Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bar exam: the Aviation Cocktail

Geez, has it been THAT long since my last post? It's not like I've been going hungry for the last three weeks. Call it a little blog vacation. And as you'll see here I have most assuredly NOT been going thirsty. Especially in this season of good cheer. Hence my need to share with you your new favorite cocktail!
Knowing that you are more than likely going to be entertaining others, or at the very least be entertained, this season then it might behoove you to have a new cocktail trick up your sleeves. In this case new being more "new to you", because the Aviation Cocktail is a classic dating back to the early 20th century. Confusion about this cocktail has been brought about with the appearance on bars around the country of House Spirits' (of Portland, Or.) Aviation gin. I've seen cocktails purportedly called the Aviation around town that have nothing to do with the original classic but DO contain Aviation gin. A little creative mixology from the House Spirits boys have not done any favors to the original. So what is it about the Aviation Cocktail that should have you running to your nearest liquor store for the one ingredient you don't have (that essential piece being maraschino liqueur. You DO have gin and lemon juice, don't you??) Like so many of the classics it is the Aviation's simplicity that gives it its charm, not to mention drinkability. Gin, lemon juice, and the aforementioned maraschino liqueur. That's it. If you're a gin lover I promise this will become a regular bar staple. It is so fresh and bright, with a perfect bitter edge that makes it go down far too easily. I wouldn't use Aviation gin in this one because it's intense herbal flavors would overpower the perfect balance that a gin like Tanqueray (my choice for this drink) or Plymouth give this little bit of cocktail history.
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Aviation Cocktail
makes 1 cocktail

1 1/2 ounces dry gin
3/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
Twist of lemon for garnish

Fill cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add next three ingredients and shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Strain into cocktail glass, garnish with lemon, and relive cocktail history.

NOTE: I found that straining the lemon juice after squeezing to get rid of as much pulp as possible is essential to an attractive beverage. You can see from the photo a few bits of lemon still floating in the glass.- bb


DC said...


Excellent choice! This is a cocktail I'm trying to get Portlanders really excited about. If you do it by the the old, old school recipe, you add a splash to 1/4 oz. of creme de violette. It adds a whole other dimension (as well as a beautiful blueish/lavender color). I use Plymouth in mine and leave out the garnish.

Best Regards,

David from Castagna

bb said...

Hey David...I had read about the violette addition. Sadly my liquor store was out, but I am searching for some. I will most definitely have one from you next time I'm in!

Calamityville said...

Pearl Specialty at NW 9th and Lovejoy usually has the Creme de Violette. This is one of my favorite cocktails to share and the cocktail that turned me on to maraschino liqueur as a cocktail ingredient.

Anonymous said...

David, accord to an article in the our local paper in Sonoma County, CA, the creme de violette is what makes it turn "SKY" blue, hence the name, the Aviation.

All the best,