The Aviation Recipe

A bright cocktail of gin, maraschino, and lemon, with crème de violette to add a little intrigue.

Jessica Leibowitz

Record delays. Overbooked flights. Security lines.

Does anyone remember when flying was fun?

In its early days, aviation was just about the most dashing thing around, and the whole idea of taking to the sky was as fantastic a dream as any. Back then, it was all leather flight jackets and pilot's goggles, the roar of the propeller and the wind in your hair; now, we're stuck with cramped seats, missed connections, and walking around in public in our socks.

Aviation's glory days even inspired the creation of a cocktail. Once the secret-handshake drink of the cocktail cognoscenti, today this drink is as common as an extended layover. A mixture of gin, lemon juice and maraschino liqueur, the Aviation is a very friendly introduction to classic cocktails--and let's face it, if you're flying this summer, you're going to need a drink.

Why is it called the aviation? Because the drink's earliest printed recipe (in 1917) called for the inclusion of crème de violette (creme Yvette was a notable proprietary brand), a violet-flavored and colored liqueur that gave the drink a cerulean hue that brought to mind the wild, blue yonder. Production of creme Yvette was discontinued decades ago, but fortunately, the violet liqueur from Rothman & Winter is now widely available. Keep an eye out for a bottle, so you can mix up an authentic Aviation.

Note: There are as many different versions of the Aviation as there are rules about objects you can bring onboard an aircraft. Most concern the proportion of lemon juice to maraschino. You may wish to adjust the measurements to your personal taste.

Recipe Facts

Prep: 5 mins
Total: 5 mins

Rate & Comment


  • 2 ounces gin
  • 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons maraschino liqueur
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon crème de violette


  1. Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker; fill with ice, and shake well for 10 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass; garnish with a cherry. For the Biplane Version of The Aviation, include crème de violette. For Jet-Age version, leave it out.

Special equipment

Cocktail shaker, cocktail strainer

This Recipe Appears In