Gin • Sour

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Invented around 1911 by bartender Hugo R. Ensslus at the Hotel Wallick in New York as a variation on the Gin Sour, the Aviation relies on maraschino and crème de violette. That latter ingredient nearly killed the drink outright. Made by steeping violets in wine or raw spirits, crème de violette was omitted from the The Savoy Cocktail Book version of the recipe in 1930, with the resulting concoction a dismal shell of its former self. To add injury to insult, by 1960, crème de violette could not even be purchased in the United States. Indeed, the Aviation was long buried when, in 2007, in response to the burgeoning craft cocktail movement, Rothman & Winter released a classic crème de violette in the U.S. for the first time in more than 40 years. David Wondrich’s inclusion of the cocktail in his book Imbibe! officially brought the Aviation Cocktail back from cocktail purgatory for a modern audience.

The Essentials

Crème de Violette
The Details


2 oz London Dry Gin
.5 oz Crème de Violette
.25 oz Maraschino Liqueur
.25 oz Lemon Juice
Brandied Cherry, for garnish


  • Place gin, juice, maraschino and crème de violette in a tin with ice.
  • Shake well and strain into a chilled coupe.
  • Garnish with a brandied cherry.

Mix it Up

Depending on your taste for sweet or sour, feel free to tweak the ratios of crème de violette to lemon juice.

Recommended Gins: Beefeater, Tanqueray, Plymouth, Bombay London Dry

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