Invented in New York, by a German barkeep and made with a rare spirit named after a Belle Époque French actress, it seems like the perfect cocktail for a high flying, Parisian architect who dabbled in film.
The Aviation cocktail got its name from its pale, blue tint, courtesy of Crème de Violette. According to many, the original recipe was created by German barkeep Hugo Ensslin at the Time’s Square hotel and was seen in his manual from 1916, “Recipes for Mixed Drinks”. (1) This recipe called for Crème Yvette, made from violet petals, hence the blue color. This unusual liqueur was named after Yvette Gilbert, (2) a popular stage and silent film actress from the late nineteenth century who inspired many artists including Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
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Robert Mallet-Stevens you can find it here
Créme Yvette was discontinued by the time Harry Craddock published his Savoy Cocktail book in 1930, (which became the most famous version) so perhaps this is why he did not include the spirit in his recipe. As a result, for many years the Aviation was made without its signature blue color. Now that both Crème de Violette and Créme Yvette are readily available, (for a price- a bottle of Crème Yvette will set you back about $40) you can enjoy the original version of this gorgeous cocktail with its subtle violet flavor and color.
2 oz. gin
.5 oz lemon juice
2 tsp. Marschino liqueur *
1tsp Crème de Violette or Créme Yvette
Pour the ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Pour into a chilled coupe and garnish a lemon twist. * At the M.G.t.C., we prefer our Aviation without Maraschino liqueur.
Does this make us sissies? Maybe. Thirsty for More? Read all about aviator and architect Robert Mallet-Stevens here
Sources 1.Robert Hess, DrinkBoy.com retrieved 3 March 2021 2. Haigh, Tedd Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails 2004 Quarry Books