Cocktail Hacker

    Hack What You Drink

The Aviation Cocktail

Posted by Reese on 2009-01-18 @ 10:26pm

The Aviation is a classic cocktail that now lives a life of relative web 2.0 anonymity.  A search on Wikipedia will link you directly to the general cocktail page, which doesn’t do anyone much good as the page doesn’t even list a recipe.  Thankfully my reference books had a few recipes and my fellow cocktail bloggers have done their experiments as well so I have a good starting point for the week.

Wright Flyer

The first recipe for the Aviation to see print was in Hugo Ensslin’s book Recipes for Mixed Drinks printed in 1916.  I, sadly, do not have a copy, but Erik came to the rescue by posting the recipe on his site.

Aviation Cocktail (Original Recipe)
1/3 Lemon Juice
2/3 El Bart Gin
2 Dashes Maraschino
2 Dashes Creme de Violette
Shake well in a mixing glass with cracked ice, strain and serve.

Now, I’m guessing the first thing that popped in to your head is “What the hell is El Bart Gin?” I know it was certainly the first thing in mine.  From what I can best ascertain its a long gone brand of Dry Gin.  About all that can be found on the net these days about it is sales of new tin signs and news about the sale of a mint condition antique sign that went for $60,500 at auction.  I think its safe to assume though that El-Bart was one of Ensslin’s favorite gins as it is called for in some of his other recipes as well.  Following that my second question was in reference to just what exactly Creme de Violette is.  In doing a bit of reading in Vintage Cocktails and Spirits and online I had my answer.  Creme de Violette is the name given to a group of French liqueurs whos main source of flavoring and coloring is violets.

Creme de Violette is a touch hard to find in some areas in the US as there is only one importer (Haus Alpenz), and one brand being imported (Rothman & Winter).  I’ve checked one local liquor store, but no luck there.  I plan to do some more extensive searching tomorrow.  An interesting note is that due to the relative scarcity of this liqueur in the US most modern recipes you’ll find don’t list it as an ingredient at all.  For example below is Regan’s recipe from The Joy of Mixology.

Aviation (Joy of Mixology)
2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice

I’ve certainly got a full week ahead of me and I can honestly say I’m really looking forward to it.