The Original Aviation

August 15th, 2007

Since I first tried the Aviation it has rapidly become one of my favourite cocktails. I love the subtle cherry flavour the Maraschino provides, and the way the flavours balance to create such a crisp, enjoyable drink. However, I’ve always longed to make one using the original recipe, but couldn’t because I didn’t have any Crème de Violette.

Crème de Violette is a deep lavender coloured liqueur that uses Violet flowers to obtain its rather unique taste. Think Parma Violets and you are sort of on the right track. It is notoriously difficult to get hold of but thankfully my new home, London, has several great alcohol shops which stock all manner of wonderful products, including Crème de Violette.

Aviation cocktail with Plymouth gin, Luxardo Maraschino and Monin Crème de Violette bottles in the background

Aviation (Original)

The Crème de Violette adds a very subtle blue hue to the Aviation, so subtle in fact that it is difficult to see in the photo – it looks good in real life though. The taste it provides is also subtle, but definitely provides an interesting extra layer of flavour. It blends well with the Maraschino, producing a funky floral undertone to the gin base. Overall, a small but tasty improvement to an already great cocktail. I wouldn’t say Crème de Violette is essential to the Aviation, but it’s definitely a nice addition.

This drink was also a great way to try out my new home-made Maraschino cherries, which I made using the method Gabriel described recently. They are absolutely delicious, and so much better than the bright red artificial cherries you can buy in the store. I never really used to eat the cherries at the end of the drink, as they were so sickly sweet, but now I look forward to finishing the drink and getting to the cherry!

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Posted in Crème de Violette, Gin, Lemon, Maraschino, Recipes

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28 responses to “The Original Aviation”

  1. Recap Sundays - Other Grandiose Posts from the Mixosphere says:

    [...] The Original Aviation … [Oh Gosh!] [...]

  2. Scotttos Scotttos says:

    I just got my hands on some Crème de Violette this weekend and have been revisiting the Aviation. When I first started trying out this cocktail thing (very recently I might add) the Aviation was a drink that greatly appealed to me. It had the dual pleasure of being both classic and somewhat obscure (but by and large a favorite amongst the internet cocktail crowd).

    My first attempts (Plymouth/Luxardo) yielded a very complex drink but nothing that I was expecting. For all the comments and history I had unintentionally inflated the drink in my mind so when I took that first sip I’ll have to be honest and say I was disappointed.

    But after procuring some CdV, tweaking my ratios, straining my lemon juice, and using a different brand of Maraschino I have finally made an Aviation worthy of what I had hoped it would be.

    That faint blue tint to the drink really helps, it’s gorgeous really….

  3. Jay Jay says:

    The colour is lovely isn’t it? I’m glad you’re enjoying your Aviations now. Personally even sans-violette I think it’s a great drink, but it’s interesting that several people have noted it hasn’t lived up to the hype lately. I’d be interested to hear what your preferred ratio is, and what brand of Maraschino you have been using.

  4. Scotttos Scotttos says:

    I’m stilling messing around with recipes but one that has yielded the best Aviations to date is:

    2oz Gin
    1/2oz Lemon Juice
    2tsp. Maraska Maraschino
    1tsp. Creme De Violette

  5. cocktailnerd » Blog Archive » Spotlight On!: Best of the Blogs - August ‘07 Edition - A blog of most things cocktail and alcohol related says:

    [...] Darcy gives a contrarian view of the ‘Aviation Cocktail’ and Jay tries the original (with Creme de Violette), and still loves it with ‘The Original Aviation’ [...]

  6. Buying Guide » Quality or Obsession? says:

    [...] You would probably think that after BevMo! I didn’t need to go anywhere else. But no, it didn’t even stop there. I was having trouble finding some Stroh 80 and found a lead online stating that Wally’s Wine and Spirits might have a bottle. So off I went, hoping to get there before they closed at 7:30 and wondering what else I would find there. I have to tell you, that place is amazing. Not only is their wine selection top notch (if a little pricey because they’re more a high-end specialty shop), but their spirits collection ranges from the mundane (Smirnoff anyone?) to the exotic (I finally found a bottle of Crème de Violette to make a proper Aviation!). [...]

