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Aviation Cocktail

This Aviation Cocktail is a gin-based drink that gets its color from crème de violette liqueur. It’s an elegant sip that hearkens back to the early days of luxury flight.

I love colorful food and with its lavender hue this easy gin cocktail is right up my alley. The key ingredient is crème de violette liqueur, which gives the cocktail a gorgeous color reminiscent of lilac flowers. This easy cocktail is shaken and served straight up.

Why is it Called an Aviation Cocktail?

Sometimes also called an “Aviator” cocktail, the name of this drink is a nod to early pilots who flew planes amid twilight skies colored with shades of blue and purple. At that time air travel was something glamorous reserved for the wealthy, so naming this drink after the concept of flight lent it an air of luxury. The drink was invented in 1916 by a bartender named Hugo Ensslin while he was working at New York City’s Hotel Wallick.

What is Crème de Violette?

Crème de violette is a brandy-based liqueur that gets its color from smashed violet flowers. It originated in 1800s Europe but disappeared after the 1920s prohibition era. In 2007 a man named Eric Seed, who earned his living by seeking out obscure kinds of alcohol and importing them, brought it back. The Aviation Cocktail surged in popularity soon afterward! These days you can find crème de violette in many liqour stores.

Purple Aviation cocktail in a glass topped with a cherry

What Does this Drink Taste Like?

This cocktail tastes similar to a gin sour with a floral punch thanks to the crème de violette. The maraschino liqueur does balance the sourness a bit, but at its essence, this is a sour cocktail.

How to Make an Aviation Cocktail

Making this drink is easy! Just add all the ingredients to a shaker with ice, give it a good shake, then strain it into a cocktail glass. An Aviation is served straight up without ice.

What does straight up mean?

Straight up means that the drink is shaken or stirred with ice, then strained into a glass and served without the ice. Many classic cocktails – like the Martini – are served straight up.

The Original Recipe

This cocktail has changed a bit since it was invented by Hugo Ensslin, but here is his original recipe according to Taste Cocktails if you want to give it a whirl:

  • 1/3 lemon juice
  • 2/3 El Bart Gin
  • 2 dashes Maraschino
  • 2 dashes crème de violette
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Aviation Cocktail

Purple Aviation cocktail in a glass topped with a cherry
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This Aviation Cocktail is a gin-based drink that gets its color from crème de violette liqueur. It’s an elegant sip that hearkens back to the early days of luxury flight.

  • Author: Rustic Family Recipes
  • Prep Time: 4 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cocktail
  • Category: Cocktails
  • Method: Shaker
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz Maraschino liqueur
  • 1/4 oz creme de violette liqueur
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
  • Garnish: Brandied cherry

Instructions

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add all the ingredients except the brandied cherry, cover with the shaker lid and then shake vigorously for about 20 seconds, until the drink is well chilled.

Strain the drink into a cocktail glass and garnish with a brandied cherry.

Keywords: aviation cocktail, aviator cocktail, gin cocktail

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