Variations and Substitutions
While the aviation follows a fairly standard recipe, you can still make a few medications without losing the essence of the cocktail.
- Experiment with the ratios of the cocktail by using less gin and more maraschino liqueur, or less lemon juice and more crème de violette. Find out which ratio makes your palette the happiest.
- Instead of lemon juice, give lemon cordial or lemon liqueur a try but beware that it could be boozier.
- Different styles of gin will have different flavors meaning you can play with Old Tom gin, London dry, Plymouth, or genever.
- Infused gin adds a boost of flavor without altering the profile of the cocktail too much. Consider a botanical or citrus infusion.
The cocktail cherry is the most traditional and frequently used garnish for the aviation cocktail. However, consider a few of these options to make yours stand out.
- Consider using a lemon, orange, or lime for a citrus touch. With those, you can add a citrus slice, wheel, or wedge for a more pronounced flavor.
- If you want a softer citrus flavor, use a citrus peel, ribbon, or twist, or a dehydrated citrus wheel.
- Alternate a cocktail cherry and citrus peel or coin on a cocktail skewer.
- Garnish with an edible flower such as an apple blossom, clover, day lily, honeysuckle, lavender, or lilac.
- Sprinkle edible gold flakes or glitter overtop to make your Aviation really pop.
About the Aviation Cocktail
The aviation cocktail is one of the lesser-known classic cocktails, and it often falls in and out of fashion. First stirred up in the early 20th century, a New York City bartender by the name Hugo Enslinn, history credits him with sharing the recipe in his book in 1916. The recipe then only called for a few dashes each of maraschino liqueur and crème de violette, which has evolved into proper measurements today. Another bartender, Harry Craddock, would include the aviation cocktail but omit the crème de violette entirely. It's a particularly savvy recipe as crème de violette has historically been a challenge to locate.
As so many classic cocktails do, the Aviation has gone on to inspire several other cocktails, including the blue moon cocktail, which skips the maraschino liqueur, and the moonlight cocktail, with uses lime juice instead of lemon and orange liqueur instead of maraschino.
An Aviation Cocktail That'll Soar
The aviation stands out in a crowd, and its distinct and elegant purple hue is a notable variation from clear martinis and gin drinks or amber-colored bourbon cocktails. Step away from the masses and enjoy an aviation. Better yet, have a giggle with yourself as you enjoy one at an airport.