The Aviation Cocktail is a real classic which is currently experiencing some kind of a renaissance. While the drink is another recipe from the highly recommendable “Recipes for Mixed Drinks” byHugo R. Ensslin, it was long forgotten due to the lack of Crème de Violette (it vanished from the US market in the 1960s).
Recently some spirit manufacturers reintroduced new versions of the Crème de Violette, so the Aviation drink can let you fly again. The drink is named after the color of the sky you’ll see when flying in a plane on an unclouded day. It has nothing to do with a suggestion for pilots before they enter the cockpit. Since this one comes along quite strongly, you really don’t want to sit in such a plane.
The taste of the aviation cocktail is definitely special. It somehow reminds me of a more crisp and floral version of the Last Word cocktail although it is really different in some main aspects. First, there is no Chartreuse in the drink but the combination of gin, maraschino and citrus juice shows some similarities. Second, the citrus sourness comes from lemon juice instead of the more tangy lime. And third, it has this twist of violet from the Crème de Violette. The last one really makes it unique and definitely one of my all-time-favorite cocktails. You really must give this one a try. Some people also state that this should be the only blue drink you should ever order in a bar. So get ready to take off and watch out for the skies.
Recipe from Hugo Ensslin (1916):
1/3 lemon juice (I suggest using 2-3 cl)
2/3 El Bart Gin (I suggest using 6 cl – the brand “El Bart” has vanished long ago, so feel free to replace it by a quality gin – I have used Aviation Gin which is a really nice one with subtle lavender tones and due to its name I simply had to choose this one for the cocktail)
2 dashes Maraschino
2 dashes Crème de Violette
Shake well in a mixing glass with cracked ice, strain and serve.
Garnish: none in the original recipe (a lot of people use a cherry in the drink. So have I.)