The Aviation, part 1

I was at a “Spring Thaw” party at Jack and Anthony’s house this weekend, and they had a cocktail menu that included the Aviation. I had heard of this drink, but I had never tried it. They made it this way:

  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
  • 1 tsp creme de violette

They shook it and poured it into a cocktail glass. Then they dropped a blackberry in it, which was simply awesome! It was a very interesting cocktail with a very intriguing scent. The violette and maraschino work very well together and give it a pleasant nose that makes it seem like it’s going to be a sweet drink. Well, it’s not. In fact, the lemon is powerful stuff, and I’ve mentioned this problem before, specifically with the White Lady cocktail. That drink benefited from just a tad of sweetener, as I found out after trying seven different versions of the drink.

After doing some research online, I found that the Aviation is one of those drinks that was only recently discovered, specifically by cocktail bloggers. Well, I guess we do some good in the world, if I can actually call myself a cocktail blogger. Before, the Aviation would be created without the creme de violette. Sounds like other drinks, huh? Well, see the Washington Post if you don’t believe me. And that’s after the drink was rediscovered. Well, just recently, they discovered that the drink had creme de violette and, as Camper English says, the mystery was solved. Why? Because the liqueur gives the drink a blue hue, like the sky. Ah, yes, the Aviation cocktail. 

Well, I don’t have any creme de violette, and I’m not going to buy any just to make one drink. If I find more uses for it, perhaps I will invest it. What I was interested in was to see if the drink could be improved with a bit of sugar. The Underhill Lounge recommends 1/2 oz simple syrup, but I thought I would go a bit less. With the addition of 1/4 oz simple syrup, the Aviation was transformed into something much more palatable. Sure, it could still use the creme de violette, but at least now I know how I want to drink them. The original version might be good for a single cocktail, but the newer, sweetened version is good for two or three.

As a side note, I have seen creme de violette mentioned in books but had never tried it before. It has a very low alcohol content but it smells like a great perfume. It’s also pretty stickily sweet, a perfect addition to a lot of cocktails, kind of like St. Germain. I could see drink that uses more than simply a few drops of this stuff.

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