My post on The Bitter Truth’s fantastic Cocktail Bitters Traveller’s Set has already referred to the golden age of travel. This drink is another that brings to mind images of the glory days of Pan Am and luxury air travel.
The Aviation was an ideal at-seat serve as you drift along at hundreds of miles an hour above the clouds with not a care in the world – a million miles away from the modern pile ’em high approach to air travel. The origins of the Aviation are unknown, but it was first published in Hugo Ensslin’s Recipes for Mixed Drinks, a 1916 guide to the drinks served in New York’s Hotel Wallick.
The Aviation is effectively a tune up of the Gin Sour (gin, lemon juice, sugar) with a sweetening hit of maraschino. The traditional recipe went as follows:
- Add a large measure of gin, the juice of half a lemon, a barspoon of maraschino and a barspoon of crème de violette to a shaker of ice.
- Shake well and strain into a martini glass.
- Garnish with a cherry (or twist of lemon peel).
This recipe creates a delightfully sour drink with a hint of blue sky courtesy of the crème de violette. However, my homebar is, as yet, lacking a bottle (it’s on the list) so I prefer the modern version which excludes the hard to find violet-brandy liqueur.