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Aviation Cocktail Origins – Why is it called Aviation and Who created it?

Aviation Cocktail – One of the oldest gin drinks. Notable with its violet light purple color. Crispy, Citrus and sweet flavor. Aviation is very easy to make craft cocktail that doesn’t necessarily needs some special skills or crazy amount of prep.

Like most of the cocktails made before prohibition era, Aviation has changed few times and was completely forgotten. However it has been rediscovered again couple years ago. Becoming very popular gin cocktail which every mixologyst should know how to make. Because it has a lot of history behind it we need to learn a little more before we actually make it.

Created at the beginning of 20th century by Hugo R Ensslin – head bartender at the Hotel Wallick in New York who first mention it in his book “Recipes For Mixed Drinks”. Aviation cocktail is made in honor of the aviators from late 19th century who were rock stars of their time.  So I have seen a lot of variations of that cocktail. Many mistaken recipes and a lot of improvisation. The most popular variation however is called Gin sour. It is basically the same recipe like the original one but the only difference here is that Aviation is made with Creme De Violette which is not the case with the Gin sour.

Many bartenders believe it is the same drink but I fully disagree. The gin sour drink was first made by a bartender named Harry Craddock. Described in his famous book “The Savoy Cocktail Book” (1930). It is a very tasty variation of Aviation but it is slightly different – gin, lemon juice, maraschino liquor. Similar taste but totally different look.

Ok so lets actually find out how to make the traditional Aviation. History lesson is over. Thank God!!!

Traditional Aviation Cocktail Recipe

2 oz Gin

0.75 oz Fresh Lemon Juice

0.50 oz Maraschino Liquor

0.25 oz Creme De Violette  

Lemon twist for garnish

Cocktail Glass

How to Make it

Add the ingredients in a Cocktail Shaker. Put a scoop of Ice. Shake for 10 seconds. Double strain up in a Coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.Enjoy while it is cold.=p1

Bar Tools You Need To Make It

Cocktail Shaker, Bar Strainer, Conical Strainer, Y Peeler, Citrus Juicer, Bar Knife

Key Ingredients

Creme de Violette

Time To Make

3 mins

Craft Cocktail Flavor

Floral, Citrus, Sweet, Spirit forward, Refreshing

Mixology Chef Recommendation (1-10)

Highly recommended – 9


If you want to impress all your friends or guests I highly suggest u making this old school craft cocktail. Keep it simple and safe this recipe. Believe me I have tried so many variations of that drink and this one is my absolutely favorite recipe.

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And remember – Creating the best craft cocktail is an Art!


“Recipes For Mixed Drinks” by Hugo R. Ensslin 1916

The Savoy Cocktail Book” by Harry Craddock 1930


The Curious Bartender” by Tristan Stephenson 

4 Replies to “Aviation Cocktail – Still Great After All This Years. Try This simple Recipe”

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