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Aviation: Recipe, 5 Variations & 6 Similar Cocktails

The Aviation drink defines luxury mixology, enhancing the cocktail-making enjoying process through taste and feel. But what is it exactly that makes an Aviation cocktail so special? Find out in this article.

Aviations include a luscious blend of botanicals that offer a markedly smooth taste. Come along with us on a journey through the history of the Aviation, as we explore the ingredients that are required, how to master making the drink, and some other wonderful cocktails that resemble the Aviation.

Aviation Cocktail: Lightness and Whimsy in a Drink

Aviation Cocktail: Lightness and Whimsy in a Drink

If you’re interested in learning more about the Aviation cocktail, continue reading this in-depth discussion of the drink’s history, ingredients, and the art of crafting this classic libation.

Its eyecatching and beautifully rich, purple color is only surpassed by its taste. This drink resembles the moments of a sunset just before the sky turns to night, where you can still gaze at the vibrant colors as they turn from orange and red to purples and blues.

This association is one of the reasons why people associate this drink with an evening gathering, such as a cocktail party.

Introduction to Aviation

Introduction to Aviation

Aviations are a lively and aromatic drink that truly glorifies gin in the best way. The Aviation cocktail is well-known for its purple hue, so it provides an excellent accessory during any dinner party or soiree.

The captivating color and intricate assortment of botanicals are sure to inspire conversation among cocktail lovers.

What Aviation Is

What Aviation Is

An Aviation is a classic drink that is often regarded as the “Prohibition-Era Martini” in the world of cocktails. This drink has been enjoyed for over 100 years – and for good reason.

It is mystic, hypnotic in color, and simply delicious. The lavender element to an Aviation cocktail oozes luxury, while the gin and lemon juice add refreshing flavors that balance some of the sweetness found in this well-loved drink.

Brief History / Origin

Brief History / Origin

Aviations were first introduced in the early 1900s in a cocktail book titled Recipes for Mixed Drinks by High Enslinn of the Hotel Wallick in New York City. Shortly thereafter, Aviations were the main cocktail of the Prohibition Era, which banned alcohol from consumption in the 1910s.

Aviations have remained in favor throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. The Aviation gained its name based on its color, which oftentimes resembled the blue of the evening sky that appears during a plane ride.

Also, the Aviation has also been nicknamed “Blue Moon” for its timeless blue/purple hue reminiscent of the night sky.

Ingredients

Ingredients – Crème de Violette

An Aviation is made with maraschino liqueur, crème de violette, lemon juice, and gin. Maraschino liqueur provides a sweet underlay for the drink, with the quintessential cherry flavor.

Crème de violette adds subtle floral and violet flavors to the cocktail, while also creating the distinct color of this drink. Lemon juice balances the drink with its tangy and citrusy taste.

Finally, the addition of gin to an Aviation provides a strong juniper base, which adds more depth to the overall flavor of the cocktail.

Best Gin Brands for Aviation

Best Gin Brands for Aviation

The mark of a truly wonderful and well-made Aviation is its gin. Gin falls into the category of spirits (like whiskey) and is used in many popular drinks. The juniper hints in gin harmonize with the herbal and floral nature of an Aviation, especially with respect to the lavender.

This selection of five gins that complements the flavor profile of an Aviation perfectly:

  1. Bombay Sapphire: Bombay Sapphire gin adds a well-balanced flavor profile. Although there is complexity in flavor, combining this gin with an Aviation enhances each individual noet. 
  2. Hendrick’s: Hendrick’s gin adds freshness to any cocktail, especially an Aviation. This lightness in taste is due to its unique combination of cucumber and rose. This is especially complementary to the floral notes in an Aviation cocktail.
  3. Tanqueray: Tanqueray is a nice choice for an Aviation cocktail for its herbal and spice-forward taste. This spirit brings out both the sweetness and floral notes of an Aviation, rendering Tanqueray Gin a top choice for this drink.
  4. Beefeater: Beefeater Gin has a classic London dry gin profile, giving it a traditional and unwavering flavor that complements an Aviation well. For the Aviation, many recommend Beefeater 24, as it has a tea-like essence which livens the lavender in the cocktail.
  5. Aviation American Gin: Aviation American Gin must be the right choice for the Aviation cocktail, given the overlap in names.

However, the real reason for this excellent pairing is the ingredient profile of Aviation Gin. From lavender to anise seeds, this American dry gin is bound to blend well with the pleasant simplicity of an Aviation cocktail.

Recipe – How to Make an Aviation

Recipe – How to Make an Aviation

A perfectly crafted Aviation begins with 2 oz gin, 0.5 oz maraschino liqueur, 0.25 oz crème de violette, and 0.75 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Add all of these ingredients into a shaker and shake vigorously. Once completely shaken, strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass.

For added flavor, consider adding a maraschino cherry. To chill a cocktail glass, simply place it in the freezer to ensure that the glass is very cold. Make sure that the cocktail glass is made of high-quality material, as temperature changes can cause the glass to crack.

Time & Occasions for Drinking an Aviation

Time & Occasions for Drinking an Aviation

Aviations are ideal for dinner parties with a softer and more intimate ambiance. As the lighting dims, the violet hue of the drink will dazzle the room.

Additionally, you may find Aviations at upscale cocktail parties, as they provide the perfect opportunity to impress guests with a sophisticated drink.

Perfect Pairings

Perfect Pairings

An aviation cocktail pairs well with certain appetizers, such as a charcuterie board, seafood canapés, and tartare. The lightness of these appetizers, in combination with an Aviation cocktail, generates freshness in taste.

If you’re looking to pair this cocktail with dinner, consider meals that include fish or lighter meats. A tremendous dish that pairs well with an Aviation is shrimp scampi (with linguini pasta).

