All posts tagged variations

Drink What You Like: Aviation Variations

Much to my embarrassment, I’m a bartender micromanager. I can’t help myself. If I’m paying $10+ for a drink, I want it to be a drink I LOVE, not something that someone who wrote the menu loved or thought others would love.

My most notoriously micromanaged drink is the Aviation. My guy cringes when he sees it on a menu because he knows what will ensue. You see, I love gin, lemon, and maraschino liqueur, and they combine in an Aviation as the perfect drink that works year round. But, things get dicey when the Creme de Violette makes an appearance. In the clutches of a heavy handed bar keep, this floral scented liqueur makes the drink mighty pretty, but for my taste buds, it harkens to my Grandma’s house (African violets, minus the cats).

I don’t like my food or my drinks tasting remotely like bubble bath or Grandma’s house. No honey lavender ice cream for me, for example. The thing is, if you LIKE how that stuff tastes, then fantastic, drink up. But I don’t. So, I often ask bar tenders to leave out the Creme de Violette. The reaction is always stunned silence followed by “are you sure?” They look at me like I’m crazy and that the resultant drink is going to be heinous. I concede that I probably fall somewhere between offensive and annoying. But, I’m not crazy.

There are several different recipes for Aviations, and while the history buffs can prove that the original recipe did have Creme de Violette in it, many subsequent renditions by famed bartenders did not, probably because the stuff was not available. Here’s a chart of some of the different recipes. None of the proportions are the same for any of them! So drink what you love, and love what you drink.

Note: in the photo the drink on the left is Embury’s recipe and the drink on the right is Wondrich’s recipe. FYI, 1 1/2 tsp – 1/4 ounce. So Embury is heavier on the gin, less on the lemon, same on the maraschino and no Creme de Violette, but Wondrich does have the historically accurate recipe, I believe. I admire both writers. Along with Ernest Hemmingway, Thomas Jefferson, and Julia Child, they’d be at my dream team cocktail party.

Jason Wilson, Boozehound David Wondrich, Imbibe! David Embury, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks Ted Haigh, Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails Dale Degroff, The Essential Cocktail Harry Craddock, The Savoy Cocktail Book
Gin 1 1/2 1 1/2 2 2 1/2 2 2 1/2
Lemon Juice 3/4 3/4 1/2 3/4 1/2 3/4
Maraschino Liqueur 1/2 1 1/2 tsp 1/4 2-3 dashes 3/4 2-3 dashes
Crème de violette 1/4 1 tsp