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Whence the name Aviation and how could a cocktail be blue-colored without containing blue curaçao?

The word “Aviation”  is historically related to the verb “avier” (synonymous flying) and derives from the Latin word “avis”, which means the bird”. The recipe for the Aviation Cocktail calls for a violette flavored liquer (called creme de violette) which gives a floral hint and a  light sky-blue color to this gin based concoction. And I suppose that this explains the name. This sour, crisp and citrus driven drink was invented a few years before the American Prohibition (1920-1933). Hugo Ensslin, a New York bartender at the Wallick Hotel, is credited with creating this wonderful combination of ingredients. Although it is a real classic gin cocktail, it was ignored until the 21st century. But two things happen that helped in Aviation’s revival: Firstly, bartenders and cocktail lovers started searching for vintage cocktails of earlier eras. Secondly, creme de violette liquers were available again. Read the instructions below and create an Aviation Cocktail, like the old days.


  • 60 ml gin
  • 25 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 15 ml Luxardo Maraschino liquer
  • 1 barspoon creme de violette

Pour all the liquids into a mixing glass. Add lots of ice. Shake vigorously. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.