aviation cocktailLast night I wandered into one of my favorite local cocktail spots and ordered an Aviation, that tasty, well-balanced drink with gin, maraschino and fresh lemon juice.  A few minutes later, when a nearly purple cocktail was placed in front of me, I assumed there had been some mistake.  But when your bartender quotes Gary Regan as to the authenticity of your purple Aviation, it’s hard to argue.

It seems the original Aviation included the little used and hard to find liqueur, Creme de Violette.  Gary Regan notes that a 1916 recipe called for two parts gin, one part lemon juice and a couple dashes each of maraschino and Creme de Violette, which “makes for a very sour drink indeed.”  Instead, Regan proposes using three parts gin and one part each of the liqueurs and the lemon juice.

While I still love the Aviation sans Violette, or with a more moderate proportion of the liqueur, this new-to-me concoction is quite good.  Plus, it gives the drink a nice purplish hue.

The Aviation

1 1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur
1/4 ounce Creme de Violette
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

Shake with ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

If you like the Aviation, try the similar and easy drinking Moonlight Cocktail.

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  • Yablo says:

    2 oz. Martin Miller Westbourne Strength Gin
    1/2 oz. Lemon juice
    1/2 oz. Luxardo Maraschino
    1/4 oz. Creme de Violette

  • Chris says:

    As a fan of the Aviation, I have tinkered with quantities and have found that the following is the most appropriate recipe. Having served it with this recipe the guests have responded with universal delight.

    2 oz gin (Plymouth preferably)
    .75 fresh lemon juice
    .5 Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
    Barspoon Creme de Violette
    Flamed lemon peel as garnish

  • jonny o says:

    2 gin, 1/2 lemon, 1/2 maraschino, dash violette does the trick for me. a votre sante!

  • MuddyBayou says:


    Well, if that’s what a French whore tastes like, maybe they are on to something…

    Seriously though, I’ve shaken up a few of these at home, and I have to say that the Creme de Violette adds much depth to the cocktail if combined with some reservation. Too much will give th cocktail overly floral and sweet overtones. I much prefer it at 1.5 to 2 oz. gin and the requisite quantities mentioned above. Maybe a little less Violette, depending upon your tastes…

  • Kevin says:

    Yeah, the .5oz of Violette is pretty intense; I wanted to show Regan’s recipe as is, but I prefer it with closer to a teaspoon, which still gives it some flavor and a grayish-purple hue.

    It’s interesting to search around for Aviation recipes, and note that nearly all recipes prior to 2007, when Rothman & Winter’s Creme de Violette became available in the U.S., exclude the liqueur.

  • Marshall says:

    Two points on the Aviation from my perspective.

    First, it isn’t an Aviation without the Violette. My understanding is once Violette was no longer an available product, recipe book editors/authors simply deleted it from the recipe. Very similar to how rye was replaced with blended Canadian Whiskey or bourbon.

    Second, be careful with the amount of Violette. While Gaz’s recipe is less sour than the 1916 recipe, .5oz of Violette may be too much for most people. It is for me. I like the coloring aspect with a slight flavor nuance rather than a cocktail that tastes like a French whore. 🙂


  • sonhui says:

    From a woman’s perspective, I prefer the one with the violette. It’s slightly sweeter and pretty.

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