The sophisticated and refreshing Aviation cocktail is a gin lover’s dream come true! And there’s a pretty sweet story behind how we came to learn about this drink from some of our dear friends. See, these particular friends are the kind of friends who are always hosting amazing, intimate parties where they make specialty cocktails for their guests. To say that we looked up to them and considered them our cocktail mentors would be an understatement.
We admired their ability to create complicated infused liquors and syrups and to use ingredients that most people had never heard of. We would take the time to watch them mix each drink and asked them a billion questions so we could try similar things at home.
Flash forward several months to our wedding (hooray!) when these dear friends gave us what could only be described as the perfect gift for us – a wonderful bottle of gin and a bottle of creme de violette with instructions on how to make an Aviation Cocktail! In order to complete the drink our friends so thoughtfully suggested, it meant that we would need to buy our first bottle of maraschino liquor, which we soon considered a staple for our home bar. We’ve now made countless aviation cocktails for our friends and it’s our pleasure to be able to share the recipe with you now. And just in case you aren’t sold yet, here are a few more reasons why we love an aviation cocktail.
Five Reasons to love an Aviation Cocktail:
- IT’S SO REFRESHING – Nobody can argue with that! It’s just one of those drinks that I crave on a warm summer day. Especially when you use a light tasting gin like St. George Botanivore, it just goes down way too easy.
- AN EXCUSE TO USE MARASCHINO LIQUEUR – I already mentioned how much we’ve come to love and use maraschino liqueur. But seriously, it’s a complicated liqueur that adds a subtle and very natural cherry flavor very much the opposite of the artificial, candy cherry flavor you might think of when you hear the word maraschino. And once you have a bottle of maraschino liqueur, it lasts forever and can be used in other classic cocktails like a Manhattan, a Hemingway Daiquiri, or Last Word. Luxardo is the brand we recommend and it’s super easy to find at any respectable bottle shop–check it out!
- AN EXCUSE TO USE CREME DE VIOLETTE – Creme de Violette is a violet flower liqueur that adds just a hint of a bright floral note and a little sweetness to the Aviation Cocktail. Creme de Violette adds a lovely soft purple color to the Aviation, which is unique and fun as well. A very little bit of Creme de Violette goes a long way so like maraschino liqueur, a bottle of Creme de Violette lasts quite a long time.
- MAKE IT AN AVIATION FIZZ – There’s a simple variation of the Aviation cocktail called an Aviation Fizz in which you add champagne. And I don’t know your thoughts, but I don’t think a little bubbly ever hurt anyone. Adding some fizz can make the drink seem even more celebratory! It’s also a convenient recipe that is great with and without champagne so you can offer your guests different drinks according to their preferences.
- EVERYONE LOVES IT – More than once we’ve had someone at our house and asked what kind of cocktail they wanted. “Anything except gin,” they’ll say. But we feel challenged to find a gin drink they like, so we go directly to the bar and make them an Aviation Cocktail. What happens next? They say something like this (which literally happened): “This is the best cocktail I’ve ever had in my entire life! What is it?” “An Aviation,” we’ll say. “Fantastic. So good. What’s in it?” “Gin. Congrats, you like like gin now.”
Please let us know what you think of this cocktail, and we’d love to hear of other great maraschino and Creme de Violette recipes if you have them to share. Enjoy!
- 2 oz gin (we recommend St. George Botanivore)
- ¼ oz maraschino liqueur
- ½ oz fresh lemon juice
- ¼ oz creme de violette
- lemon zest, for garnish
- Combine ingredients into a cocktail shaker and then fill with ice.
- Shake until well chilled.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
- Garnish with a lemon zest.