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The Aviation – Now with Violette

Posted by Reese On February - 2 - 2009

My bottle of Creme de Violette finally arrived from Sam’s Wine last Tuesday.  I eagerly opened the box and pulled out a bottle of lovely violet colored spirit.  The beautiful color is the first and most striking thing you’ll notice about a bottle of Creme de Violette.  I admired for only a short time though before I had to break the seal and sample.  The smell, and not surprisingly the flavor, are distinctly floral.  This is a medium sweet liqueur, a little less sweet than Cointreau for comparison sake.  Ok, so enough about the Creme de Violette, you’re here to find out what impact it has on the Aviation.  Quite a lot I must say.

Aviation with Creme de Violette

I started off with Erik Ellestad’s approximation of the original recipe.  The resulting Aviation is much less sweet than some of the other recipes that I’ve tried, but at the same time not overly sour which is interesting.  In other recipes as the sweetness decreased the drink became quite a lot more sour.  I think this flavor profile is a direct result of the addition of a small bit of simple syrup.  My big gripe about this recipe was that the flavor of the Maraschino and Creme de Violette were not as present as I would like.

Aviation (Erik Ellestad)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin
2 Dashes Maraschino (~1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp Creme de Violette
1/2 tsp Rich Simple Syrup

So, on the tasting continued with a modification of my prefered non-Violette recipe.  I found that the Violette added an entirely new level of complexity in the flavor profile of this drink.  The result was nicely floral and exceedingly pleasing.  In addition the color of this recipe was absolutely gorgeous.  As you can see from the picture above the color is a light violet color that you rarely see in cocktails.  Still wasn’t exactly what I was looking for though.

Aviation (Mod of Dan's Recipe)
2 oz Gin
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Maraschino
1/4 oz Creme de Violette
Touch of Simple Syrup

I next turned to the second recipe list in Diffords Guide #7.  This recipe upped the Violette to 1/2 oz which sounded appealing but lowered the lemon juice to only 1/2 oz as well.  As with the others the color is very striking, really in love with the look of this cocktail.  The aroma of the Violette comes through very nicely.  Although the Violette is the primary background flavor the Maraschino is still there as well.  This recipe has the perfect level of sweetness in my mind but due to the cut in the lemon juice the sourness isn’t where I’d like.

Aviation (Diffords #2 - Classic Recipe)
2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Creme de Violette
1/4 oz Maraschino
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

So where do all of these experiments lead us?  Well, I enjoyed the Violette level of the Diffords recipe, but the sourness was too low.  The sourness and sweetness of the modified recipe are right where I wanted them, but the Violette was a touch low.  A simple combination of the recipes leads to the Cocktail Hacker Aviation.  This recipe produces a cocktail that has a nice level of both sweet and sour.  The Maraschino is present but the Violette becomes the background star.

Aviation (Cocktail Hacker Recipe)
2 oz Gin (Junipero)
1/2 oz Creme de Violette
1/4 oz Maraschino (Luxardo)
1 oz Lemon Juice

The Aviation is an amazing cocktail with or without the Creme de Violette.  However, if you can find a bottle of Violette it will bring this cocktail to a new level of flavor complexity.  The added floral aroma and flavor are amazing, not to mention the color the Violette brings.  If you can’t find Violette at your local liquor stores turn to the internet, there are a few suppliers that can get you a bottle, for a price of course.

Aviation with Creme de Violette is amazingly tasty…

Posted by Reese On January - 29 - 2009

Aviation with Creme de Violette is amazingly tasty. Blog post up later this week.

New blog post: The Aviation – Minus the Violette h…

Posted by Reese On January - 24 - 2009

New blog post: The Aviation – Minus the Violette

The Aviation – Minus the Violette

Posted by Reese On January - 24 - 2009

I entered this week with a bit of trepidation.  You see about a year and a half ago Aaron and I were both just getting in to mixing cocktails.  We decided that with the 4th of July fast approaching we should throw a party and feature gin drinks.  Being new to the game we both looked around on the net and found some drinks that sounded good.  The Aviation was one of the ones we chose and we stocked up on Maraschino and lemons, being gin lovers we had plenty of that on hand.  We used Regan’s recipe from the Joy of Mixology and whipped up our first batch.  The results were, well, unexpected.  Since neither of us had ever had Maraschino before we had no preconceived notion of what this drink might taste like.  Those of you familiar with the flavor of Maraschino likely know where I’m going with this.  This liqueur has a certain funk to it.  The taste is most certainly an aquired one and not what you’re expecting when you hear the words cherry liqueur.

Aviation Cocktail

So, to wrap up that little tale I haven’t mixed one since.  But I knew, deep down, that there must be some merit to this cocktail for it to have survived as long as it has.  So on the tasting schedule it went.  The first recipe I tried was Regan’s, again.  This time I think my pallate has matured because I quite enjoyed the flavor of the Marachino.  That said I don’t feel that this recipe is particularly balanced.  The Luxardo (my Maraschino of choice) completely eclipses the flavor of the lemon juice and the gin (Plymouth) barely shines through as well.  A good start, but I think we can do better.

Next I sampled the recipe from David Wondrich’s Killer Cocktails.

Aviation (Killer Cocktails)
2 oz Gin
2 tsp Maraschino
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

This recipe makes a drink that is much more sour and the gin really shines through in this one.  However, still not the balance that I’m looking for.  I felt the drink could use a touch more sweetness (provided by the increased Maraschino in Regan’s recipe) so I mixed up another, this time adding 1 tsp of simple syrup.  This additional sweetness however, masked the lemon’s sourness almost completely.  D’Oh! Still not what I’m looking for.  As a side note, the recipe from Killer Cocktails is nearly identical to the one in Vintage Cocktails and Spirits, so I chose not to make both.

Next I decided to try a recipe posted by Dan in the comments on my initial Aviation post.

Aviation (a la Dan)
2 oz Gin
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Maraschino
Tiny Dash of Simple Syrup (~1/2 tsp)

This, my friends, is the Aviation I’d been looking for.  The drink is much more balanced with enough sweetness coming from the Maraschino and tiny dash of simple syrup.  The sourness is present and bold, but not over powering and you still get enough of the pleasing Maraschino funkiness.  My only remaining problem was that the Plymouth was masked for the most part.  Thankfully I have lots of other gins to choose from and quickly remedied the situation with some Juniper Green.  This recipe is the one that will go down in the Cocktail Hacker tome of knowledge as my preferred recipe.  Thanks for the excellent tip Dan.

But wait!  You must be wondering what happened with the search for Creme de Violette.  In short, I struck out.  I checked the four largest liquor stores in the Boulder area and none had it in stock.  Even DaveCo, the largest liquor store in the world which claims to have everything, had none.  In fact, they hadn’t ever heard of it.  Liquor Mart offered to special order a bottle but said it would take a least a week to arrive.  I’m not that patient folks.  So, I turned to the interwebs and found that Sam’s Wine had it in stock.  However, due to a typing error on my part the bottle didn’t ship until Thursday.  So…I’ll be putting up another post next week discussing the recipes that lean more toward the classic.

New blog post: The Aviation Cocktail http://cockta…

Posted by Reese On January - 18 - 2009

New blog post: The Aviation Cocktail