how to make an aviation

How to Make an Aviation Cocktail: A Sophisticated Sip to Impress at Home

Aviation Cocktail: A Sophisticated Sip to Impress at Home

how to make an aviation

Everything You Need to Know About How to Make An Aviation Cocktail

Imagine this: you've invited your friends for an evening of laughter and good company. The conversation flows, and as the night deepens, you yearn to add a touch of sophisticated flair. Enter the Aviation cocktail, a captivating blend of gin, floral notes, and a touch of history, guaranteed to impress even the most discerning guest. But forget expensive bars and crowded outings - with a little know-how, you can craft this delightful drink from the comfort of your own home, transforming an ordinary evening into an unforgettable experience.

The History of the Aviation Cocktail

The Aviation's story takes us back to the early 1900s, a time of innovation and experimentation in the world of cocktails. Hugo Ensslin, a renowned head bartender at the luxurious Hotel Wallick in New York City, is credited with creating this masterpiece in 1916, meticulously documenting it in his recipe book "Recipes for Mixed Drinks". The Aviation quickly soared in popularity, becoming a darling of the pre-Prohibition era. However, with the rise of Prohibition, many unique cocktails, including the Aviation, faded into obscurity.

The resurgence of the Aviation is a testament to the enduring allure of classic cocktails. Fast forward to the early 2000s, a period often referred to as the "cocktail renaissance," where bartenders rediscovered and revived forgotten recipes. The Aviation, with its unique floral character and captivating color, was a natural candidate for a comeback. A key factor in this revival was the reintroduction of crème de violette, a violet-infused liqueur that adds a distinctive touch to the drink (Difford's Guide, 2020).

What Is Crème de Violette?

how to make an aviation

Crème de violette is a liqueur flavored with violets, lending a floral and aromatic quality to cocktails. Traditionally, violet flowers or their essence are steeped in neutral alcohol to create this liqueur, resulting in a beautiful violet or lavender hue (Difford's Guide, 2020). While some recipes may omit crème de violette, it's this key ingredient that gives the Aviation its signature floral character and sets it apart from other gin-based cocktails.

What Maraschino Liqueur Should I Use?

how to make an aviation

Maraschino liqueur adds a touch of sweetness and subtle cherry notes to the Aviation. Luxardo Maraschino is a popular choice for its accessibility and quality, but other brands like Maraska and Lazzarroni are also excellent options.

Not Sure About the Special Liqueurs?

If you're hesitant to invest in crème de violette or maraschino liqueur, fear not! There are ways to enjoy a variation of the Aviation. Some recipes substitute violet syrup for crème de violette, offering a similar floral hint without the liqueur. Alternatively, you can experiment with other liqueurs that complement gin, such as elderflower or St-Germain. Remember, the beauty of home bartending lies in experimentation!

Which Gin Should I Use?

how to make an aviation cocktail

Gin forms the base of the Aviation, so choosing the right one can significantly impact the final drink. For a classic Aviation experience, a mid-priced London Dry gin is perfectly suitable. Brands like Beefeater or Tanqueray offer a crisp and juniper-forward profile that pairs well with the other ingredients.

However, if you're looking to elevate your Aviation game, consider using a higher-quality gin. Brands like Nolet's Silver Gin or Hendrick's Gin boast complex botanical profiles that can add interesting layers of flavor to the cocktail. Ultimately, the best gin for your Aviation is the one that suits your taste preference and budget.

What's Up With That Bright Purple Color?

You might have seen pictures of Aviation cocktails boasting a vibrant purple hue. While visually stunning, it's important to understand that achieving this intense color often requires an excessive amount of crème de violette, which can overpower the delicate balance of flavors in the drink.

A properly prepared Aviation should have a more subtle, pale lavender or blue-gray color, reminiscent of a twilight sky. This subtle color is achieved by using the recommended amount of crème de violette and focusing on proper shaking technique to achieve a good balance between dilution and color extraction.

Aviation Cocktail Recipe

how to make an aviation

Now that you're armed with this knowledge, let's craft a show-stopping Aviation cocktail for your next gathering!


  • 2 ounces Gin (London Dry or premium gin, depending on your preference)
  • ¾ ounce Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ ounce Maraschino liqueur
  • ¼ ounce Crème de violette
  • Maraschino cherry or Luxardo cherry for garnish (optional)


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. This step is crucial for chilling the drink and diluting it slightly, ensuring a balanced and refreshing final product.

  2. Add all your ingredients to the shaker: 2 ounces of gin, ¾ ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice, ½ ounce of maraschino liqueur, and ¼ ounce of crème de violette. Remember, fresh lemon juice is essential for adding a vibrant acidity that complements the other flavors.

  3. Shake vigorously for about 15-20 seconds. Here's where technique comes in! A vigorous shake ensures proper dilution and emulsification of the ingredients, creating a smooth and silky texture in the drink.

  4. Double strain the Aviation into a chilled coupe glass. A double strain involves using a fine-mesh strainer placed over your cocktail shaker in addition to the built-in strainer. This ensures you catch any ice chips and creates a perfectly clear and elegant presentation in your coupe glass.

  5. Garnish with a maraschino cherry or Luxardo cherry for a touch of elegance (optional). The choice of cherry is up to you; maraschino cherries offer a sweeter note, while Luxardo cherries boast a richer and more complex flavor profile.

There you have it! With a little practice and these helpful pointers, you can craft a restaurant-quality Aviation cocktail in the comfort of your own home. The Aviation, with its captivating blend of floral notes, citrusy brightness, and a touch of history, is sure to impress your guests and elevate your home entertaining game. So, the next time you're hosting a gathering, why not ditch the expensive cocktails bars and impress your friends with your newfound bartending skills? Cheers to creating memorable experiences at home, one sip at a time!

how to make an aviation

Would you like to explore more classic cocktails and impress your guests with your bartending prowess? Barprints offers a comprehensive online bartending course, Mixology Mastery, designed to transform you into a home bartending hero. This course equips you with the knowledge and skills to create an extensive repertoire of classic and contemporary cocktails, allowing you to tailor your drinks to any occasion.

how to make an aviation