Aviation Cocktail Recipe

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Cocktail Type


Great for

Dinner Party



A perfectly dreamy Aviation Cocktail

Looking up an Aviation cocktail recipe, are we? Good on you – you are totally ahead of the curve! See, while the Aviation is a classic gin cocktail that dates back to the dusty turn of the 20th century, it’s also very much on-trend at the moment.  

Summer gin cocktails have been enjoying a lengthy moment in the limelight, and discerning foodies are making it their mission to find the best gin cocktails wherever they go. Perhaps this is because the younger generation is a little more refined and willing to take risks, or perhaps we’re all yearning for a bygone era of glamor.  

Whatever the case may be, classic drinks are back in a big way, and learning how to make an Aviation cocktail at home is a great way to hone your hosting skills to perfection.  

Aviation cocktail recipe

Even though this Insta-worthy cocktail can look pretty tricky, it’s actually very easy to assemble once you’ve stocked up the somewhat unusual ingredients. From there, it’s an absolute cinch from shake to serve. 



The best gin for an Aviation cocktail is a London Dry gin


This drink is very striking so go easy on the garnishes & let it shine


Pairs wonderfully with aged cheese and dark chocolate torte



1 Person

60 Ml

2 Oz

2 Parts

15 Ml

0.5 Oz

0.5 Parts

Maraschino liqueur 
7.5 Ml

0.25 Oz

0.25 Parts

Crème de violette 
22.5 Ml

0.75 Oz

0.75 Parts

Lemon juice, freshly squeezed 
To garnish, a brandied cherry 


Poster Preview Image

Add the gin, maraschino liqueur, crème de violette, and lemon juice to a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled


Strain into a cocktail glass

What is crème de violette?

Crème de violette is a low-proof, dark-blue liqueur made using violet blossoms. This is if you get the real thing, which can be a little pricey. There are also brands that use artificial violet flavouring, and these are more affordable.  

As you can imagine, a flower-based liqueur smells flowery and sweet, but it also has a well-defined earthy note that you won’t necessarily expect at first whiff. It’s light on the tongue and primarily used as a sweetener in cocktails. When paired with gin, as it is in the Aviation cocktail, it provides a lovely counterbalance for the spirit’s herbal notes. 

How to achieve a signature bright purple Aviation cocktail

The easiest way to make the pretty blue Aviation cocktail is to use crème de violette as directed in this recipe. However, you could also take a longer way around if you’re feeling a little extra.  

There are gins on the market that are infused with butterfly pea blossom, which turns it naturally blue. When you add lemon juice to this type of spirit, it affects the pH balance and turns it purple. In fact, you could also go hunting for butterfly pea tea blossoms, which are dried and used for tea, to tinge your go-to gin a striking shade of purple yourself.  

How strong is an Aviation cocktail?

A classic Aviation contains two ounces of gin, half an ounce of maraschino liqueur, and a quarter ounce of crème de violette. This means it’s on the stronger end of the cocktail spectrum, at around 27% ABV.  

By comparison, an Espresso Martini comes in at around 17.2% ABV, a Strawberry Daiquiri at 12.3% and a Pina Colada at 9.8%. A classic Martini is a bit stronger than the Aviation, at 28.4% ABV.  


The Aviation cocktail is one of the many amazing drinks that were invented by a rather prolific and talented bartender by the name of Hugo Ensslin in the early 1900s. German-born, this hard-working fellow worked his way up along the hotel food chain to become the head bartender of the Hotel Wallick in New York City. This is where he ultimately compiled a bar book of 400+ drinks recipes — of which the Aviation is one. 

Every cocktail you will ever hold in your hand is first 'tasted' by your eyes, and in this arena, the Aviation always gets a standing ovation. Then, at first sip, you are met with a heady sweet-yet-sour flavour of gin and cherry, makes for a very striking cocktail indeed. Serve this showstopper aperitif for pre dinner drinks or special occasions to impress the crowd with something unsual.

This cocktail is quite mesmerising on it's own but for that extra special touch, you can add a piece of lemon peel or a maraschino cherry on a skewer. If you have fresh lavender on your balcony, a sprig or two could look pretty spectacular too.

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