Nomenclature Debate

Comment on the “Sensation Cocktail” from The Conceirge regarding the never ending “Aviation Debate“.

I see from your link that you credit Gary Regan with the 2oz gin, 1/2 each of Maraschino and lemon juice recipe for Aviation. To my taste, even with Luxardo, Gary Regan does a fine job with this recipe (leaving aside any nomenclature debates). When you make aviations with 1/2oz of Luxardo Maraschino, are you using 2oz of Gin? If so, perhaps your fancy lemons are not as sour as the ones from the Concrete Jungle. :)

I don’t know who initially re-jiggered the Aviation, but Gary seems like a tough guy who can take a little lively discussion without taking it too personally.

Let’s take a look at the original Aviation Recipe, from Hugo Ensslin’s “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.

I’m sorry but I don’t think completely changing the ratio of a drink and leaving out an ingredient is a “nomenclature” issue.

The Ensslin Aviation recipe is 2 parts Gin, 1 part Lemon, and (generously) 1/8 part Maraschino Liqueur and 1/8 part Creme de Violette (Not Yvette!).

Changing the Aviation to 4 parts gin, 1 part lemon, and 1 part Maraschino isn’t “nomenclature”, it’s disrespecting the person who created the recipe.

I will say I think part of the problem is size.

An Ensslin Aviation made with a 2 oz (total) pour, chilled to perfection, is a bracing tonic, something to get your appetite and saliva going when you feel a bit down.

An Ensslin Aviation made with a 3 oz pour gets warm, catches in your throat, and is basically undrinkable half way before you are done.

As pour sizes have increased, many of these “tonic” drinks have had to be re-jiggered with more liqueur and simple syrup to allow them to be drinkable for people who like to linger over their (sadly warm and disgusting) cocktails.

12 thoughts on “Nomenclature Debate

  1. Pingback: Cocktail Hour: The Aviation | wine me, dine me

  2. No intended disrespect to Hugo Ensslin (may he rest in piece), but –whether or not using the name Aviation for drinks that are different than the recipe that Mr. Ensslin includes in his book– is a nomenclature issue. Is it improper to use the name?
    First, the use of names for drinks are used so liberally, that any strict sense of nomenclature may be lost and gone forever. But assuming among some crowds, a certain degree of respect for nomenclature is respected in hopes that it will one day be restored to where a casual imbiber will know the properties of a certain drink by its name. Is it correct to use the Aviation name in a different drink?

    There is precedent for this, e.g., the Daiquiri. There are many types of Daiquiris, e.g. Hemingway Daiquiri, Florida Daiquiri. Each has different porportions and ingredients. I will observe that from memory, I am aware of no “daiquiris” that do not at least contain Rum, Lime Juice and Sugar. Are you? Assuming all of them do contain rum, lime, sugar, then does the removal of the Creme de Violette in the Aviation recipe provided by Regan render it an error to refer to the drink as an Aviation. (because under this framework, it cannot be the addition of more of one ingredient)

    Assuming there is precedent for removing an ingredient and referring to its by the same name, does Aviation need to be used in conjunction with another word for it to be correct usage. For example, assuming arguendo that there is a type of daiquiri with rum, lime or sugar removed, is it the added word, e.g. Hemingway, Florida, that makes use of the word daiquiri proper? For example, would Antiviolet Aviation be a proper name.

    • Well, I have to admit one of my pet peeves is Martinis and Manhattans whose vermouth is neglected or reduced to the point of irrelevance.

      Why even call it a Martini or a Manhattan if it doesn’t have vermouth?

      It’s just cold booze.

      Not the same as the Aviation issue, as the reverse is true. More booze, more liqueur, less citrus.

      And I’ll admit to tweaking recipes myself. Some are, in fact, so horrible as to be undrinkable in any world I live in. Check the Mule’s Hind Leg or Applejack Rabbit, for example. There might be the idea of a good drink there, but the recipes are awful.

  3. I’ll will go with the Supra-violet Aviation.

    It would be convenient if there was an editing function for comments. Of course I want Ensslin to rest in one piece (i think), but that was inherent to the intended wish for peace.

  4. Perhaps it’s not just drink size that’s at play. Reading old recipes you see, time and time again, that ingredients like liqueurs and juices are used in quantities so small that they can be no more than accents against which to experience the character of a primary spirit. (The various “improved” cocktails come to mind here.) In more modern cocktails these same ingredients are regularly used in quantities that bring them squarely into the foreground. Perhaps this represents a difference in peoples’ palates one hundred (or more) years ago and/or a simply a practical consideration in a time when such things may have been rarer and more expensive.

    Either way, increasing the proportions of these ingredients beyond dashes and spoons will definitely make for a different or at least highly re-interpreted cocktail.

  5. Hi Guys: re the ratios in my Aviation. I always hold that recipes are mere guidelines, they aren’t meant to be taken literally. and everyone should make drinks either they way they like or best, or the way their customers like it best. Do you think that Lobster Newburgh is cooked using exactly the same recipe by all chefs worth their salt, for instance? And do you think that that recipe is the same one used at Delmonico’s when the dish was created in the (1800s?).

    Thanks to whoever wrote I try very hard never to take things personally, and whenever I’m proved wrong about something, I try to see that as a learning experience.

  6. Pingback: Continuing Nomenclature Debate | Underhill-Lounge

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  8. Pingback: Aviation Cocktail « Cold Glass

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