Aviation Cocktail

My favorite cocktail.

Either you love this or not. I happen to love it. I love the floral notes of the creme de violet and of course the purple color.  I’ve started using some of the Empress 1908 gin which is really purple as either all of the gin in this cocktail or part of it. It will make the drink a lot more purple. This gin uses butterfly pea blossoms and that’s where the color comes from.

The Aviation is a classic cocktail made with gin, maraschino liqueur (not the red kind), creme de violet and lemon juice. This cocktail was created by Hugo Ensslin who was head bartender at the Hotel Wallick in Newark back in the early twentieth century and the recipe first showed up in print in 1916. This cocktail is often referred to as a “forgotten classic” but back in the 1990’s young bartenders found the recipe while looking through old cocktail manuals.

A lot of bars do not stock the creme de violet but when they do I get excited to order this drink. When we were on Mackinaw Island a couple of summers ago our resort could make this drink and it was really purple. Not sure what they used but it was delicious. And, this past summer when were were on one of our anniversary trips, we had tea at the Le Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City and before going to tea we had a lot of time to kill so we hung out in the bar and guess what — they could make this cocktail and of course I ordered it.

These days, I make my own if I want a fancy martini type cocktail. Hope you will give it a try and you have to use the Luxardo cherries. They are delicious.

Aviation Cocktail


  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. Luxardo maraschino liqueur clear
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juce
  • 1/4 oz. creme de violet
  • ice to shake
  • Luxardo maraschino cherry one per cocktail


  1. Mix the gin, maraschino liqueur, lemon juice and creme de violet in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for a couple of minutes, strain into martin glass and garnish with the cherry and lemon peel.
  2. Enjoy

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