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dry gin, lemon juice, maraschino liqueur and crème de violette

The Aviation was apparently created by obscure New York bartender Hugo Ensslin c. 1916. The drink seems to have enjoyed some interest in the 1930s–40s, and was enthusiastically embraced at the start of the Cocktail Renaissance, re-introducing maraschino liqueur and crème de violette to the cocktail bar.

The best known Aviation recipe is actually that from the popular Savoy Cocktail Book, which plagiarized Hugo Ensslin’s book (amongst others), but the recipe in the Savoy is not quite the original version (shown above). The drink is a daisy. The dry gin and lemon juice are straightforward enough. The tricky part of executing the drink is to get the right amount of sweetening out of the maraschino liqueur and crème de violette to balance the lemon juice, and the right amount of color from the crème de violette, without either liqueur overwhelming the drink. It all depends on the specific ingredients you’re trying to use, so iteration is probably inevitable. Here’s a starting place:


Shake with ice:

  • 1-1/2 oz dry gin
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz maraschino liqueur
  • 2 bar spoons (1 tsp) crème de violette

Strain into a cocktail glass

Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails, p. 47–8; barware icons courtesy of Haus Alpenz