  7. Perry Perry says:

    My take , and I too just got my creme de violette recently, calls for a little restraint. I’ll give ratios in a moment, but a few notes first. 1. If you are going to share an aviation recipe, name your liquors. The gin makes a huge difference as does the maraschino and creme. 2. Always adjust for your taste if you are making it for youself, this is just what I prefer. That said here is what I do…

    Perry’s Aviaton
    2 oz Hendricks (I typically have Beefeater on hand but had this and it worked great)
    1/4 oz Luxardo maraschino
    1/4 oz Rothman & Winter Creme de violette (odd note on nose but all I can find)
    1/4 oz lemon juice (strained if you are in the mood)
    1 dash Grapefruit bitters
    Shake and strain into a chilled glass
    Garnish as you like (cherry, blackberry, lemon peel, or go commando)

    I haven’t gone back with these proportions to Beefeater, but imagine it will have more of a juniper punch which may not be desirable.

  8. Crispy Potluck: Cocktails dos and don’ts - Crispy on the Outside says:

    [...] you’ve seen how not to make a cocktail, here’s Jacob mixing us a proper drink called an Aviation. This violet-flavored drink was awesome and we do recommend [...]

  9. Aleks Loesch Aleks Loesch says:

    I love this!

    I love it love it love it!

    perhaps too much!

    anyway! Just wanted to point out that no one, EVER! should have one of these down Mahiki in london!

    I ended up having an argument with the barkeeps about what goes in it (they claimed there should be no creme de vi… and about 2 YES 2! shots of lemon juice!

    I ended up getting them to look it up in one of their “antique” cocktail books where the recepie asked for what I said!

    Still didn’t make it properly….. I did get it for free though after betting with them that I was right!

  10. anonymous drinker anonymous drinker says:

    Firstly allow me to congratulate you on a great website.

    I have a question regarding the Creme de Violette. I have seen several recipies of the Aviation some calling for a Creme de Violette and some for a Violette Liqueur. My first question is if there is a difference between the two? I always assumed not, but thought I would ask just in case.

    Also I have always used Liqueur de Violette from the Emile Pernot Distillery, purchased from Liqueurs de France (where I also get my absinthe). I have recently noticed that The Bitter Truth also offers a Creme de Violette. Have you tired this? And if so how does it fair in an Aviation?

    Finally, as I gather you are based in Europe, as am I, and I was wondering you have any reccomendations for good online spirit shops/stores that deliver in the EU? I use TheWhiskeyExchange and TheDrinkShop which have proven good but not great (not an endorsement of any kind), for one they for example dont cary Wild Turkey Russells Reserve Rye (which I really want to try), or good Piscos, to name a few. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.


  11. Jay Jay says:

    Anon – Crème de Violette is the same as violet liqueur, it’s simply the French name which is commonly used. I’m afraid I’ve not tried the Emile Pernot Liqueur de Violette. I have tried the Bitter Truth one – I’ll be doing a full review of their new liqueurs soon but in short their version is quite dry, and very subtle. My favourite is probably the G. Miclo violette which is sold at Gerry’s amongst other places.

    As for mail order, living in London I’m lucky that I don’t need to often, but I would definitely take a look at Drinkology. It’s based in Germany and ran by Stephan Berg, who is one of the men behind The Bitter Truth. They have a great selection of stuff not easily available in Europe, flat-rate shipping and orders I’ve made have always been quick to arrive. Hope that helps.

  12. anonymous drinker anonymous drinker says:

    Jay – Thank you for the tip on the online shops. Drinkology certainly has some very interesting rums and some other scarce spirits, and some things are cheaper than anywhere I have seen (like the Tanq. 10). Once again thank you for the recomendation.

    Oh yes, regarding the Emile Pernot Liqueur de Violette: I cant compare it to anything alse, I can say however that it does have a distinct violet taste, without tasting like grandmothers perfume. I will be looking forward to yout review of The Bitter Truth liqueurs.

