The last time I enjoyed an Aviation cocktail at BarX in Salt Lake City, I thought that this was something I had to try at home. Dedicated cocktailians are always searching for an excuse to try a new cocktail, and that was enough for me. This cocktail has been around for a while; there is a recipe for the Aviation in the Savoy Cocktail Book (1930). The Savoy is usually a good source of cocktail inspiration when you’re looking for a classic cocktail to experiment with, but the recipe for the Aviation didn’t ring true. I had always read that the Aviation’s name was due to the pale blue color delivered by the Crème de Violette, but the Savoy’s recipe didn’t have any Crème de Violette in it.
A little research on Wikipedia gave the reason: Crème de Violette was hard to find back in the late 1920’s, so the Savoy just left it out (follow the link for a more detailed history). Luckily we don’t have that problem today. The Aviation recipe was first published around 1916, so it’s probably older than your great grandmother and its centenary is rapidly approaching. As you sip your first Aviation, remember that it was named when aviation was something new and exciting, not a routine fact of life. So sip it, enjoy it, and never leave your wingman.
- 2 oz Gin (I used Plymouth)
- 1/2 oz Lemon juice
- 1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur
- 1/4 oz Crème de Violette
Combine ingredients in a shaker half full of cracked ice. Shake well for about a minute. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cocktail cherry and get ready to contemplate the wild, blue yonder.