3 Classic Aviation Cocktail Recipes and Ingredients

The Aviation is said to have been invented by Hugo Ensslin, a head bartender in a New York Hotel during the early 1900s. The recipe was published in 1916 in his book Recipes for Mixed Drinks, so we will start with his original recipe.

The Aviation Ingredients

Aviation Cocktail

  • 1 ½ oz El Bart Gin

  • ¾ oz Lemon Juice

  • 2 dashes Maraschino Liqueur

  • 2 Dashes Crème de Violette

Serve in a cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.

Crème de Violette is a violet liqueur which gave these original cocktails a pale purple color.

In the influential Savoy Cocktail Book published in 1930 and written by Harry Craddock, the Crème de Violette was left out due to it becoming quite challenging to find. That recipe was followed by many barmen.

Harry Craddock Aviation Ingredients

Aviation Cocktail

  • 2 parts Dry Gin

  • 1-part Lemon Juice

  • 2 dashes Maraschino Liqueur

Moreover, it is still the IBA official recipe for an Aviation cocktail although the ratios are a little different.

IBA Aviation Cocktail Ingredients

Aviation Cocktail

  • 45ml Gin

  • 15ml Lemon Juice

  • 15ml Maraschino Liqueur

 

As you can see this is pretty much the same recipe without the Crème de Violette. The Aviation took a back seat in the world of cocktails due to this and became almost forgotten until the reappearance of Crème de Violette on the American Market about ten years ago.

The original Aviation has now come back into fashion with its trademark blue/purple color and its floral citrus flavors. It is one cocktail that seems to have stood the test of time with its apparent refusal to be altered in any way, going almost dormant until the re-emergence of its one vital ingredient.

The seemingly only other variation of this cocktail we could find, this time substitutes the Crème de Violette for Crème Yvette, which at first glance seems very similar and is often sold as a very similar product. Once you open the bottle and pour it, you can soon see an immediate difference as the Crème Yvette is a much redder color than the Crème de Violette. One taste will also tell you that they are not at all similar.

Crème Yvette is made with berries, and some makes also have added spices as well as the precious violet ingredient, meaning that it gives the aviation a much more mixed berry flavor which finally ends with the violet taste. If you use Crème Yvette in your Aviation cocktail, you will not only find that it has a redder than purple color, but it also tastes different from what the original recipe intended, which you may find an improvement. Mixed drinks are a matter of personal taste, after all.

This drink is the one you will either like or not as it has very little to change in the ingredients without it becoming a different drink. Give it a try with your friends and make your minds up as everyone has a favorite drink and all tastes are unique so it could lead to an interesting discussion.

Want to learn more about cocktails?

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