The fruity, colorful past of the gin-based Aviation Cocktail goes as far back as the dawn of the twentieth century when it first appeared in the 1916 book, Recipes for Mixed Drinks by New York bartender, Hugo Ensslin. Despite its brief popularity, the alcoholic beverage was shelved into obscurity when one of the primary ingredients, creme de Violette liqueur, disappeared from the market during the 1960s. It wouldn't be until 2007 when Haus Alpenz of Minneapolis, Missouri began importing Rothman & Winter creme de Violette from Austria that the purple-colored Aviation Cocktail would regain popularity. Now with this becoming more readily available, bars, clubs, and households have been enjoying this alcoholic beverage. This recipe also includes another essential ingredient, namely maraschino liqueur.
Typical Aviation Cocktail Recipe
What makes an Aviation Cocktail what it features the following ingredients:
- 2 oz gin
- 1/4 oz maraschino liqueur
- 1/4 oz creme de Violette liqueur
- 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Garnish with a flamed lemon peel
Best Aviation Cocktail Recipes
While recipes call for a certain list of ingredients, it's not always what's on the list that makes a drink go from ordinary to extraordinary. The more quality the ingredients involved are the better. While it seems the Rothman & Winter is the favorite creme de Violette liqueur, at least according to Haus Alpenz, what would be the best maraschino liqueur to work with?
5. Bols Maraschino
From the Netherlands, Bols has firmly established itself as a quality producer of different liqueurs that is highly favored among mixologists around the world. The Maraschino liqueur from Bols has a decent blend of candied cherries mixed with marzipan, making it a perfect addition to any cocktail that benefits from its sweet flavor. Because of its reputation for being a solid favorite, bottles of Bols Maraschino Liqueur can be easily found at most liquor stores, as well as other liquor-licensed establishments. The average price tag for a bottle is about $19.00 USD.
4. Fratelli Vergnano
Coming out of Turin, Italy, the prize-winning Fratelli Vergnano Maraschino Liqueur is a certified organic product. The production of this cherry-based alcoholic treat began in 1865, using the formula to macerate the carefully selected cherries in alcohol for a full year. This is to ensure the sourness of a classic cherry pie flavor experience is as optimal for the discerning palette as possible. Among finer establishments that serve up Aviation Cocktails, seeing a bottle of Fratelli Vergnano on the shelf is not uncommon. Since it's considered a premium choice as a maraschino liqueur, the cost of a bottle normally sits around the $27.00 USD range.
3. Gabriel Boudier Dijon
This cherry-based liqueur comes from the Dijon, France region. Gabriel Boudier Dijon has been in the business of producing maraschino liqueur since 2001, despite the fact the company has been in the business of making fruity liqueurs since 1874. The marasca cherries used to make this liqueur is imported from Croatia, which then undergoes a three to five-day maceration process. Afterward, these cherries are distilled in an alembic pot still. For Aviation Cocktails that would rather keep the gin out of the equation in favor of more maraschino liqueur, Gabriel Boudier Dijon's bottle is usually the favorite choice to do so. What makes this particular maraschino liqueur stand out is the hint of almond and chocolate which leads to the concept of a gateau. $33.00 USD is usually the price tag to obtain such a bottle from a liquor store.
2. Leopold Bros.
Denver, Colorado's Leopold Bros. is considered to have a standout product when it comes to its formula of putting together a maraschino liqueur. The fresh and floral aroma adds to the experience of making a quality Aviation Cocktail that elevates the drink from average to premium. Delicately balanced as a sweet and bitter blend of the Croatian-imported crushed and fermented marasca cherries, the liquor also features the distilled Montmorency cherries and coriander. According to Leopold Bros., an opened bottle of this maraschino liqueur should be completely consumed within a span of thirty days. If it seems this achievement isn't possible, storing the bottle in a refrigerator will extend its lifespan. Normally, a bottle of Leopold Bros.' maraschino liqueur goes for $37.00 USD.
1. Luxardo Orginale
Considered as the gold standard of maraschino liqueurs, the Luxardo Originale concept of the ultimate recipe concoction features the fresh scent of the blossoms that come from the cherry trees involved. The sweet and silky taste and texture of Luxardo Originale's brand of maraschino liqueur is one of the most popular bottles seen at liquor-licensed establishments around the world. From value-priced taverns to five-star cocktail clubs, Luxardo Originale has firmly established itself as a staple ingredient as the ideal mix into any cocktail, including the Aviation. This particular maraschino liqueur began production with the Luxardo Originale family in 1821 from the Croatian coast of Dalmation, near the city of Zara. However, after the events of World War II, rumor has it the only surviving member of the Luxardo family rounded up a marasca sapling and fled to Italy in 1947. From there, Luxardo put the maraschino liqueur production back into full swing from its Padua, Italy location. Usually, a bottle of Luxardo Originale's maraschino liqueur goes for $22.00 USD. In addition to the liqueur, Luxardo Originale also has jars of these candied cherries drenched in its marasca cherry syrup. Just as is the case with the maraschino liqueur, there are no thickening agents involved so that the sweet crispness of the tart cherries delivers the full flavor to the palette no other maraschino cherry-base liqueur of any kind can. What also makes Luxardo Originale so appealing, and not just with its recipe of maraschino liqueurs, is the company's dedication to remain gluten-free, GMO-free, Kosher certified, and vegan-friendly. The orchards of marasca cherries grown by the still family-owned and operated Luxardo are the same breed of the Croatian-based fruit that is highly sought after by a large number of maraschino liqueur producers around the world.
Maraschino liqueurs have been a favorite ingredient for a number of alcoholic beverages in addition to the Aviation Cocktail. Now that society seems to be entering the golden age of cocktails, the popularity of maraschino liqueurs has been rising as a result. Combine that with the liqueured cherries that can be served in the same manner as olives or any other garnish, and the possibilities to either perfect or come up with new recipes seem endless.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith