I've always found it a little sad when people my age attend an event or an upscale restaurant with a proper bar and have no idea what to order. Usually, they settle for a simple highball like a rum and Coke or 7&7. There's nothing wrong with that, but sometimes you want, nay deserve, something more.
This brings me to my favorite cocktail of all time, the Aviation. It was created in the early 1900s by Hugo Ensslin, the head bartender at the Hotel Wallick in New York. According to the PDT Cocktail Book, the drink is rumored to be named after the dawning commercial aviation industry.
To me, it always felt like the drink James Bond should have ordered. It's an elegant, yet relatively simple, cocktail that perfectly balances sweet, sour and floral notes. Beyond that, it's visually compelling, distinguished by its striking violet color.
I started making this after I received the aforementioned PDT Cocktail Book as a gift. My recipe varies slightly from the original, but I think it brings a slightly better balance. Mix a few of these up and you're sure to impress your guests.
- 1.5 ounces gin (I prefer a very floral gin like Hendrick's)
- 0.5 ounce lemon juice (you can use fresh lemon juice if you have it, but I usually use bottled)
- 0.5 ounce maraschino cherry liqueur (a note on this, you want the stuff that's clear; there's some really thick bright red variations out there that will totally overpower the cocktail and throw off the violet color)
- 0.25 ounce crème de violette (it might take a little work to find this)
- 1 maraschino cherry for garnish
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Pour in each ingredient, reserving the cherry for garnish.
- Give it a good shake.
- Strain it into a cocktail glass (AKA a Martini glass) or a coupe glass (I prefer the former).
- Add the cherry to your glass and enjoy.
And don't let anyone tell you that you're Bougie for ordering/making this cocktail. You're sophisticated dammit!