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The Aviation Cocktail made its debut in the world of mixology in 1916 when Hugo Ensslin, a pioneering bartender, included it in his influential book “Recipes for Mixed Drinks.” Ensslin, who tended bar at the Hotel Wallick in New York, was a key figure during the heyday of pre-Prohibition cocktails. His book served as a compendium of innovative recipes, many of which have endured the test of time.
Ensslin’s Aviation Cocktail showcased a sophisticated blend of ingredients, reflecting the evolving tastes of the era. During this period, the aviation industry was still in its infancy, and the cocktail’s name is believed to be a nod to the technological advancements and the spirit of progress associated with aviation.
The Aviation Cocktail’s unique flavor profile is a result of its meticulously curated ingredients. The base of the drink is gin, a spirit that forms the backbone of numerous classic cocktails. The choice of gin is crucial, as its botanical nuances play a pivotal role in shaping the overall character of the drink. Gin’s juniper-forward nature, coupled with its herbal and citrus notes, provides a perfect canvas for the other ingredients to shine.
Adding a touch of elegance to the Aviation Cocktail is the inclusion of crème de violette. This liqueur, derived from violet flowers, imparts a subtle floral aroma and a delicate purple hue to the cocktail. The crème de violette not only contributes to the drink’s visual appeal but also introduces a nuanced sweetness that complements the botanicals in the gin.
To balance the floral notes and bring depth to the Aviation Cocktail, maraschino liqueur is added. Made from the distillation of Marasca cherries, this liqueur contributes a slightly sweet, almond-like flavor with a hint of cherry.
Rounding out the trio of supporting ingredients is the addition of fresh lemon juice. The citrusy brightness of the lemon juice serves as a refreshing counterpoint to the richness of the other components. Its acidity not only balances the sweetness of the liqueurs but also adds a zesty, invigorating quality that makes the Aviation Cocktail a delight to the palate.
60 ml gin
7.5 ml crème de violette
15 ml maraschino liqueur
15 ml fresh lemon juice
Garnish: Luxardo cherry
Add the gin, crème de violette, maraschino liqueur, and fresh lemon juice into a cocktail shaker.
Add ice and shake for 10-12 seconds, until cold.
Strain into a coupe glass.
Garnish with a Luxardo cherry.