The Aviation Cocktail is a blast from the past, a beautiful cocktail with a deep purple color that’s all about balance – a touch of floral flavors, a sweet taste, and a gin kick that’ll leave you wanting another round.

Close up of an aviation cocktail in a coupe glass with a lemon slice.

Looking for an iconic cocktail to take you to new heights?

With its hint of floral mystery (thanks to that elusive violette liqueur), the Aviation is a one-way ticket to a more intriguing cocktail hour.

There’s something undeniably romantic about the cocktail culture of the Prohibition Era. Speakeasies shrouded in secrecy, bathtub gin with questionable provenance being used in cocktails like  Bees Knees and Southside, and cocktails with names that hinted at a bygone glamour – like the Mary Pickford. These weren’t just drinks. They were little escapes in a glass, a rebellion against a dry (and frankly, boring) time.

Watch 🎥 How to Make this Gin Aviation

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What Is an Aviation Cocktail?

The Aviation cocktail falls squarely into this category. This floral cocktail first appeared in 1916 in the Savoy Cocktail Book by Hugh Enslinn, head bartender at the Hotel Wallick in New York City. It quickly became a Prohibition-era favorite, but its popularity took a nosedive in the 1960s when crème de violette, a key ingredient, became difficult to find in the U.S. Thankfully, the liqueur’s return in 2007 has led to a resurgence of the Aviation.

Thankfully, this classic gin cocktail has experienced a resurgence in recent years. In 2007, an importer brought crème de violette back to the United States, coinciding with a growing interest in historical and handcrafted cocktails. The classic Aviation has returned, offering a taste of the past with a fresh perspective.

This beauty boasts a classic dry gin base like a smoked martini, dry martini, or a gimlet but whispers of something more with a touch of maraschino liqueur for a hint of sweetness and a dash of crème de violette, a floral liqueur that lends the drink its captivating sky-blue hue. It’s a cocktail with a wink and a secret ingredient, a delicious reminder that even in the midst of Prohibition, a little bit of glamour could still take flight.

Side shot of a violet aviation gin cocktail.

What you’ll love about this recipe:

  • FLIRTY FLAVOR PROFILE – Tired of predictable cocktails? The Aviation is a lovely dance on your palate. Gin’s familiar kick gets a playful nudge from sweet maraschino liqueur, and the whole thing gets a whimsical lift with a whisper of floral violet. It’s a flavor adventure that won’t leave you feeling like you’ve been down this road before.
  • GORGEOUS GARNISH – Let’s face it, presentation matters. The Aviation isn’t just delicious. It’s a feast for the eyes. The vibrant blue hue (thanks to the crème de violette) is practically begging for a photo op.

What You Need to Make an Aviation Cocktail

  • Gin: This is the base spirit of the cocktail, providing a juniper-forward backbone. And no, you don’t need Aviation gin to make this cocktail (but thanks to their snazzy marketing, we see why’d you want it).
  • Maraschino cherry liqueur: This sweet cherry liqueur adds a touch of sweetness and a subtle hint of cherry flavor. It balances the tartness of the lemon juice and complements the floral notes from the creme de Violette.
  • Creme de Violette: This unique liqueur is what gives the Aviation its signature name and beautiful violet hue. It has a delicate floral aroma and flavor reminiscent of lavender or violets.
  • Lemon juice: A squeeze of fresh lemon juice adds a necessary tartness to the drink. It cuts through the sweetness of the other ingredients and brightens up the overall flavor profile.
  • Dehydrated orange slice (garnish): While not essential, a dehydrated orange slice adds a pop of color and a touch of citrusy aroma to the finished drink.

How to Make an Aviation Cocktail

  • Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker or glass filled with ice. 
  • Stir or shake to combine. 
  • Strain into a coupe cocktail glass and garnish with a dehydrated orange slice. 

Expert Recipe Tips

  • Toss your coupe glass and cocktail shaker in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before you start shaking.
  • The Aviation is traditionally made with a dry gin, something like a Bombay Sapphire or a Hendrick’s. But hey, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can experiment with a floral gin – the extra floral notes can really complement the crème de violette. Just don’t go too crazy – you still want that juniper backbone from the classic gin.
  • Liqueur de Violette can be a little tricky to find. Don’t worry, you have options! Some folks online recommend using a violet liqueur called “Crème Yvette” – it’s a bit sweeter than the traditional crème de violette, but it can work in a pinch. If you’re feeling really fancy, you can even make your own violet syrup by steeping violet petals in simple syrup.

How to serve this cocktail

Serve this purple drink in a chilled coupe glass for the ultimate elegant presentation.

Now you have everything you need to make your very own Aviation cocktail, a little taste of the Jazz Age in a chilled coupe glass. It’s a classic cocktail recipe that’s both easy to make and endlessly beautiful to sip – a testament to the bygone era of speakeasies and glamorous garnishes. If you try this recipe, please rate the recipe card and leave a comment downbelow to help out the next reader! 

Bright violet aviation cocktail in a coupe glass with a dehydrated lemon.

Aviation Cocktail Recipe

The Aviation cocktail is a refreshing and floral drink for gin lovers. It mixes gin with a touch of maraschino liqueur for sweetness, a splash of lemon juice for tartness, and a hint of crème de violette for a unique, floral aroma and a beautiful purple hue.
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Cocktail Recipes
Author: Kita
5 minutes
Serves: 1


  • cocktail shaker
  • Stirring spoon
  • Strainer
  • Coupe Glass


  • 2 oz gin
  • ½ oz maraschino liqueur
  • ½ oz Creme de violette
  • ¾ oz lemon juice
  • Dehydrated orange slice - for garnish


  • Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker or glass filled with ice.
  • Stir or shake to combine.
  • Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with a dehydrated orange slice.


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Serving: 1g | Calories: 216kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.03g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 27mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Nutritional informations provided as a courtesy and is only an approximatation. Values will changes based on ingredients used.

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Recipe FAQs

The exact reason remains a bit of a mystery (like many cocktail origins!), but some speculate the vibrant blue color might have been a nod to the early days of air travel.

The Aviation is a delicate balance of sweet and tart, with a subtle floral kick from the crème de violette. The gin provides a juniper backbone, while the maraschino liqueur adds a touch of sweetness. The fresh lemon juice cuts through all that sweetness and keeps things nice and refreshing. It’s like a gussied-up gin sour with a touch of floral perfume!

The Aviation is a medium-bodied cocktail. The gin packs a bit of a punch, but the sweetness and tartness balance it outnicely. Always drink responsibly, of course!

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