Aviation Cocktail Recipe

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Aviation Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Aviation cocktail was created in the early 20th century by Hugo Ensslin, a bartender at the Hotel Wallick in New York City. The cocktail is named after the aviation industry, which was rapidly growing at the time. The drink became popular among pilots and travelers, and its unique combination of flavors made it a favorite among cocktail enthusiasts.

  • The Aviation was first published in Hugo Ensslin's 1916 book 'Recipes for Mixed Drinks'
  • The original recipe called for crème de violette, which gives the drink its signature pale blue color
  • The cocktail experienced a resurgence in popularity in the early 2000s, thanks to the craft cocktail movement

How Aviation Tastes?

The Aviation cocktail is a well-balanced mix of sweet, sour, and floral flavors. The gin provides a strong, juniper-forward base, while the maraschino liqueur adds a touch of sweetness. The lemon juice brings a bright, zesty acidity, and the crème de violette imparts a delicate floral note.

Interesting facts about Aviation

  • The Aviation is considered a classic pre-Prohibition cocktail
  • The drink's pale blue color is reminiscent of the sky, which is fitting for a cocktail named after the aviation industry
  • Some modern variations of the Aviation omit the crème de violette, resulting in a clearer, less colorful drink


A few good options for Aviation are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose


The gin is the backbone, providing a strong herbal canvas for the other flavors. Not too heavy at 2 oz; any more and you might as well be flying the plane! Less? And your Aviation could be lacking altitude. If you skip it, you're walking not flying.

Emma Rose

Maraschino Liqueur

This adds a subtle almond-like sweetness at just 0.5 oz. Too much and it overpowers, too little and the complexity is lost. No Maraschino? It's like leaving your luggage at the airport.

Alex Green

Lemon Juice

0.75 oz gives that necessary acidic balance, like a gust of wind in your propeller. More might tilt the cocktail into sour turbulence; less and it could be overly sweet. Lemon juice missed? It's like forgetting to refuel.

Mary Mitkina

Crème de Violette

This floral fancy is used sparingly at 0.25 oz because it's strong! Like carrying a bouquet with your carry-on. Forget it, and you miss out on the sky-blue hue and a layer of flavor. It's the difference between first-class and economy.

Emma Rose

Maraschino Cherry

A single cherry is the classic garnish, the landing gear of the drink. It’s the final accent, both visually and taste-wise. No cherry? The journey still ends, just not as ceremoniously.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Aviation Drink

  1. Chill a coupe glass by filling it with ice and setting it aside
  2. Combine the gin, maraschino liqueur, lemon juice, and crème de violette in a cocktail shaker
  3. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds
  4. Discard the ice from the chilled coupe glass
  5. Strain the cocktail into the chilled coupe glass
  6. Garnish with a maraschino cherry

Pro Tips

  • Use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor. Bottled lemon juice can be too sour and overpower the other ingredients
  • Shake the cocktail shaker until it's frosty. This helps to properly chill the drink and mix the ingredients
  • Use a high-quality maraschino liqueur. Cheaper brands can be overly sweet and ruin the balance of the cocktail

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Cheese Platter: A selection of mild cheeses, such as Brie or goat cheese, can complement the delicate floral notes of the Aviation cocktail without overpowering it.
  • Seafood: Lightly seasoned shrimp or scallops can pair nicely, their natural sweetness echoing the cherry and citrus elements of the drink.
  • Fruit Salad: A fresh fruit salad, especially one with berries, can play well with the cherry and citrus profile of the Aviation.

Drink Pairings

  • Champagne: A brut Champagne provides a refreshing contrast to the Aviation's sweet and sour notes.
  • Mineral Water: A chilled glass of mineral water with a lemon slice keeps the palate clean between sips of the cocktail.

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What you could change in Aviation

  • Gin: You can use vodka if you're not a fan of gin. It will change the flavor profile, but the cocktail will still be delicious
  • Maraschino Liqueur: If you can't find maraschino liqueur, you can use a cherry brandy or cherry liqueur
  • Crème de Violette: This can be hard to find. You can omit it, but the cocktail will lose its signature color

Explore all drinks starting with A here

And of course - twists🍹

Elderflower Aviation

Swap out the maraschino liqueur for elderflower liqueur, such as St-Germain, and reduce lemon juice to 0.5 oz. It'll transform your cocktail into a floral garden at 30,000 feet. Expect a smoother takeoff with a sweetly sophisticated landing.

Sunset Aviation

Add 0.5 oz of Aperol to the original recipe and watch your cocktail blush like a sunset on the horizon. The bitterness will add a new layer making you wish for an in-flight movie to match.

Jet Black Aviation

Introduce 0.5 oz of activated charcoal simple syrup to turn your drink into the dark skies of nightlife flying. It'll be a conversation starter at your cocktail party, though it's no sipping on autopilot, the taste is as bold as its looks.

In case you forgot basics how to make Aviation

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Aviation

How should I prepare the maraschino cherry garnish?

It's typically recommended to rinse the maraschino cherry to remove some of the syrup before using it to garnish the cocktail.

What kind of gin would you recommend for an Aviation?

A London Dry Gin works best for this cocktail to complement the sweet and floral ingredients.

Can I use lime instead of lemon?

The taste will be different because lime is slightly more bitter and less sweet than lemon. It's best to stick to the recipe and use lemon for an authentic Aviation cocktail.

What alternatives can I use if I don't have a cocktail shaker?

You can use a mason jar with a lid or two glass cups. Just ensure they are sealed correctly to prevent spills.

How can I give my Aviation cocktail a modern twist?

Change the garnish! Use a lemon zest twist or a luxardo cherry for a different aesthetic and taste.

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