  13. Aviator Extraordinaire Aviator Extraordinaire says:

    Well, interestingly, I have just tried the original aviator several times and come up with my own ratios, but that is clearly due to differences in brands of liquor used. I am not a huge fan of Gin’s juniper taste, so have found my favorite gin to be Leopold Bros. American Gin, which has strong notes of lemon and orange over any hints of juniper. It also is suprisingly sweet for a gin. That being said, I did manage to arrive at cocktail nirvana with the following ratios:

    2 1/2 oz Leopold Bros. Small Batch Gin
    1/2 oz Lemon Juice
    1/2 oz Luxardo Marachino Liqueur
    1/2 oz R & W Creme De Violette

    While this tasted tremendous, I am thinking of backing off of the Marachino slightly due to the sweetness of the Gin I am starting with. The end product tended to be a touch sweeter than I think I want. I may also up the lemon juice especially if using a Gin that has less of a lemon overtone than the Leopold Bros.

    Just a fantastic cocktail, however. Creme De Violete is very tasty I must say. Now to try the moonlight cocktail.

  14. Vieux Carré Vieux Carré says:

    I find the Aviation without the créme de violette a good, but unexceptional, cocktail; but add the violette and it becomes simply wonderful–a subtle and complex drink with depth.

  15. Chuck Burns Chuck Burns says:

    I’ve been playing with the Aviation as of late and have finally come up with one I am really happy with. I have tried it with Beefeater and found it to be aweful. Plymouth is pretty good, much better than Beefeater. Boodles doesn’t work at all.

    But today I bought a bottle of Leupolds and of Junipero (from the folks in San Francisco who brew Anchor Steam) and I think I hit the jackpot with both.

    I’ve also been playing with the ratios and my favoite so far is:

    2 oz Leupold or Junepero Gin
    1/2 oz Luxardo Marischino Liq.
    3/4 oz Rothman and Winter creme de Violette
    1/3 oz fresh squezed Lemon

    This is heavier on the Creme de Violette than I’ve seen anywhere else but I love the taste of it; to say nothing of the sublime wonderful color it imparts. As to the Lemon I think 1/2 would also work to but 1/4 surely wasn’t enough.

    At any rate this is what I’ve arrived at and I love the taste and appearance of it.

  16. Perry Willis Perry Willis says:

    A toast to Mr. Chuck Burns! (see previous post)
    I thought I had my ingredients and proportions right for my Aviations, and he has shown me the light: heavier on the creme de violette and lighter on the lemon juice. Plymouth is an inspired choice, and I simply must get my hands on some Leupold or Junepero gin.

    I just made one using your recipe and you have truly nailed it, Chuck. Merci beaucoup, mon frere.

  17. Jason Jason says:

    I like Gary Reagan’s recipe with a slight adjustment to the CdV.

    My recipe is:
    1.5 oz Gin (have used both Tanq 10 and Miller’s)
    0.5 oz Luxardo Maraschino
    0.5 oz Lemon Juice
    2 tsp R&W Creme de Violette

    This balances everything pretty evenly and leaves the drink slightly on the sweet side. This recipe doesn’t rely so heavily on the gin, so what you choose is not as critical. Adding more than 2 tsp of CdV seems to over power the drink and make it too sweet. Adding 2.0 oz of gin makes it too “ginny” and dry.

  18. Chuck Burns Chuck Burns says:


    I was reading something Gary Regan wrote where he said the recipe’s he suggested where not engraved in stone but something we can modify to our own taste. In the recipe I suggested above that used 2 oz of Leupold or Junipero it worked; but was abysmal with Beefeater and Boodles. I don’t even know if going down to 1.5 would have helped.

    I happen to love the taste of R&W CdV so upping the amount works for me. As long as we each arrive at something that pleases us it’s all wonderful. I used to think, when I first starting exploring the world of cocktails, that there was a perfect recipe for every drink. I’ve got quite a few books and few have exact recipes for any given cocktail. And when I look at what is served at most bars…… I was recently served an Old Fashioned where they had scooped out two spoonfuls of juice from the jar of horid marischino cherry’s and where proud of it!

    It’s great that you found something that works for you.

  19. Jason Jason says:


    Haven’t tried your proportions yet, and still need to try out the Ensslin recipe as well. Guess I got some experimenting to do yet. I can see how the extra amount of CdV in your recipe could balance out the extra amount of gin, given the right gin.

  20. The Original Aviation Cocktail says:

    [...] The Aviation is another one of those cocktails that everyone makes a little bit differently. This recipe was taken from Jay Hepburn’s Oh Gosh!, titled The Original Aviation. [...]

