Have you tried many classic cocktails? I enjoy classic recipes for a couple of reasons. One, they give me a chance to imagine life during the time period they’re from. It’s an interesting way to examine culture and history. History textbooks seem to generally move us from one war to the next, but they don’t really go into what everyday life in those times was like. Food, drinks, art, music, or literature gives us the ability to really get a sense for what the average people were like, people like you or me. My second reason for loving classic cocktails is this: they are often times simple to make, delicious and beautifully balanced.
This recipe, the Aviation, dates back to 1916 and was created by Huge Enslinn, head bartender at Hotel Wallick in New York City. With gin, Maraschino liqueur, Crème de Violette, and lemon juice he created something floral, tart, and just sweet enough. Other versions became more popular when Crème de Violette became unavailable in the U.S. and the Aviation was almost lost to history. But thanks to the craft cocktail movement that began in the 1980s, it reemerged and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
And, for good reason! This gin-based recipe is easy to love and sure to convert anyone who thinks they don’t like gin. As with most any cocktail, half the fun is playing with the quantities a bit until you land on the right mix for you. Some people enjoy it with a little more Crème de Violette, others with less lemon juice, and some like it with more Maraschino liqueur. Shake one up for yourself using the recipe outlined below, then adjust to your liking. Cheers!