Doin’ the Home Thing

There is likely no other town in America where food preparation at home is so glorious. Most of our great chefs learned the craft at their mother’s, grandmother’s, aunt’s or dad’s side. 

This tribute to generations has not fully translated to cocktails. I guess the prevailing view is that the bars are so good and adept at their craft, we can go out and have a great mixed drink, putting someone else in charge of drink preparation. 

Well, let’s advance the mixologist’s craft and do the home-thing. We will keep it simple, straightforward and fun. 

The “Aviation Cocktail” was invented around 1916 by a German immigrant to America, Hugo Ennslin, who was “behind the stick” at a number of East Coast bars and restaurants. Sadly, late in his life, he was unable to continue his mission to make a legal Aviation Cocktail as he committed suicide in 1928, before Prohibition ended.

The name of the drink did indeed come from the aeronautical success of the Wright Brothers who were still considered heroes in the days of World War I which saw the world’s first air battles.

One of the ingredients, Crème de Violette, has been both in and out of favor during most of the 20th century, but it is with us now. It gives the drink its distinctive color of the twilight sky. 

A word of caution: while the recipe is simple, the exact proper measure of each ingredient is crucial. Even a little too much or too little of any ingredient dramatically changes the taste and aroma of the cocktail. Measure all ingredients precisely during preparation.

Aviation Cocktail

2 oz. Gin

1/2 oz. Maraschino Liqueur

1/4 oz. Crème de Violette or Crème Yvette

3/4 oz. Fresh lemon juice

Garnish: Brandied cherry

Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with brandied cherry. With thanks to


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