Aviation: The Perfect Cocktail This Holiday Weekend

Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end to summer, is here. Perhaps you’re tired of the cocktails of summer — Gin and Tonic, Mint Julep, and Margarita — but you aren’t quite ready to turn to the Manhattans and neat scotches typical of the long nights of fall and winter.

The Aviation is the perfect cocktail for aviation enthusiasts looking for a new drink for this long, relaxing Labor Day weekend. This pre-Prohibition cocktail was invented by Hugo Ensslin in New York City in 1911, but the Aviation didn’t appear in print until his 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks.

Nobody really knows how the cocktail got its name. Some say it was an homage to the growing popularity of aviation at the time. Others claim that the blue hue of the drink serves as a reminder of the friendly skies. Blogger palatejack offers a different explanation for the name: “With its faint robin-egg blue color, it is a cocktail that evokes the jeopardy between the perils of early flight and the wonder of a bird’s eye view.”

While it has never been as popular as other classic cocktails, like the Martini, Sidecar, or Tom Collins, it’s unique and delicious. If you’re looking for a classy, distinctive cocktail for your party or jet this weekend, try an Aviation.

Here’s the original recipe:


  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 ounce maraschino liqueur
  • 1/6 ounce crème de violette
  • Maraschino cherry for garnish

Combine liquid ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake until cold, and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

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