Tag Archives: shake

Cocktail of the Hour — the Aviation

Aviation line.

Flying in style.

To truly enjoy the Aviation and appreciate its name, you have to think back to when air travel was a luxury. Picture a elegant seating area inhabited by suave gentlemen and well-coifed ladies. Imagine full-service dinners on tables with real table cloths served by happy stewardesses (term used for historical effect).

In that context, the Aviation’s name and makeup makes more sense. It’s a bit of a mystery — I couldn’t find much background on this Prohibition-era cocktail other than it was inspired by the air travel available around that time. It’s a crisp cocktail with a tart bite and a dry finish. Per the recipes I found online, it’s also incredibly versatile.

Per Wondrich’s article on Esquireit’s made with maraschino liqueur, but no crème de violette. This recipe first appeared in Harry Craddock’s 1930 edition of the Savoy Cocktail Book, and makes the drink reminiscent of the icy cloudscape that passengers experience when they fly.

According to most other sources, the crème de violette is essential: it provides the drink’s recognizable hazy purple-blue color. Either way, it’s a gorgeous drink that can call up memories of a simpler — and more glamorous — time. To find your way back, experiment with the proportions until you find what takes you back.

Recipe:
1 tsp Crème de Violette (optional)
1/2 oz maraschino liqueur
3/4 oz freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice
2 oz gin

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, and shake vigorously until chilled, about 12-18 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry (optional).

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Cocktail of the Hour: The Southside

The SouthsideAs the story goes, the Southside was named for the South Side of Chicago’s bootlegging joints. During Prohibition, citrus and sugar were mixed with bathtub gin to make it drinkable. Even if it wasn’t one of the creations of that era, it is still a delicious gimlet variation. In the years since, it has become an institution at many country clubs. Even Tory Burch has claimed a vodka-based version of this drink as her favorite.

The version documented in Townsend’s The Bartender’s Book is gin-based, and the spirit’s botanicals add a layer of complexity to the taste. Fortunately, we don’t live during Prohibition, and many of the products previously unavailable in Alabama are now here. Experimenting with different gins will yield slight changes in the cocktail’s flavor and body, but the citrus and mint are somewhat forgiving.

This beverage is best made while the weather is warm and mint is in season. Since we’ve only got a few weeks left that meet both requirements, shake one (or few) up for the perfect picnic/tailgating/afternoon tipple.

Recipe:

4-6 mint leaves

1 dash Angostura bitters*

1 oz lime juice

1 oz simple syrup

2 oz gin of your choice

Lightly bruise — do not pulverize — mint leaves in the shaker. Add the rest of the ingredients and shake for 10-12 seconds to combine. Strain into a chilled glass.

*Editor’s note: the traditional Southside isn’t made with bitters, but they add depth of flavor. Try it both ways!

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