Aviation Cocktail Recipe

One of my all time favorite classic cocktails from the early 1900’s. Gin, maraschino liqueur (cherry), crème de violette, and fresh lemon juice.

Aviation Cocktail Recipe

The Aviation cocktail will give you wings. Seriously. I stalked the Aviation cocktail for months before trying it at a local speakeasy. It’s got a slight violet hue and it’s nothing short of amazing. Half of the ingredients are very ordinary, the other half are…say that again?

Aviation Cocktail History

The Aviation drink is a Prohibition-era martini, consisting of gin, maraschino liqueur (cherry liqueur), crème de violette, and fresh lemon juice. The cocktail is said to have been created by Hugo Ensslin, who at the time was head bartender at the Hotel Wallick in New York City. The cocktail was first published in Ensslin’s 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks, cocktail book. The ingredients have remained the same with only slight variations in the parts.

The more I experiment with cocktails from the 1900’s, the more I appreciate the 1900’s in general (seriously, hear me out). It’s amazing to think that a lot of our favorite cocktails we drink today have stood the rigorous test of time so deliciously.

You probably don’t even consciously realize it, but your weekend go-to, be it the Margarita, Gin and Tonic, Cosmopolitan, Old Fashioned, you name it, was probably created by a bartender nearly 100 years ago. I digress.

The Aviation is one of those unheard of treasure cocktails (very similar to the Last Word). It’s a cocktail you’ve probably also never heard of, but need to get to know RIGHT now. Up until a year ago, I had never heard of the Aviation. I started to see it in TV shows, online, in restaurants, EVERYWHERE. It’s one of those things you don’t notice until you actually notice it—and then you see it all over the place.

Aviation Cocktail Ingredients

The Aviation cocktail is smooth, flowery, assertive, yet sweet. Like nothing you’ve ever tasted—so I honestly don’t know what to compare it to. The key ingredient is Luxardo, maraschino liqueur. It adds a very subtle boozy, cherry finish. It’s worth picking up because it appears in so many other classic craft cocktails. If you don’t believe me, you can read a few others here.

How to Make an Aviation

Combine all parts in a cocktail shaker with a large cup of ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled coupe glass with a brandied cherry.

Give the Aviation a shot and see if you sink or soar. It’s one of those cocktails, Patty and I can both agree on. I’m whiskey, she’s fruity, this one is right down the middle and sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Aviation Cocktail Recipe
Aviation Cocktail Recipe

Aviation Cocktail Recipe

  • Author: Shawn Williams
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 5 mins
  • Yield: 1 1x
  • Category: Cocktail
  • Cuisine: American


The Aviation is of my all time favorite classic cocktails from the early 1900’s. Gin, maraschino liqueur (cherry), crème de violette, and fresh lemon juice.



  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 ounces maraschino liqueur (Luxardo)
  • 1/4 ounce crème de violette
  • Maraschino cherry, for garnish


  1. Combine all ingredients (except the cherry) in a cocktail shaker with a cup of ice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Keywords: aviation cocktail