notes of gin, bright citrus flavor from lemon juice, and sweetness and floral fun from maraschino cherry liqueur and crème de violette liqueur. It’s served straight-up, so make sure the cocktail is icy-cold and pour it into a cold glass so the drink stays cold longer.

What is Crème de Violette and What Does It Taste Like?

Crème de violette is a European liqueur flavored with violet flowers, which add floral flavors and the darker purple color. Rothman & Winter is a commonly found brand, although other brands like The Bitter Truth also produce it now.

Is Aviation Gin Good for Cocktails?

Aviation gin is a brand of American gin. American gins tend to have less juniper than London dry gins. Although the aviation was created with London dry gin, I’ve also made the cocktail with American gin and found the differences in flavor negligible. Just use what you have!

How to Make an Aviation Cocktail

  • Chill the glass. Because this drink is served straight-up, refrigerate or freeze the cocktail glass first, or fill it with ice and let it sit for a few minutes.
  • Measure out the ingredients. Fill a cocktail shaker with gin, lemon juice, maraschino liqueur, and crème de violette. I like a heavier dose of maraschino than violette for a more balanced drink.
  • Shake until ice cold. Fill the shaker with ice and shake until the outside of the shaker is nice and frosty.
  • Strain and garnish. Strain the drink into the glass and garnish with a lemon twist and maraschino cherry if desired.

Aviation Cocktail Recipe

This classic gin-based cocktail was created during the golden age of air travel.

Prep time 5 minutes

Makes 1 drink

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • Ice

  • 2 ounces

    gin, preferably London dry

  • 3/4 ounce

    freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1/2 medium lemon)

  • 1/2 ounce

    maraschino liqueur, such as Luxardo

  • 1/4 ounce

    crème de violette liqueur, such as Rothman & Winter

  • Lemon twist and brandied or maraschino cherry, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. FIll a 4-ounce cocktail coupe with ice, or place in the refrigerator or freezer to chill for at least 5 minutes.

  2. Place 2 ounces gin, 3/4 ounce lemon juice, 1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur, and 1/4 ounce crème de violette liqueur in a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice, seal, and shake until the outside of the shaker is very frosty, about 20 seconds.

  3. If the coupe has ice, dump the ice out. Pour the cocktail through a strainer into the chilled glass. If desired, garnish with a lemon twist and maraschino or brandied cherry skewered onto a toothpick.