Aviation Cocktail

Aviation Cocktail

1/3 Lemon Juice. (3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice)
2/3 Dry Gin. (1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin)
2 Dashes Maraschino. (1/2 tsp. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur)
[2 Dashes Creme de Violette] (1/2 tsp. Rothman and Winter Creme de Violette Liqueur)
(1/2 teaspoon Rich Simple Syrup)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (Garnish with cherry.)

In one of the Savoy Cocktail Book’s more famous typos or mistakes, Craddock (or the editors) left the Violette out of the recipe for the Aviation Cocktail.

This is the earliest recipe from Hugo Ensslin’s 1916 “Recipes for Mixed Drinks.”

Aviation Cocktail

1/3 Lemon Juice
2/3 El Bart Gin
2 dashes Maraschino
2 dashes Creme de Violette

Shake well in a mixing glass with cracked ice, strain and serve.

The Savoy and Ensslin Aviations are a pretty sharp tonics. Very sour with only those few little dashes of sweetener.

Generally, if you order an Aviation in a bar today, you’re more likely going to get something like this recipe from Gary Regan:

Aviation Cocktail

2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice


Fill a cocktail shaker two-thirds full with ice and add all of the ingredients. Shake for approximately 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Like Embury’s Apple Jack Rabbit Cocktail, this is getting a bit far from the original recipe for me. Depending on the Maraschino you’re using, this may also really be overkill on that ingredient. Especially if you’re using Luxardo, too much Maraschino is not a good thing. It will completely dominate a cocktail in a not very pleasant manner.

So I propose the solution above. Don’t skip the violette, don’t overdo the Maraschino, and add a bit of simple syrup to mellow this very tart Savoy Cocktail Book recipe.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

18 thoughts on “Aviation Cocktail

  1. As a young’un who really found his palette on the super-dry maraschino (typo) formula, I’ve got to admit I LOVE IT. I find the assertive savoriness (with the right gin) in this drink (under Harrington’s 1 1/2 gin to 1/2 maraschino to 3/4 lemon juice, with Aviation gin) is just the thing to bring me to bat.

    And, yes, I’m still trying to get my teaspoon oriented correctly for the amount of creme d’violette I can handle.

  2. I’ve found the Aviation to be one of the more challenging cocktails to get right. The Luxardo Maraschino, especially, can be a tough ingredient, especially as the sole sweetener in a drink. It is hard to find that spot where it is sweet enough, but not overwhelming the other ingredients. Violet liqueurs also significantly vary in sweetness. With the ingredients I’m using above, the three half teaspoons of sweetener seems to work best for both myself and most people I’ve made Aviations for. Making the cocktail with just the half teaspoons of R&W Violette and Luxardo Maraschino is a bit lean, even for me.

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  16. I find that 2oz Gin, 1/4 oz Marischino, 1/4 oz Violette, 1/2 oz Lemon Juice, 1/4 oz Simple Syrup and 2 dashes Orange Bitters does the trick for me.

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