>Mixing the Museum – The Aviation

>While surfing the World Wide Web doing my research for the next installment of Mixing the Museum, it quickly becomes clear to me that everyone except for me has mixed, drank, reviewed, and written up the Aviation.  Basically, The Aviation has been put to bed.  However, I will not let this thwart my determination to become a better booze aficionado.  I will stand by my commitment to mix every drink in MOTAC and Mr. Hess and Ms. Miller say that The Aviation is next.  So onward we go….

The Aviation cocktail first appeared in print in 1916 in the book “Recipes for Mixed Drinks,” authored by Mr. Hugo Ensslin, the bartender at the Wallick Hotel in Times Square, New York.  It is unknown whether Mr. Ensslin created the cocktail or merely was the first to record its ingredients allowing others to re-create this drink.  In fact David Wondrich, cocktail historian extraordinaire has found a 1911 reference to The Aviation cocktail (though no recipe was included with the mention).  Mr Ensslin’s original recipe called for gin, lemon juice, maraschino, and creme de violette, a floral violet liqueur.  The recipe next appeared in print in the classic 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book.  However, between 1916 and 1930, the Creme de Violette dropped from the recipe. 


For this exercise I wanted to mix the cocktail from MOTAC, but also Mr Ensslin’s version with the Creme de Violette.  But first a word about Violet liqueur….

Creme de Violette appeared in several pre-prohibition cocktail classics, but fell out of favor post-prohibition.  Perhaps, the violet, floral notes of the liqueur were thought to be old-fashioned and really, who wants to equate hugging your grandma with drinking a tasty cocktail.  Unless, of course, your grandma doesn’t wear flowery perfume and can drink you under the table.  No matter, in 2008, Rothman and Winter resurrected Creme de Violette.  The liqueur is “produced from a careful maceration of Queen Charlotte and March Violets in “Weinbrand” (this distilled from grapes), with cane sugar added for sweetness.”  And it is a beautiful color.  

Let’s mix The Aviation (x2) and toast to Grandmas everywhere.

The Aviation (MOTAC)
2 oz. Plymouth Gin
0.5 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
0.25 oz. lemon juice

Shake with ice – strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with a cherry.

In searching for a recipe using the Creme de Violette, I came upon Stevi Deter’s post where she mixed, with great success,  The Aviation using Magellan gin.  Perfect.  She suggests using Magellan in the violette version of The Aviation.  I’ll do it.

The ‘Blue’ Aviation
2 oz. Magellan Gin
0.5 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
0.25 oz. Rothman & Winter Creme de Violette
0.5 oz. lemon juice

Shake with ice – strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with a cherry.

I enjoyed both variations of this classic cocktail, but preferred the slight sweetness imparted by the Creme de Violette in The ‘Blue’ Aviation.  Besides, I’ve always been a sucker for the color blue and my Grandma.

Cheers, Grandma!

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One thought on “>Mixing the Museum – The Aviation

  1. […] Lynne Becker’s Libation Laboratory has the full story on the history of the Aviation cocktail here. Great job, […]

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