Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Aviation

Today's cocktail is the Aviation. It's a good thing I'm not trying to fly a plane tonight.

There are two basic versions of this old favorite: one with creme de violette, one without. I like both. The plainer one is like moonlight caught in a glass, and has a Saint-Exupéry-like delicacy that works especially well with Bombay gin. The creme de violette one is reported to resemble the blue sky, and it does, if your blue sky happens to be pale violet at that moment. I prefer to add only a little violette--enough to turn the drink silver, the color of Jazz Age flying machines and Art Deco technophilia. (I also like to run the lemon juice through a fine strainer for a more uniform effect.)

1 1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz maraschino liqueur
1/2 oz lemon juice
Approx. 1 tsp creme de violette

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


  1. Though I've been aware of creme de violette, I don't know cocktails that call for it. This silver slip of a sip is a beautiful way to introduce one to it. Is the 1 tsp mostly for color? Violet can be a subtle flavor, and I wonder how it stands up against that gin, or if we get more flower from the gin as a result of the touch of violette?

  2. I'm not sure whether the creme de violette was first thought of for color here, but it adds a distinctive floral quality, even in small doses. Old-fashioned stuff used in old-fashioned drinks. (But not in Old-Fashioneds. lol) In larger doses, some people find it too much like eau de cologne or scented soap. It combines well with the herbal notes in gin. Another notable example of a creme de violette cocktail is the Blue Moon, which is also gin, violette and lemon, but no maraschino. The violette plays a more prominent role. I've done the Blue Moon with sweet violet and viola tricolor garnishes from a package of mixed edible flowers in season. Tasty and fun to look at.

  3. Rowen, My one and only time drinking Blue Moons...well, let's say I was young, dumb and overimbibed at Carlene's Maui Club, on Polk Street (now, alas, was very tikiesque); however, I do (amazingly) remember the ingredients, and the blue (at that establishment) was thanks to Blue Curacao. They painstakingly listed the ingredients of all their libations, and there was no mention of creme de violette. I love all things violet-flavored, so would enjoy the cheerful version you describe herein. Floral beverages, in general, interest me.


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