Aviation Cocktail: the best recipe for a beautiful classic cocktail

Total time: 5 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 1 person
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By Cookist
2 ounces
maraschino liqueur
1/4 ounce
crème de violette liqueur
1/4 ounce
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 ounce
black cherry, for garnish

Fans of a well-made gin cocktail will adore the Aviation cocktail. Made from dry gin, crème de violette, maraschino liqueur, and lemon juice, this beautifully balanced cocktail hits all the right notes. The Aviation was first created by Hugo Ensslin, an early 20th-century bartender in New York.

It has a flavor profile similar to a gin sour (the Aviation is often considered a variation on the gin sour because it features both gin and lemon juice, with a fresh, floral taste. The Aviation gets its signature gorgeous violet color from the crème de violette.

Strength-wise, the Aviation is usually about 27 percent alcohol, which makes it a reasonably strong cocktail. It's not quite as potent as a gin martini, but if you drink a few, you'll definitely feel the effects! Aviation cocktails are perfect as an aperitif, and their stunning color makes them ideal for serving at parties.

Tips for the Best Aviation Cocktail

Use a high-quality dry gin to make your Aviation. London dry gins tend to work best.

If you don't have maraschino liqueur, any type of cherry brandy will do as a substitute.

To make a bold impression on your guests, try garnishing your aviation with candied violets or flamed lemon peel.

Aviation Cocktail Variations 

You can use crème de cassis, rose liqueur, or another fruit or floral flavored liqueur instead of crème de violettte in your Aviation.

For a smoother cocktail, add a barspoon of simple syrup to your drink.

For a milder flavor, swap gin for vodka.

Omit the maraschino liqueur to make a Blue Moon. Mix gin, lime juice, Cointreau, and crème de violette to make a Moonlight.

How to Make an Aviation Cocktail

Pour the gin, maraschino liqueur, crème de violette, and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

Shake well, then pour into a chilled Martini glass.

Garnish with a flamed lemon peel.


Don't forget to chill your cocktail glasses before mixing up your drinks! Aviations should always be poured into a cold glass.

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