Aviation Cocktail – Original 1917 Hugo Ensslin Recipe

This post may contain Amazon affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See our affiliate policy for more info.

The History Of The Aviation

The Aviation was created in New York by Hugo Ensslin and is from his 1917 cocktail book, Recipes For Mixed Drinks. This was one of the last cocktail books to be written before prohibition, so it makes this book an interesting profile in the height of mixing drinks in pre-prohibition America . This delicious drink didn’t last long because once prohibition went into effect, Creme de Violette stopped being produced, and people started mixing this with either Creme Yvette or just leaving the Creme de Violette out entirely.

Creme de Violette started being imported into the United States in 2007 again and it became possible to make a real aviation again. It’s amazing to think that for almost 90 years this drink was never made in the United States. Which explains why this drink was not very popular till recently.

How Does It taste

The Aviation is an amazing cocktail, and deceptively potent. It’s slightly sour and not too sweet and has a wonderful floral lavender, cherry flavor that is unique to any other sour. The aviation is as delicious as it looks. This is the cocktail I make people who say they hate gin. Everyone, loves this drink.

The most important ingredient

The most important ingredient in this drink is the Creme De Violette. For the most part this is actually a pretty easy drink to make and the ingredients are straight forward. The issue I have found is not all Creme De Violette are good quality. You may end up only finding 1 or 2 different bottles of Creme De Violette at a large liquor store and the cheaper ones (about $15 or less) just lack flavor. They have the right color but I end up needing to use a whole oz just to make the flavor right. The higher quality ones have much more flavor and only need the required 1/2 oz to taste right. Even with limited options its better to buy the higher quality Creme De Violette.


Discover what classic cocktails you can make right now with the free and easy to use Vintage American Cocktail app.

Aviation Cocktail – Original 1917 Hugo Ensslin Recipe

5 from 1 vote Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American






Total time



Learn how to make a classic Aviation.


  • 2/3 oz Lemon Juice

  • 1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur

  • 1/2 oz Creme de Violette

  • 2 oz Dry Gin


  • Combine all ingredients in the shaker. Add ice to the shaker.
  • Vigorously shake till the shaker is ice cold and frosted.
  • Strain into glass to remove ice shards.
  • Garnish with a maraschino cherry

Recipe Video


1 Comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *