So named for its pale lavender hue, which is said to resemble the colour of the sky, the Aviation is a classic and delicious gin cocktail. This sour-style drink features gin, lemon juice, maraschino liqueur and crème de violette – a unique, violet flavoured liqueur. Together these ingredients create a drink which is floral, herbaceous and moreish.
Gin, Maraschino Liqueur, Crème de Violette, Lemon Juice.
*premium glassware pictured, event glassware may differ.
The Aviation is one of those gin classics that is revered by bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts the world over.
This drink makes the perfect inclusion on a classically styled, gin based menu, and is particularly suited to those who are serious about their cocktails. So If you want a touch of classical class in your mobile bar hire an Aviation may be the drink for you.
The defining ingredient in an Aviation is crème de violette, this lavender flavoured liqueur gives the drink its distinct, pale purple colour and its sweet, herbal taste. Many other classic gin drinks lean into the floral, botanical notes of the spirit and there are some fantastic cocktails similar to the aviation that you may like to serve alongside it.
We asked Sasa, the bar manager at TT Liquor what he would include on a menu designed around an Aviation. He had this to say:
“I’d say… A Last Word, or a Corpse Reviver No.2” (both classic, gin drinks, with herbaceous flavours, served in martini glasses) “A Last Word is my favourite cocktail and for me, it’s the perfect gin drink. If you like a well balanced mixture of sweetness, bitterness and a nice kick of gin, with the cherry coming through underneath. You can’t do better.”
A Last Word is a classic combination of gin, lime juice, maraschino liqueur and green Chartreuse, (a bitter, French, herbal liqueur) mixed in equal parts and often garnished with a maraschino cherry. Cocktails like Aviations and Last Words are certainly aimed at more experienced cocktail drinkers. The strange herbal combinations are loved by bartenders but might be a bit of an acquired taste to the more casual drinker.
If you want to include some more accessible gin drinks in your menu but stick with the classic theme you might want to include a Bramble or a Tom Collins: a classic mix of gin, lemon and sugar topped with soda water.
If you’re interested in creating a menu for your bar hire that includes the Aviation and want to know more about what drinks to serve alongside it make sure to speak to your event organiser about your options or check out some other gin based, classic and Martini-style cocktails from our list.
The Aviation is a cocktail first invented by Hugo Ennslin, the head bartender at Hotel Wallick in New York in the early 20th Century.
This is a slight variation of another cocktail called “Blue Moon” with the addition of Maraschino liqueur.
Myths & Legends
Named the aviation because of the colour given to the cocktail by the addition of crème De Violette.
The aviation was invented during the heyday of luxury air travel. Two recipes for the aviation exist, one that omits the addition of violet liqueur. That version is printed in Harry Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail book. One of the reasons for the omission could be how unavailable crème de violette was at the time. To clear up the confusion, here’s what we found in The Periodic Table of Cocktails;
‘For me, an Aviation without the violet isn’t quite right – there’s something missing, and the final drink doesn’t have the wonderful light-blue/purple colour you’d expect from a cocktail named after attempts to conquer the skies. To my mind, therefore, there is no question: violet must be added.’
- Emma Stokes
This cocktail dates all the way back to the early days of air travel and is named for the popularity and intrigue that surrounded the brave men and women partaking in this dangerous new hobby. Speaking on the Aviation’s signature ingredient; crème de violette, writer, Tristan Stephenson has this to say:
“Now this is not a flavour to lead off with – put too much crème de violette in any drink and all you’re likely to taste is sickly, grandmother’s potpourri, floral assault bomb. Use a couple of dashes like a seasoning, though, and you get a wonderful floral aromatic to accompany the other flavours in the drink, and that’s exactly how an Aviation works.”
- Tristan Stephenson, The Curious Bartender Volume 1: The Artistry and Alchemy of Creating the Perfect Cocktail, pp.72-73
Ingredients & Equipment
A really good London Dry is essential with the Aviation. Go for Beefeater for classic flavour or try something new like Cabby’s gin.
Crème de violette is the defining ingredient in an Aviation and can be hard to get hold of depending where in the world you are, Briottet is a fantastic liqueur brand who produce a well balanced, subtly flavoured violette. Violette can be substituted by crème de Yvette in a pinch, this liqueur is also flavoured with violet but has the addition of blackberry which makes it sweeter and darker in colour than violette.
- 40ml Gin
- 10ml Maraschino Liqueur
- 5ml crème de Violette
- 20ml Lemon Juice
- Lemon Twist to garnish
- Bar Spoon
- Hawthorne Strainer
- Fine Strainer
- Mexican Elbow
- Martini Glass
- Cubed Ice
- Chill your Martini glass in the freezer or fill it with ice
- Take your Boston glass or small tin
- Using your jigger to measure, add the gin to the shaker
- Using a bar spoon (5ml) to measure, add the maraschino and violette to your shaker
- Using your Mexican elbow and a jigger to measure, squeeze 20ml of lemon juice and it to your shaker
- Fill your shaker with cubed ice
- Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds or until your tin is very cold
- Remove your glass from the freezer or empty of ice if necessary
- Using your Hawthorne strainer and your fine strainer, double strain the cocktail into your chilled Martini glass
- Garnish with a thin, trimmed lemon twist
- Serve and enjoy!
For larger groups of six or more students, we offer the option to take things private. Our classes are fully portable, and we are able to set ourselves up efficiently and professionally in a wide variety of locations and settings across the capital, the UK, and beyond. You name the location, and we’ll endeavour to make it happen.
Give one of our dedicated event organisers a call on 020 8003 7982. They’ll happily talk you through your options, and answer any questions you may have about both our mobile and in-house cocktail making classes.