Aviation is a forgotten and reborn American classic.

It first graced the bar counters over a century ago, and while the exact origin and inventor remain elusive, the earliest documented Aviation recipe appears in Hugo Ensslin’s “Recipes for Mixed Drinks,” published in 1916.

In the early 20th century, the Aviation enjoyed a degree of renown among cocktail connoisseurs, although it was a specialty typically found only in bars with well-stocked assortments. This aspect hasn’t changed much over the years. Technically categorized as a gin sour, the Aviation includes two unique components not commonly found on every bar’s shelves: Maraschino and Crème de Violette. While Maraschino, a liquor derived from maraschino cherries, has maintained a consistent presence on the American market, Crème de Violette, a liqueur crafted from Parma violet petals, started fading from the American scene in the 1930s, vanishing entirely during the 1960s.

Crème de Violette brings not only its whimsical lavender hue to the cocktail but also a bright, floral violet aroma. Paired with the juniper-herbal notes of gin and the almond-bitter sweetness of Maraschino, it assembles a unique, elegant herb-floral bouquet within the cocktail. Efforts to recreate the Aviation without Crème de Violette may yield a pleasant drink, but it’s undeniably distinct from the original, resulting in the Aviation’s disappearance for a good part of the century.

However, the 21st century ushered in a renaissance of mixology. It breathed new life into classics, prioritizing pure, quality ingredients and resurrecting forgotten recipes. In 2007, Crème de Violette made its triumphant return to the American market, heralding the revival of the Aviation, which once again began garnering attention among cocktail enthusiasts.

These days, acquiring Maraschino and Crème de Violette isn’t the challenge it once was, with reputable liquor stores and online shopping at your disposal. It’s worth noting that the Aviation, being a balanced and delicate cocktail, necessitates top-notch ingredients, as none of its components should overpower the others. Opt for high-quality London dry gin, ensuring it meets your preferences. As for the lemon juice, only fresh-squeezed will suffice.

In essence, the choice of cocktail ingredients wields significant influence over the resulting flavor, a detail often overlooked by many. I’ll delve deeper into the influence of ingredient quality on cocktail taste in a separate discussion.

Now, for the recipe as per IBA standards.


-1.5 oz/45 ml of Gin
-0.5oz/15 ml of fresh lemon juice
-0.5oz/15 ml of Maraschino liqueur
-bar spoon of Crème de Violette


Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker over ice and shake gently. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass and enjoy.

Garnish – cherry.


Cocktail glass

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