Home Beverages Aviation Cocktail (Classic Recipe)

Aviation Cocktail (Classic Recipe)

This Prohibition-era Aviation cocktail will be your new favorite drink. It’s a timeless classic people have loved for generations.

What makes this cocktail perfect is the perfect balance of flavors. It’s sweet, tart, and has a lovely floral finish.

Glass of Aviation Cocktail With Sour Cherry
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This drink isn’t difficult to whip together for a cocktail party. But finding the right ingredients can be a challenge.

The Aviation cocktail is more than just a pretty face. It earns a delicate violet color thanks to your new secret weapon: crème de violette.

It’s a light and refreshing cocktail perfect for spring or summer get-togethers.

Let’s take a look at how you can recreate the classic Aviation cocktail.

Boozy Aviation Cocktail

What’s In an Aviation Cocktail

The recipe list for the Aviation cocktail is short, but each ingredient works together in harmony. The hardest part isn’t the mixing but tracking down crème de violette.

  • Ice – This cocktail tastes best when lightly chilled. There’s no need for fancy ice cubes since they won’t appear in your martini glass.
  • Gin – The backbone of this cocktail is gin, so opt for something good. A dry gin, like Aviation or Beefeater, is a great choice. Top-shelf gin is worth the cost, especially for the Aviation cocktail!
  • Maraschino liqueur – It’s the perfect balance of sweet and nutty. Maraschino liqueur delivers a punch of sour with almond-like notes. Its bold cherry flavor adds rich complexity to this drink.
  • Crème de violette – The most difficult task is tracking down crème de violette. This lesser-known liquor is very sweet and floral, giving this drink its delicate lavender hue. You may have difficulty finding it in a liquor store, so your best bet is to order it online.
  • Lemon juice – Always use fresh-squeezed lemon juice for a punch of sour, citrusy flavor. Bottled lemon juice has a lot of preservatives that will affect the flavor.
  • Lemon twist – A lemon twist is optional but adds a pop of color and freshness to this cocktail. Plus, it looks so pretty against a pastel purple backdrop.
  • Sour cherry – A sour cherry garnish looks pretty, adds more complex flavors, and delivers a certain something extra. It’s an optional garnish that makes a big difference.
Top View Aviation Cocktail

How to Make an Aviation Cocktail

The Aviation cocktail requires a quick shake in a cocktail shaker. That’s it! Check out how quickly this refreshing drink comes together.

1. Add ice. Fill a cocktail shaker to the top with ice.

2. Pour in the liquor and mixers. Add gin, maraschino liquor, lemon juice, and crème de violette to the cocktail shaker. Cover and shake well for 15-20 seconds or until the shaker feels cold to the touch.

3. Strain. Strain the cocktail into a cocktail or coupe glass.

4. Garnish (optional). Add a lemon twist and a sour cherry on top. Enjoy!

Tips and Tricks

Here are a few easy tricks and tips to ensure your cocktail is Instagram-worthy.

  • Pop up the purple. If your cocktail seems a little pale, there’s a handy trick to dial up the color. Adding more crème de violette and maraschino liquor is an easy way to make this cocktail more vibrant.
  • Double the strain. The key to the perfect Aviation cocktail is smoothness and potency. Double-straining ensures no ice chips enter the cocktail glass, which will water it down. It also helps remove any lemon pulp.
  • Let things chill out. Pop your glasses in the freezer to ensure your cocktail stays nice and frosty. Place them in the freezer for at least 30 minutes but no longer than 2 hours.
Top View Glass of Aviation Cocktail

Garnish Ideas

Classic Prohibition-era cocktails are all about the garnishes. And the Aviation is no exception. While it still tastes amazing without garnishes, going the extra mile is worth the effort.

Here are a couple of simple garnish ideas to take your cocktail over the top:

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  • Luxardo cherries. These cherries are so rich that they almost look black! They have an Amaretto-like flavor with a punch of fruitiness and taste amazing.
  • Lemon twist. If you love sour notes, a lemon twist is a must. Just be sure to omit the white rind to avoid any bitterness. And before tossing the peel into your cocktail, squeeze it to release those natural oils.

Aviation Cocktail (Classic Recipe)




Try this classic Aviation cocktail for a trip to the Prohibition era! Made with gin, creme de violette, and Maraschino liqueur, it’s refreshing and floral.


  • Ice

  • 2 ounces gin

  • 1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur

  • 1/4 ounce crème de violette

  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed

  • Lemon twist, for garnish (optional)

  • Sour cherry, for garnish (optional)


  • In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the gin, maraschino liqueur, crème de violette, and lemon juice. Shake well until chilled, about 15-20 seconds, or until the shaker is cold to the touch.
  • Strain the mixture into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and/or a sour cherry, if desired.
  • Serve and enjoy!


  • Crème de violette. This floral liqueur made from violet flowers has a vibrant blue hue and delicate flavor. However, it’s potent, so a little goes a long way.
  • Fresh lemon juice. Always opt for fresh lemon juice over bottled versions. The freshness brings out the zesty quality that balances the cocktail’s sweeter components.
  • Maraschino liqueur. Unlike the syrup in cherry jars, maraschino liqueur is a clear, sour spirit made from Marasca cherries. It adds complexity to the Aviation.
  • Gin. You can use any gin you like, but dry gin works best.
  • Coupe glass. Serve the Aviation in a coupe glass. It looks good and fits the cocktail’s vintage appeal. Pre-chill your glass in the freezer or fill it with ice water before use.
  • Simple syrup. For a rounder taste, add 1/8 ounce of 1:1 simple syrup. It’s not required but may make the drink taste better for some.
Aviation Cocktail

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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