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Aviation Cocktail Recipe

The aviation cocktail is a classic vintage cocktail that has been around since the early 1900s. It’s made with gin, lemon juice, maraschino liqueur and a touch of crème de violette for a unique flavor. The combination of these ingredients gives it a light and refreshing taste that makes it perfect for summer months or special occasions.

A beautiful purple cocktail in a curved martini glass with cherries on a pick on the side of the glass - and a bubble glass also in the background

Classic cocktails are my favorite cocktails to drink. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with the classics. This cocktail is interesting because even though it has gin in it, it isn’t the star of the cocktail. The true star is the maraschino cherry liqueur. And, of course, the beautiful color and taste of the violette liqueur.

Flowery liqueurs like crème de Violette and (St. Germain) go well with gin. It’s because gin is made from juniper berries and other botanicals. So, these liqueurs are a natural addition to a cocktail like the aviation.

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Creme de violette has such a deep purple color that just making a cocktail with the liqueur guarantees it will be pretty.

The history of the aviation cocktail

Hugo Ensslin, from New York city, first published this beautiful cocktail in the 1916 Recipes for Mixed drink. It was later republished in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail book, by Harry Craddock.

The aviation was named because of the beautiful purple blue color, which reminded people of the sky.

This cocktail all but disappeared from people’s memories. The reason for this is that you couldn’t get Creme de Violette easily in the States. It wasn’t until 2007 that the Rothman & Winter liqueur was imported by Austria and bartenders started using the violet liqueur more frequently.

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Helpful
Tips
  • The way to pick a great lemon at the market is first to heft it in your hand. The heavier lemons have more juice than the lighter ones. The next thing is to sniff the skin, you should be able to smell the fruit. But I’ve noticed I can’t smell the lemon as easily as I could even a few years ago.
  • Always wash citrus before juicing it to get the pesticides off. Here are two different ways: 1.) Squirt some unscented, natural soap in your hand and rub the skin of the citrus between your palms. Next, take a brush to scrub the skin. Rinse under cold or cool water to get all the soap off.
  • 2.) I use a cloth that is rough on one side of it and smooth on the other. I use the rough side to scrub the skin of the vegetable or fruit and then rinse thoroughly under cold or cool water.
  • I use Bombay Sapphire gin in this cocktail but you can use whichever brand you prefer.
  • The garnish for this classy cocktail is maraschino cherries. Since these cherries come in a sweet syrup, always rinse off your cherries because if you don’t, it will add extra sweetness to the drink, which isn’t a good thing.
  • Crème of violette is made from violets which gives it such a beautiful hue. There are a few brands of this liqueur. I have the brand Rothman & Winter, but Dillard and Giffard are solid brands.
  • I usually chill my cocktail glasses. My favorite glasses are a chilled coupe or chilled martini glass. I don’t chill them when I photograph my recipes because it takes time to process the shots, so it doesn’t make sense.
Vertical view of the curved martini glass with cherries as garnish. There is a bubble glass in the background
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

How to make the aviation cocktail recipe

Pre-step

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Get a measuring glass and get two martini glasses.

For the garnish, rinse off 4 maraschino cherries, place two on each martini pick and set them aside.

After measuring each of the ingredients below, pour them into the shaker.

Step one

Gather the ingredients – gin, lemon, maraschino liqueur, and crème de violette.

Gin, lemon, creme de violette and maraschino liqueur on the black table

Step two

Measure 4 ounces gin.

Gin measured with the bottle, shaker and glasses on the table

Step three

Measure 1.5 ounces Luxardo maraschino liqueur.

maraschino liqueur measured with the bottle in the background along with the shaker and glasses

Step four

Measure .5 ounce of creme de violette.

Creme de violette measured with the bottle, shaker and glasses in the background

Step five

Measure 1.5 ounces lemon juice.

Fresh lemon juice measured with the shaker, garnish and glasses in the background

Step six

Place the lid on the shaker and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Strain, divide, and pour the liquid between the two glasses. Place the picks with the cherries on the side of the glasses or in the aviation cocktail recipe.

A bubble martini glass with the cocktail and cherries as garnish in front and the tall curved glass in back

And the vertical view. Look at that color!

Vertical view of the curved martini glass with cherries as garnish. There is a bubble glass in the background

I hope you enjoyed this aviation cocktail recipe. Give it a try, I think you’ll enjoy it.

Want to read more about gin? Read my guide here.

And may all your dishes/drinks be delish!

If you’ve tried this recipe, I’d love the know what you thought about it in the comments below. I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more of my delicious food and delightful cocktails!

Curved glass of the purple cocktail in front of the bubble glass with the cocktail - square

Aviation Cocktail Recipe

Gin goes perfectly with the flowery creme de violette and melds wonderfully with the sweetness of the maraschino liqueur and the sour of the lemon.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Cocktails
Cuisine: American
Keyword: aviation cocktail, aviation cocktail recipe, creme de violette cocktail, maraschino liqueur cocktail
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2 Cocktails
Calories: 233kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces gin
  • 1.5 ounces maraschino liqueur
  • .50 ounce creme de violette
  • 1.5 ounces lemon juice (freshly squeezed)

Garnish

Instructions

  • Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice and place 2 cherries on each martini pick,
    4 maraschino cherries
  • Add gin, maraschino liqueur, creme de violette and lemon juice to the cocktail shaker.
    4 ounces gin, 1.5 ounces maraschino liqueur, .50 ounce creme de violette, 1.5 ounces lemon juice
  • Cap the cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Strain, divide, and pour the liquid between the two glasses. Add cherry picks to the side of the glass.
  • Sip
  • Smile
  • Enjoy
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Notes

Helpful tips
    • The way to pick a great lemon at the market is first to heft it in your hand. The heavier lemons have more juice than the lighter ones. The next thing is to sniff the skin, you should be able to smell the fruit. But I’ve noticed I can’t smell the lemon as easily as I could even a few years ago.
    • Always wash citrus before juicing it to get the pesticides off. Here are two different ways: 1.) Squirt some unscented, natural soap in your hand and rub the skin of the citrus between your palms. Next, take a brush to scrub the skin. Rinse under cold or cool water to get all the soap off.
    • 2.) I use a cloth that is rough on one side of it and smooth on the other. I use the rough side to scrub the skin of the vegetable or fruit and then rinse thoroughly under cold or cool water.
    • I use Bombay Sapphire gin in this cocktail but you can use whichever brand you prefer.
    • The garnish for this classy cocktail is maraschino cherries. Since these cherries come in a sweet syrup, always rinse off your cherries because if you don’t, it will add extra sweetness to the drink, which isn’t a good thing.
    • Crème of violette is made from violets which gives it such a beautiful hue. There are a few brands of this liqueur. I have the brand Rothman & Winter, but Dillard and Giffard are solid brands.
    • I usually chill my cocktail glasses. My favorite glasses are a chilled coupe or chilled martini glass. I don’t chill them when I photograph my recipes because it takes time to process the shots, so it doesn’t make sense.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cocktail | Calories: 233kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 22mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin C: 8.3mg | Calcium: 5mg
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From lighting up stages with her BA in theater to food journalist, Elaine Benoit's journey is a testament to passion's transformative power. As the CEO of Dishes Delish, she offers a blend of healthy, comforting recipes and exquisitely crafted cocktails. Beyond the kitchen, Elaine voiced her culinary adventures on her podcast, "Dishing," and co-owns Food Blogger Help, extending her expertise to guide budding food bloggers to success. Whether it's for a heartwarming dish or insights into food blogging, Elaine's diverse experiences make her a beacon in the culinary digital landscape.

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10 Comments

  1. Wow, this includes some of my favorite flavors in a cocktail! Mmm I can’t wait to make this! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. What a cocktail! I love all the flavors in this one – especially the gin. This is a great drink to serve when you’re looking to impress guests.

  3. Really easy to make and it looks great in your photos! I hope I can get it to look like that =D Thanks for sharing!

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