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aviation cocktail

This classic gin-based Aviation Cocktail takes on an amazing sky blue color from the creme de violette. It has a retro vibe that makes you want to get dolled up and enjoy a good old fashioned Friday night cocktail hour.

Aviation Cocktail by Emily Caruso |

Ah, the aviation cocktail. I came across this cocktail recently amidst some cocktail Friday research and was intrigued first by the lovely dusky blue color. It’s rare to see such a color in the cocktail world and it turns out that this color comes from creme de violette. Plus it’s garnished with a cherry, so I was already sold.

Aviation Cocktail by Emily Caruso |

It turns out that this cocktail has been around since the early 1900’s and was created by Hugo Ensslin, a bartender from New York. While new concoctions are fun, I love the idea of a cocktail with some history, and this drink is full of it.

It’s also full of gin, which is the main ingredient of this drink. While looking up different versions of the aviation, there were some that omitted the creme de violette, but there is some fabulous floral notes that come from that deep bluish purple liqueur that I wouldn’t dare do without.

Just look at that color!

Aviation Cocktail by Emily Caruso |

In addition to the creme de violette, there is also a bit of maraschino liqueur that offers some sweetness to the cocktail and paves the way for a bright red cherry garnish which is never a bad thing. No cocktail hour is complete without a few maraschino cherries.

You’ll notice in the recipe that it calls for fresh squeezed lemon juice, but one night we were feeling extra festive and swapped the lemon juice for Limoncello for an additional kick.

I regret nothing.

Aviation Cocktail by Emily Caruso |

Now, when it came to the gin for this cocktail, we tried a few different kinds. I recently received a few samples of G’vine Floraison gin which has an incredibly unique flavor. It’s a grape-based gin that uses the grape vine flower as a botanical in the gin making process. We found that this gin worked very nicely in this aviation cocktail, playing well with the flavors of the maraschino liqueur and creme de violette.

Aviation Cocktail by Emily Caruso |

I know I say this every Friday, but this cocktail is sky rocketing to the top of the list of favorite cocktails. It does involve some specialty liqueurs, but once you invest in these few bottles I’ve found that it has opened up the door to several other unique mixed drinks.

I’ll be working on some other drinks using creme de violette and maraschino liqueur (not to mention Limoncello) so be sure to keep an eye out. But in the mean time, mix yourself up an Aviation – you won’t be sorry!

Aviation Cocktail by Emily Caruso |

Happy Friday!

Aviation Cocktail Recipe

Yield: 1 cocktail

Prep Time: 5 minutes


1 1/2 ounces gin (I used g'vine floraison gin)
3/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice (or Limoncello)
1/4 ounce creme de violette
maraschino cherry for garnish (optional)


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add gin, maraschino liqueur, lemon juice and creme de violette. Shake until chilled. Strain into cocktail glass and garnish with cherry. Enjoy!
recipe adapted from
August 29th, 2014

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I received a few samples of G’vine gin to try. It turns out that it’s a delicious gin, so I wanted to share it with you! Happy Cocktail Friday!

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13 comments on “aviation cocktail”

  1. Emily!!! How did you know I have a bottle of creme de violet in my bar with zero uses for it? Thank you so much! We just might have to make this tonight!

    • Yes!! You need to make this, especially if you already have a bottle of creme de violette in your cabinet 🙂 We tried it with Limoncello in place of the lemon juice and it’s quite potent that way, so if you want a smoother more mellow drink use the lemon juice 😉 I can’t wait to see how you like it!

  2. I’ve never had creme de violette before! I think I need to buy a bottle. This cocktail is beautiful!!

    • I had never heard of it either, Liz! I was searching for different gin based cocktails and this one just jumped out to me. All of the color comes from the creme do violette, which is a really deep purple/bluish color. Just a 1/4 ounce makes it this color. It’s really incredible! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. Stunning photo! New fan. Love your blog 🙂

  4. Just bought a bottle of creme de violette today, was searching for some recipes and I stumbled across yours!! Not sure how I missed this one. It’s a stunner Emily!

    • Thanks so much, Maria! I still need to experiment more with that fabulous spirit – so unique! What have you made with yours?

  5. We’re thinking about doing this beverage as the signature cocktail for our wedding reception, so I’ve been reading up on it. Thanks for the suggestions!

    I really love that glass in the pictures, I’ve been scouring the internet trying to find it! Do you know who makes them?

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