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The Classic Aviation Cocktail Recipe

Beautiful and classic. The Aviation cocktail with Crème De Violette is a light blue violet gin cocktail with sweet light floral and cherry flavors.

Aviation Cocktail

This simple and elegant drink is reminiscent of the times when the clear blue skies populated with airplanes was a romantic concept just coming into being.

The Aviation is probably the first violet cocktail. This pretty drink also offers a unique combination of flavor notes.

Gin, cherry, violets, and lemon come together to make this interesting drink. The Crème de violette can be omitted if you can’t find it. But the other flavors will need to be rebalanced according to your personal preference.

This is a perfect drink for a spring or summer party. The lemon and lavender colors are just the right combination for a wedding shower or other celebratory event.

Or it makes a great brunch drink (a bit strong but delicious). Think Mother’s Day!

More cocktails with a classic vibe:

visit our cocktail Section for all sorts of Cocktail Recipes you will love…

Aviation Cocktail
Aviator cocktail is a beautiful drink.

Aviation Cocktail History:

This is a fun cocktail to write about. It’s history is all wrapped up in the early days of twentieth century America.

The original recipe for the Aviation was first printed in 1916 by Hugo Ensslin.

Ensslin apparently created this beauty as the head bartender at the Hotel Wallick in New York. He published the recipe in His book ‘Recipes for mixed Drinks’.

Because the liqueurs were very hard to find this drink was only served in the small assortment of high end bars as a specialty drink for the elites.

Garnishing The Aviation
set a lemon twist on a pick and garnish.

The crème de violette dropped out of the American market place completely for a while.

So the Aviation was made with only the maraschino liqueur for many years. Unfortunately, the Aviation lost its appeal for many and became rather obscure.

Eventually, crème de violette became available again. And the Aviation was revived. Now it’s available in most bars if they happen to carry the crème de violette.

The Classic Aviation Cocktail-Pin Image
The classic aviation cocktail is a tasty as it is beautiful. This recipe is a delicate mix of spirits including creme de violette and gin, it’s easy to make and topped with a lemon twist.

The Aviator:

Did you ever see the movie? It depicts the life of Howard Hughes (played by leonardo diCaprio with Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn).

This movie is a great view of the time period when the Aviation cocktail was a romantic drink offering a feel of the energy of the new industry of aeronautics.

The vibrant lives of the hollywood elites were entwined with the audacious aviation entrepreneur Howard Hughes. He drove the commercial airline industry to new heights. And went a little crazy BTW.

The Aviator Movie reveals it all so well. Highly recommend! Sip an Aviation cocktail while you watch. 🙂

The Aviation Cocktail-Pin Image
The classic Aviation cocktail is a gorgeous and equally delicious drink. Made with gin and creme de violette this beauty is a sweet and stunning beverage topped with a lemon twist.

Aviation Cocktail Ingredients:

Aviation Cocktail Ingredients
Everything you need to make this classic Aviation Gin Drink.


London Dry Beefeater Gin works great for this recipe. However, any good dry gin with a strong juniper flavor profile will work nicely.

Crème De Violette:

We used Rothman and Winters Brand. This is the violette liqueur made and intended for the Aviation. We recommend it.

You won’t find it in your local grocery store. But this gorgeous liqueur is so worth getting.

BevMo Carries this brand and can also order you some.

The crème de violette you choose WILL impact the flavor of the Aviation.

The Maraschino Cherry Liqueur:

Still a bit spendy but Maraschino liqueur lasts a long time and you will find more ways to use it up in your wet bar over time. Available at BevMo.


Use a FRESH lemon and squeeze it right into your shaker for the best flavor. You can also use your fresh lemon to make a lemon twist for the garnish.

The Proper Glass:

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The Aviation is made in a martini glass. We used the coop style Martini glass to give this drink a more classic and retro appeal.

How to Make the Aviation Gin Cocktail:

Here’s a quick visual guide to show you the steps of making the aviation cocktail recipe. Please also watch our video demonstration for making the classic cocktail.

The Aviation Cocktail
The completed Aviation Cocktail.

More Gin Sour Variations:

  • The Aviation is a take off (so to speak) from the gin sour. The sweet liqueurs in the Aviator help offset the (for some) off putting sour lemon flavor.
  • The Moonlight is made with 1 1/2 oz. Gin, 1/2 oz. lime juice, 1/2 oz. Cointreau and 1/2 oz. creme de violette.
  • The Blue Moon Cocktail is made with 2 oz. dry Gin, 1/2 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 oz. Crème de Violette. No Maraschino liqueur in this one.
Aviation Cocktail
Yield: 1 Aviation Cocktail

Aviation Cocktail Recipe (also known as the Aviator)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Beautiful and classic. The Aviation cocktail with Crème De Violette is a light blue violet gin cocktail with sweet light floral and cherry flavors.


  • 2 oz. Gin (London dry Gin)
  • 3/4 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. maraschino Liqueur
  • 1/4 oz. Creme de violette liqueur


  1. Set your cocktail glass (we used a coup style) in the fridge or freezer to chill. About 30 minutes ahead.
  2. Fill your cocktail shaker halfway with ice.
  3. Pour the Gin over the ice. (We used London dry Beefeater brand but your personal favorite will work in this cocktail)
  4. Add the Maraschino and Creme de Violet Liqueurs to the shaker.
  5. Squeeze the fresh lemon juice into the cocktail shaker.
  6. Seal the shaker with the lid and shake vigorously 30 seconds or until the shaker gets really cold.
  7. Pour the chilled Aviation drink into your cold cocktail glass.
  8. garnish with a lemon twist or a single maraschino cherry.



The types of gin used in this drink is not too important since the gin flavors blends well with the liqueurs.

For a deeper violet color increase the amount of creme de violet to taste.


Traditionally this cocktail is served with a maraschino cherry on a pick over the glass top. we used a lemon twist for that lovely pop of color.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 175Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 2mgCarbohydrates 25gFiber 1gSugar 24gProtein 0g

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The Aviation Cocktail-Pin Image
Beautiful and classic. The Aviation cocktail with Crème De Violette is a light blue violet gin cocktail with sweet light floral and cherry flavors.

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