'A forgotten classic' - The Aviation

'A forgotten classic' - The Aviation | Tayport Distillery

The Aviation Cocktail

It is no surprise that this cocktail was also a result of the prohibition era. Another ‘forgotten classic’, that you will see on many cocktail menus but will only be ordered around 6-7 times a year.

This cocktail rose to the top of the scene just as fast as it fell, as it was included in a collection of cocktails that were deemed the ‘bartender handshake’. We can imagine the dialogue went something along the lines of:

Rick: ‘ Have you heard of the Clover Club? Little bit of creme de framboise and some gin and voila ! It’s all about the froth though mate, all about the froth!’

Joel: ‘ Aye, but have you heard of the Aviation?’

Rick: ‘ The Aviation? Are we talking planes here, mate, or cocktails?’

Joel: ‘ Cocktails mate, ohhh its a good one.  Some gin, lemon, maraschino and creme de violette!’

Rick is presented with a perfectly chilled glass, filled with a stained liquid that is beautifully purple and glistening in the low light. He had never seen something so delicate in all his 2 months as a bartender.

We digress, however you get the idea.

During the cocktail renaissance, new, weird and wonderful flavour combinations were coming out left right and centre with the most popular cocktails becoming some secret language between bartenders. So what happened to the downfall? How come the Aviation lost its touch? Let’s start with where it all began first.

The Aviation was recorded in many cocktail books, most notably the Savoy Cocktail Book. It began its second revival in the 1990s, where according to the Savoy recipe it only included gin, lemon and maraschino. It wasn’t until later when the Hugo Ensslin recipe was discovered that the fourth ingredient of creme de violette was added. Bartenders fascination sparked at this new ingredient and soon launched it into a second wave of popularity. 

Most popular bartenders are advocates of the violette-less version of the cocktail, with claims that many of them find it too ‘sour and perfumed’. So for this recipe you can choose from the Savoy Recipe without creme de violette OR the new recipe:



100mls Wild Rose Gin

50mls Lemon Juice

25mls Creme de Violette

25mls Maraschino

Cherries to garnish


Top your shaker up with ice, pour in all the ingredients in order. Shake hard for 10 - 15 seconds. Double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with some cherries, ether skewered or draped in like ours. 



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