Prep time5 minutes


Aviation while ReadingThe Aviation is experiencing a well-deserved resurgence in popularity at trendy bars, but it comes with a certain amount of controversy.

The oldest reported version, from around 1913, includes Creme de Violette, a sweet violet-colored liqueur made from violet petals. Other old versions do not include it, but it is not clear why not - are they actually older versions and the Creme de Violette a later addition?

Everyone agrees that the base cocktail in any event is gin (I particularly like NH's Karner Blue Gin and it's a wonderful showcase for an Old Tom gin) and lemon juice with maraschino. Many today leave it at that, and that is a fine cocktail. The truth is that the Creme de Violette can be hard to find, and the cocktail is tasty without it.

But if you can find the Creme de Violette (or the pricey French brand Creme Yvette), I urge you to try it for yourself. I find it an improvement, both in flavor and appearance. The recipe on this site includes the Creme de Violette, but you can make the other version by substituting more maraschino for the Creme de Violette (you need the sweetness to balance the lemon juice).

Another way to look at it is that it is two drinks in one: make it one way in the spring and another in the summer, or one way to complement one kind of party, or one way to complement what you are reading.



2ozLondon Dry Gin
3⁄4ozLemon Juice
1⁄2ozMaraschino Liqueur
1⁄4ozCreme de Violette


Combine all ingredients. Shake vigorously with ice and serve in a cocktail glass garnished with a strip of lemon peel.


If you have no Creme de Violette, substitute an equal quantity of additional Maraschino liqueur.
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No Vodka?

I always thought the Aviation contained mostly but, but a little bit of Vodka, too.  Was I wrong?

not in my books

The recipes I have seen that I consider credible are all gin-based, with no mention of vodka. I admit to a prejudice against vodka, so I may have seen a recipe with vodka and dismissed it unfairly. But Vodka is a distinctly post-war spirit, and the Aviation hails from the days of Lindbergh when aviation connoted romance and technology together. Not that Sputnik and orbiting chimpanzees aren't romantic, if that's what lights your fire...