This dish is delicate like an Aviation, but the garlic and other Italian herbs add complexity to the dish and drink combination.

Additionally, Aviations could be served with a light dessert such as a sorbet, or citrusy flavors of gelato like lemon or tangerine.

If you’re feeling adventurous with your dessert combinations, a fondue made of dark chocolate to accompany a fruit plate may enhance the flavors of an Aviation.

If you have them available to you, citrus fruits like grapefruit or orange may be delicious in the dark chocolate.

Best Glass to Serve an Aviation

Best Glass to Serve an Aviation

Aviations are primarily served in chilled cocktail glasses. Particularly, coupe cocktail glasses with a gold rim are absolutely stunning vessels for an Aviation drink.

Coupe cocktail glasses have a shallow, bowl-like appearance that more readily allows the aromatic quality of the Aviation to dissipate into the air.

If you cannot find traditional cocktail glasses, champagne or martini glasses can serve as a suitable alternative. With the martini glass, you can stick a toothpick through your cherry accent and lay it over the opening of the glass for a nice visual effect.

Variations of Aviation

Variations of Aviation

The Aviation cocktail has been around for over a century, so variations on this beloved drink are bound to come to fruition. If you want to make an array of Aviation-inspired cocktails, consider these five options.

Your next cocktail party is sure to be lively with the addition of these drinks, especially if you remember any of these cocktail history nuggets of information.

White Lady

White Lady

A White Lady cocktail typically consists of triple sec, gin, and lemon juice. This drink is served chilled and can include egg white to produce a frothy overlay. This drink appeals to the freshness of an Aviation, while removing some of the sweeter elements of the drink.

Chelsea Aviation

Chelsea Aviation – Similar to a Bees Knees Cocktail

In the Aviation family, the Chelsea Aviation involves the same ingredients as an Aviation, while changing the proportions of the ingredients.

In some instances, more gin is added to this drink, which brings out the juniper essence in the drink. Also, honey syrup is sometimes added to this drink, resulting in a similar experience to that of the Bees Knees cocktail.

Bourbon Aviation

Bourbon Aviation

This drink is a delightful twist on a traditional Aviation because it includes bourbon instead of gin. This substitution offers a different character to a classic Aviation due to the dark and warm nature of bourbon.

Interestingly, the color of a bourbon Aviation is different from that of a classic Aviation. The bourbon Aviation may present with a darker purple color due to the amber tones of the bourbon.

New York Sour

New York Sour

A New York Sour is another classic cocktail that combines simple syrup, bourbon, whiskey, red wine (float), and lemon juice. This drink, like an Aviation, is an American classic that provides an interesting and sophisticated look and taste.

The New York Sour was first popularized in New York and has remained a staple in American mixology throughout the years.

Daisies (e.g., Whiskey Daisy, Gin Daisy)

Daisies (e.g., Whiskey Daisy, Gin Daisy)

Daisies are a category of cocktail that includes a base spirit (gin or whiskey), citrus (lemon or lime) juice, and a sweetener. Daisies are refreshing, so they provide a similar experience to that of an Aviation.

Additionally, some people opt to add soda water to Daisies for carbonation. The Daisy cocktail is a very early classic cocktail, as its creation was documented in the late 1800’s. Although it has changed over time, this cocktail

Similar Cocktails You Will Enjoy

Similar Cocktails You Will Enjoy

There are multiple cocktails that share ingredient profiles with the Aviation, which can be included in the drink lineup at your next soiree.

These drinks are slightly sweeter and more floral in nature. Because of these, all of the following should be enjoyable if an Aviation is among your favorites.

Tom Collins

Tom Collins

The Tom Collins cocktail originates from a prank in the 1800’s. The joke begins with a person telling someone that a man named Tom Collins was spreading fictitious rumors about them at a bar close by.

Then, that person would go to the nearby bar to confront Tom Collins by asking the bartender where they are.

The bartender would then pour them a drink, as this “Tom Collins” person was made-up. This drink later became known as the Tom Collins cocktail, as an ode to this silly prank.

This cocktail is made with club soda, gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice, so it resembles an Aviation, without the frills. The drink is usually served over ice.

Bees Knees

Bees Knees

The Bees Knees cocktail that incorporates gin, lemon juice, and honey syrup for a sweet and rich experience. This drink is an ode to an old saying that was popular in the early twentieth century. This term describes something wonderful, which is exactly how the drink was described to be.

Southside

Southside

The Southside of Chicago deserves the credit for this timeless drink. It is believed to have originated from this area during the time of speakeasies, or secret bars and clubs, during prohibition. The Southside consists of gin, mint, lime juice, and simple syrup.

Last Word

Last Word

The Last Word is a classic cocktail that is attributed to the prohibition era, similar to some of the other drinks mentioned. It is made by combining lime juice, green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, and gin.

All ingredients are poured harmoniously in the exact same quantity, which gave the drink its name.

French 75

French 75

Lastly, a French 75 is made with champagne, lemon juice, gin, and simple syrup. This drink originated around the time of World War I.

This drink is on the stronger side, which was compared to a French 75mm field gun. After this comparison was made at the New York Bar in Paris, its name was set in stone.

The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line

Enjoying an Aviation is easy when you consider how it perfectly balances beauty and taste. This drink is always a crowd-pleaser.

We’ve discussed the history of the Aviation, how to make the drink, and similar cocktails that can be had during a dinner party or when you’re low on Aviation ingredients.

The history of cocktails is vast and interesting, so it is impressive that Aviations remain a key drink. This is a testament to the complex flavor profile of the drink, as well as its elegant purple hue.

Aviations have stood the test of time, even during prohibition, so you’ll want to include this delicious and inviting drink in your next social gathering.

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