The Aviation Cocktail Recipe

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In the world of fancy cocktails, there is a fundamental divide between focusing on flavor and focusing on appearance.

It is unclear whether it is more important to make an attractive cocktail or a tasty one. While many cocktails do try to straddle this line and provide a bit of compromise for both, most of them are an attempt at compromise.

There is one outlier, though: the Aviation cocktail. This drink manages to combine a uniquely beautiful appearance with an absolutely amazing taste.

Aviation Cocktail in a coup glass with olive and a slice of orange

The Guide To The Aviation Cocktail

A recipe over a century old, the Aviation cocktail is a gin cocktail that combines acidity, sweetness, and a splash of purple color to make it tasty and beautiful at the same time.

Created by Hugo Ensslin, a head bartender at an upscale New York hotel in the early years of the 20th century, this drink mixes Gin with lemon juice, maraschino liqueur, and, optionally, a little splash of Crème de Violette.

It is the Crème de Violette that sets this drink apart from any other simple gin drink. A pungent violet liqueur, this addition turns the cocktail from an icy great to a crystal clear bright purple.

However, there is some contention regarding the Aviation cocktail; some people prefer to completely omit the Crème de Violette, claiming that it adds too much sweetness and counteracts the balance of the drink.

If you are having trouble finding some Crème de Violette, consider searching online. It might seem a waste to buy just one bottle, but as long as you keep it sealed in the fridge, it will last you basically forever.

Whatever your preference, here are the simple steps to making your very own Aviation cocktail.

  • 2 Ounces Gin
  • ½ Ounce Maraschino Liqueur
  • ¼ Ounce Crème de Violette
  • ¾ Ounce Fresh Lemon juice

To make, mix all your ingredients together into a cold shaker with plenty of ice and shake it for 15 seconds.

Once done, pour into your chosen glass of choice, ideally with a double strain to avoid ice shards, and enjoy.

Aviation Cocktail Ingredients with a a coup glass

How To Service Your Aviation Cocktail

The icy and sometimes callous world of cocktail making is incredibly divided as to the right way to serve a cocktail.

Some prefer tall high ball glasses, whereas others prefer the elegant simplicity of an Old Fashioned glass.

For the Aviation cocktail, your best bet is a coup glass. It is small and delicate, yet robust enough to allow you to hold it with one hand. It also is excellent at keeping your drinks nice and cold.

close up Aviation Cocktail in a coup glass with olive and a slice of orange

For best presentation, strain your shaker using a double strainer into your glass and top with some traditional cocktail accessories, such as an olive or a slice of orange. Serve and enjoy!

Looking for other great classic cocktails? Try a Rob Roy or a Vesper Martini.

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The Aviation Cocktail Recipe

This aviation cocktail is a classic pretty purple cocktail that has been around for decades! Creme de Violette is what gives it the unique color.
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time
2 minutes
Karlynn Johnston


  • 2 ounces Gin
  • 1/2 ounce Maraschino liqueur
  • 1/4 ounce Crème de violette or Crème Yvette
  • 3/4 ounce Fresh lemon juice


  • Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake.
  • Pour into a cocktail glass such as a coupe.

Recipe Notes

Creme de Violette can be hard to find, but once you find a bottle it will last you forever!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 198kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 1mg, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin C: 8mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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This aviation cocktail is a classic pretty purple cocktail that has been around for decades! Creme de Violette is what gives it the unique color.

Mr. Kitchen Magpie

Hey everyone! I'm Mike (Mr. Kitchen Magpie). When I'm not sharing cocktail recipes here and on my Instagram (@mrkitchenmagpie), I'm enjoying a nice bottle of scotch in a vintage glass from my barware collection.

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  1. Lorraine says

    Could you use Empress Gin to get the same unique colour? Has anyone else tried that?

    • Mike Johnston says

      That’s a good idea, I have some empress gin myself. It would definitely work but don’t change the other ingredients5 stars

  2. Hailey says

    Mine is no where near as purple as the picture but tastes pretty good!

  3. susan gortva says

    I did buy this liquor. I keep mine in a cabinet. used it in seedless red raspberry jam. just a little adds awesomeness.

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