Creme de Violette

The Aviation

by Will on October 21, 2010

This is a cocktail that practiced and worldly connoisseurs will often name as their favorite. I’ve served it to a number of guests and they almost always are wildly enthusiastic about it.

1 1/2 oz. gin

1/4 oz. Maraschino liqueur

1/8 oz. creme de violette

1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice

Shake or stir, serve straight up with a cherry garnish

Now, two of those ingredients are rare and somewhat pricey. Most people don’t just have them sitting around. But I can assure you that if you buy a bottle of each, they will last you a very long time. Both liqueurs have such forceful flavors that they can only be used in tiny amounts. Also, the gin needs to be a fairly smooth, flowery gin like Beefeater, not a spicy gin like Hendrick’s.

The cocktail’s origins are obscure. It seems to have had the misfortune of being invented right before Prohibition, and thus it did not really establish itself the way that martinis and Manhattans had been able to. I have evidence that the aviation is now making a comeback, though, as the bartenders at the fancy places nearby are familiar with the recipe. I hope the trend continues.

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