100 Year Old Happy Hour: The Aviation Cocktail

We’ve been doing a little history here at The Aerie in the evening, and that’s involved probing back into cocktails from the early 20th century.  Last week, we tried The Blinker with success, so this week I thought we’d try another one.

When Imbibe published its list of the 25 most important cocktails of the last 100 years, the Aviation was on the list.  I’ve heard that this drink is making a reappearance on many bar’s lists, so I thought we’d give it a try


  • 2 oz gin
  • ½ oz lemon juice
  • ½ oz maraschino liqueur
  • ¼ oz crème de violette

Everything is added into a cocktail shaker with ice, shaken well and strained into a cocktail glass (I used a coupe).  Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Aviation Cocktail

I used a clean gin (Bluecoat) and the crème de violette added just sweetness to offset the lemon-maraschino.  Great drink.

Good to see a lot of these drinks from bygone era get dusted off!


9 thoughts on “100 Year Old Happy Hour: The Aviation Cocktail

  1. Huge fans of the Aviation cocktail here. One of my favorite uses for maraschino. The recipe I used for years didn’t have the creme de violette, probably because it never used to be available. As a fan of tart drinks, I still liked it, but I think the addition of the violette opens it up to a wider audience.

    • J — when I was researching the drink, it seemed that omitting the creme de violette was really common. Apparently, the folks that produce St Germain are producing violette from the original recipe. It’s a really neat addition to drinks (in small quantities) to give just a little sweetness and floral character.

    • The interesting thing is that maraschino liqueur is nothing at all like a maraschino cherry, so this drink is actually a lot more bitter than most people would realize.

  2. I tried this cocktail centuries ago during a visit to Paris. It was so heavenly, I tried to replicate it here in the States: but at the time (1970s central California) there was no maraschino liqueur or creme de violette available. The liquor store clerk stared at me as if I was speaking in another language, which I guess I was, in a way. So I forgot about it, until you brought it up here today. And BevMo carries creme de violette now! How times have changed. Something that should be celebrated with an Aviation, I think.

    • I wholeheartedly agree! It is definitely a goal of mine to sip sophisticated cocktails in Paris. Until then, I’ll have to rely on my own handiwork — at least the better liquor stores carry a much wider array of spirits and liqueurs than I can remember in the past.

  3. Pingback: Astronomical Happy Hour: The Blue Moon Cocktail | Stevil

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