Aviation Cocktail recipe

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The Aviation cocktail uses a touch of one of the lesser known and harder to find liqueurs in the world: creme de violette. It’s just what it sounds like – a liqueur that tastes like violets.

Pale violet Aviation cocktail with cherries

This drink recipe combines that touch of violet flavor with a double dose of gin, a good amount of lemon juice and a touch of maraschino liqueur. The overall flavor is citrus with notes of herbs and flowers and that bit of cherry to bring it all together. It’s mostly familiar, but with a hint of something unique and hard to place, but enjoyable.

Closeup of Aviation cocktail with cherries fallen to bottom of glass

This is a powerful drink, with three ounces of gin. With one and a half ounces of lemon juice and only a half ounce of combined sweet liqueurs, it’s a rather dry cocktail. If it’s not sweet enough for you, you could definitely bump up the amount of creme de violette or maraschino liqueur, or both to keep the flavor balanced. Be sure to use a gin you like – Bombay Sapphire, Hendrick’s and Tanqueray Ten are good choices.

Overhead view of Aviation cocktail served on bamboo placemat

Food pairings are a little bit tricky. This drink goes well with delicate sweets, like a rice pudding or a berry shortcake.

Creme de violette is not sold at every liquor store I’ve been to, so you may need to hunt around or even special order it. I’ve never had too much trouble finding it, but it could be difficult if you don’t live anywhere near a city of any size. It’s also not available at every bar. In fact, I’d guess it’s not available at most bars, so don’t assume you’ll be able to order this at bars or restaurants.

Aviation cocktail in front of bottles of liquor

You may also want to check out the Eagle cocktail, which also features Creme de Violette and gin.

Aviation Cocktail Recipe

  • 3 ounces gin
  • 1 1/2 ounces lemon juice
  • 1/4 ounce creme de violette
  • 1/4 maraschino liqueur

Chill your liquors beforehand. Pour ingredients into a martini glass and stir. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.