Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Aviation

(The Aviation. Ingredients pictured right.)

The Aviation made its official debut in print around 1916 in a little book called Recipes for Mixed Drinks by Hugo Ensslin. The original recipe contained an ingredient called creme de violette. This liqueur gave the drink its pale gray and slight lavender hue. Due to its  discontinuation around the 1930's barkeeps began to alter the recipe. Harry Craddock, the legendary American bartender who left Prohibition in the States to tend bar at the Savoy in London where he created and popularized some of the most famous cocktails to date, printed a revised version of the Aviation in his Savoy Cocktail Book. Craddock's version called for 2/3 dry gin, 1/3 lemon juice and two dashes of maraschino, ditching the now defunct creme de violette; a recipe most bartenders would follow from then on. That is until the recent cocktail resurgence in the 1990's when creme de violette made its grand (although limited) return to the market.

The original Aviation recipe as seen in
"Recipes For Mixed Drinks.
One thing 320 Main is all about is serving up the best cockatails out there, which means Jason Schiffer and the gang are constantly changing and honing in their recipes, either via their own trial and error, or by taking cues from fellow members of the craft. Recently some friends introduced Jason to a version of the Aviation cooked up by fellow spirits blogger Jason Wilson of Boozehound. It was love at first sip. Wilson, refines the original recipe down to a tighter formula with more proportional ingredient measurements making it brighter and more well balanced. It was immediately apparent that 320 Main had to adopt Wilson's version.

The Aviation
As Perfected By Jason Wilson

1 1/2 oz Beefeater Gin
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino
1/4 oz Creme de Violette

"What's great about this cocktail is it is a perfect aperitif. The fresh lemon juice stimulates the appetite with its citric acid while the Maraschino Liqueur dries the back palette." 
- Jason Schiffer


  1. I just made one of these and loved it. I'm curious...your recipe indicates four ingredients but your picture shows five. What's in the squeeze bottle? Cheers, Eric

  2. Eric,

    Thanks for noticing! that's the love we add to all of our drinks here at 320 :)

    Bad joking aside, we used to make our Aviation with 1tsp of Gum Syrup (Gomme) because I felt the Aviation was just too acidic and needed a slight roundness without adding too much sweetness which Gum Syrup can provide. I found Jason Wilson's recipe after the photo shoot for this post. We rewrote the post and didn't even think about the picture being wrong. I'll have to have our photographers re-shoot that. Again thanks for bringing it to our attention!!