aviation to use.jpg

A venerable classic ... in purple

As you may know if you’ve been reading these messages, I’m a sucker for the early 20th century classic cocktails. Drinks from the hard-drinking days –­ the aughts, teens, and twenties – when men were men, and women drank a lot, too. Or something like that … 
Anyway, some of the most enduring cocktails in the canon – think Martini, Manhattan, Sidecar – were devised in the formative years of cocktail culture. 
And here’s another one. 

The Aviation is ideal as we transition from spring into summer – gin-based and refreshing but still quite substantial. Invented in New York 1911, its uniqueness relies on the floral sweetness and blue-violet(!) color of crème de violette, and the bitter gut-punch of maraschino. 
This cocktail had more-or-less vanished because crème de violette wasn’t available in the US for decades, but it has come roaring back in recent years, and it’s time you tried one! I mean, it’s purple! How could you not?

  • 2 ounces gin
  • .5 ounce crème de violette
  • .25 ounce maraschino (Luxardo is the brand I have on the shelf.)
  • .25 ounce lemon juice
  • A brandied cherry – stem-on, please

Best to stir this one with ice to keep it clear. Stir for a long time to get it really, really cold and serve straight up. But you can go ahead and shake it if you’re in a hurry. 
A word about ingredients: Crème de violette is made from actual violet petals steeped in something alcoholic. It’s sweet and flowery, and expensive. But you won’t need much. I’ve had my bottle for over two years and it’s only half empty. Maraschino, as we have noted in previous months, is an Italian liqueur made from cherries, but it’s not sweet at all. In fact it’s hard and bitter. So a little goes a long way. My bottle of Luxardo is so old, I don’t even remember when I bought it. Larger liquor stores should carry both of these, so get a bottle of each and consider it a lifetime supply.