  21. Barton Barton says:

    Thanks for this info, ya’ll! I was gifted a bottle of creme de violette recently (brand name escapes me presently), and have been trying to find the best ways of using it. Looking forward to trying this drink (though I had to buy the Luxardo Maraschino for it – what can I say, I’m a Scotch drinker, my drinks cabinet has 20 types of Scotch and not much of anything else). I’m hoping this will surpass my current favorite use for the CdV, which is muddled with fresh lemonade and a sprig of mint with Sunday brunch. Which is only slightly ahead of just pouring it over homemade vanilla ice cream.

    If anyone has other suggestions for CdV (and now Marischino) or links they can share, that’d be wonderful!

  22. Phil Phil says:

    I thought that I would add my .02 here on the Aviation
    ratios that I have tried. The brands that I am using

    Beefeater Gin
    Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
    Rothman & Winter Creme de Violette

    I my first attempt, I used the ratio that is used
    on Robert Hess’s (Drinkboy) video:

    2 oz gin
    1/2 oz Luxardo
    1/2 oz lemon juice (fresh)
    1/4 oz Violet Liqueur

    Disappointingly sour , but I tried a second to be sure :)

    The next time I made a simple ratio adjustment, and added new ingredient:

    2 oz gin
    2/3 oz (4 tsp) Luxardo
    1/3 oz (2 tsp) lemon juice (fresh)
    1/6 oz (1 tsp) Violet Liqueur
    1 small dash Angostura Orange Bitters

    Much Better! I can now detect the violet much better,
    even though slightly less is used.

    When the Beefeater is done, I have access to some Plymouth


  23. ROB ROB says:

    My wife and I like lemon, don’t like the raw taste of the Maraschino, and especially like the aftertaste of the Creme de Violette(although this makes a somewhat purple drink).

    So, after considerable experimentation my ratios are:

    2 oz Bombay Sapphire
    1 oz lemon juice (personally I like a bit more)
    1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino
    3/4 oz Rothman and Winter Creme de Violette

    I also use a lot of ice and shake it for at least 15 sec to both get it really cold and somewhat diluted, then strain it through a fine mesh to get rid of most lemon solids.

  24. Chris Chris says:

    I just picked up a bottle of Ethereal Gin from Berkshire Mountain Distilleries, the orange label botanical blend. It worked particularly well, due to a lack of heavy juniper in the aftertaste (i,e, not like beefeater), with a slightly citrus-leaning herbal edge to the taste.
    Anyway, my proportions :

    2 oz. Ethereal Gin
    1/2 oz. Luxardo
    1/2 oz. R&W CdV
    1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice (I’ll usually strain it, why not?)

    This may not work with most gins, but it certainly works here, I think a London Dry Gin might need different proportions to make it work as well as possible, but it works wonderfully here, and, I imagine would do the same in any other very botanical (but somehow not juniper-heavy) gins.

  25. i hate sleeping alone « radio tania says:

    [...] therefore i am. earlier this summer i wanted to try a different cocktail. a friend recommended the aviation. the sad thing is, i was making it wrong all summer and still loved it. i forgot to buy marashino [...]

  26. Rhys Rhys says:

    Hi Jay, it’s been a while since I was here last…been rather busy :)

    I’ve just finished stocking up on some drinks and I thought of you. I have recently been making aviation with

    50ml Plymouth
    25ml Luxardo
    25ml lemon
    5ml Edmond Briottet Liqueur de Violette (maybe a bot more if you want to see that lovely colour – but I find that anything over 10ml kills the drink)

    It has become one of my all time favourite cocktails, but sadly, it’s not often seen on menus in bars.

    The Edmond Briottet is amazing – I wonder what else I could makle with it? Any suggestions?

  27. Frontier Mixology, Vol. 26; Take to the Skies « Frontier Psychiatrist says:

    [...] until relatively recently, recreations of the Aviation necessarily omitted the crème de violette.  This lacunae was understandable, as the liqueur was simply not available [...]

  28. Greg C Greg C says:

    Go easy on the lemon juice. Let the Gin shine.

    2 oz Gin
    1.2 oz Maraschino
    1/4 oz lemon juice
    1 tsp Violette

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