How to make the perfect Aviation [RECIPE]

Ready for flight: The Aviation
Ready for flight: The Aviation
Joy Summers

Sometimes a girl just wants a Cosmopolitan. The sweet boozy elixir, balanced with just a little lime, goes down like punch and kicks the party into gear. The only problem is sometimes you also find yourself at a craft cocktail establishment where drinks like the Cosmopolitan are unnecessarily derided. Sure, the Cosmo has been lumped in the same category as Green Apple martinis and hair scrunchies, but those who love them are not without hope. There is a pre-Prohibition classic cocktail that can unite the Cosmo flavors with the modern drink movement. A tart and floral concoction, the Aviation picks up its spirit from a lively, juniper-scented hit of gin. 

Today, Shawn Jones of the newly opened Coup d'Etat schools us in how to create the classic version and offers a new-school twist.

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"This is the drink we suggest for people who usually order a Cosmo," says Jesse Held, head barman at Coup d'Etat and its sister spot Parlour. (Although he is quick to point out that they will happily and without judgement make any drink a guest orders.) The tartness and sweet cherry flavor are reminiscent of that old favorite, but the perfume of the Creme de Violette adds an extra layer of sophistication.

"The Aviation is old," adds Jones. "It was first published in a book called Recipes for Mixed Drinks in 1916. It was published again in the 1930s in The Savoy Cocktail book and the Creme de Violette [mentioned in the original version] was left out. This was probably due to the scarcity of the ingredient. By the time Ted Haigh published Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails in 1995 we had few violet liqueurs available in the U.S., but more are available now."

The legend behind the name, the Aviation, is that it suggested a certain amount of danger, as air travel certainly did at the time. And truly, the faint of heart need not apply for this kicky cocktail.

"At Coup D'etat we use Tempus Fugit Liqueur de Violettes and add simple syrup," Jones explains. "That's not to add sweetness but to add body to the drink. We call it adding 'fat.'"

The Aviation [Classic]
1.5 oz gin
3/4 oz lemon juice
2 dashes Maraschino liqueur
2 dashes Creme de Violette

Combine ingredients in a chilled cocktail shaker over ice. Shake vigorously, breaking up the ice a bit. Strain into a martini glass and serve with a maraschino cherry garnish.

Coup d'Etat Aviation
2 oz gin
1/2 oz simple syrup
3/4 oz lemon juice
1/4 oz Luxardo Marachino
1/4 oz Tempus Fugit Liqueur de Violettes

Combine ingredients in a chilled cocktail shaker over ice. Shake vigorously, breaking up the ice a bit. Strain into a martini glass and serve garnished with lemon twist.

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