By dictatorial fiat, today is cocktail day here at TFD! Citizens, I am especially fond of classic cocktails, especially ones that have sadly gone out of favor for one reason or another. The Aviation is one such example that deserves your thoughtful consideration.
As noted on Wikipedia – the Aviation is a classic cocktail made with gin, maraschino liqueur (this Marasca cherry liqueur has been made in Padova, Italy since 1821), crème de violette (which is made from Queen Charlotte and March violet flowers from the Alps) and lemon juice. It is served straight up, in a chilled cocktail glass.
The Aviation was created by Hugo Ensslin, the head bartender at the Hotel Wallick in New York, in the early twentieth century. The first published recipe for the drink appeared in Ensslin’s 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks. Ensslin’s recipe called for 1½ oz. El Bart gin, ¾ oz. lemon juice, 2 dashes maraschino liqueur, and 2 dashes crème de violette, a violet liqueur which gives the cocktail its signature pale sky-blue color. After the sole source for crème de violette stopped producing it in the mid 20-th century, the cocktail disappeared until a few years ago when a new company started producing it again using the original recipe.
Here is my eclectic variation of the classic Aviation, with specific recommendations on my preferred liquor brands for this particular drink. I’ve imparted a bit more complexity through the use of lime juice instead of lemon and the stirring with a rosemary branch to enhance the herbal qualities of the gin. The rosemary, juniper, herb and violet aromas in my version will provide a convincing olfactory illusion that you yourself are enjoying this cocktail in the springtime Italian Alps! 🙂
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