Last night I wandered into one of my favorite local cocktail spots and ordered an Aviation, that tasty, well-balanced drink with gin, maraschino and fresh lemon juice. A few minutes later, when a nearly purple cocktail was placed in front of me, I assumed there had been some mistake. But when your bartender quotes Gary Regan as to the authenticity of your purple Aviation, it’s hard to argue.
It seems the original Aviation included the little used and hard to find liqueur, Creme de Violette. Gary Regan notes that a 1916 recipe called for two parts gin, one part lemon juice and a couple dashes each of maraschino and Creme de Violette, which “makes for a very sour drink indeed.” Instead, Regan proposes using three parts gin and one part each of the liqueurs and the lemon juice.
While I still love the Aviation sans Violette, or with a more moderate proportion of the liqueur, this new-to-me concoction is quite good. Plus, it gives the drink a nice purplish hue.
1 1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur
1/4 ounce Creme de Violette
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
Shake with ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.