The Aviation cocktail is a classic, first appearing around 1916 in Ensslin’s Recipes for Mixed Drinks. A mix of gin, lemon juice, maraschino liqueur and crème de violette, The Aviation is a variation on the sour (gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup), using the maraschino liqueur as a sweetener.
Harry Craddock included it in his famous The Savoy Cocktail Book, published in 1930, although he left out the crème de violette as it can be tricky to find. (I managed to track down the maraschino liqueur and the crème de violette from Nick’s Wine Merchants, who stock pretty much everything.)
I’ve made The Aviation Cocktail both ways and enjoyed them equally. I do think the addition of the crème de violette makes the cocktail look slightly more special as it adds a tiny hint of blue.
1 teaspoon of Crème de Violette
20ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
10ml sugar syrup
Aside from the difficult to find ingredients, it’s actually an incredibly simple cocktail to make. Place the ingredients into a shaker and add ice. Shake the contents vigorously (I shake until the outside of the shaker is cold) and then strain into a glass (I prefer to use a coupe). Add a maraschino cherry and enjoy!