Photo by Donna
Last spring, stopping by the best bar in the world, I tried a new cocktail, The Aviation, and was immediately enamored with the grappa-like cherry notes that a marachino liqueur brought to this gin based elixer.
And it couldn't be more easy: gin, fresh lemon juice and, to balance the acidity, the Luxardo. Here's the bar's owner, Paulius, on this long neglected drink:
"There is an ongoing battle as to
which version is the real deal. The difference in the 2 variants of the
Aviation is the addition, or lack of, Crème de Violette. My take on
it is this: I think it is gilding the lily. But that may change if
the idiots that run Ohio liquor control in Columbus would allow it in.
(Apparently, the state sees no use or market for it.) The addition of the Violette
makes the cocktail softer, with an additional floral note. It also gives
it a faint lavender hue that you may or may not see in bar lighting.
I suppose that is important if you use a cocktail as an accessory.
Myself, I prefer the sharp crispness of the Aviation sans violette."
2 oz. gin
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liquer
1/4 oz. Creme de Violette, if
you are of that school. (aka crème de Yvette)
I personally think that equal measures of lemon and Luxardo result in too much sharpness and so add 50% more Luxardo. This is not the same issue as how much vermouth should be in a martini, this is really about the sweet-sour balance, the Luxardo acting as both a simple syrup and a flavoring device.
As for the gin. A year or more ago, some kind soul at Hendrick's sent me a bottle of their gin. I don't really review products here, but this gin superb, especially here and my choice for the beloved negroni as well.
I'm not the first to write about it by any means (here's a longer piece on all its parts), but I was thrilled to taste it for the first time. When Friday evening's writer's block strikes, I'm thinking a cold Aviation will taste exactly right.