Garden To Table Cheese Boards, Grazing & Entertaining

Aviation Violet Cocktail

This classic gin cocktail, with its beautiful lavender hue, is a refreshing, sweet, tart, floral cocktail which unfolds as you sip. Simple to make, stunning to serve, this easy-sipping cocktail is as welcome as the spring violets from which its made.

An overhead shot of a lavender hued Aviation Violet Cocktail in a cut crystal coupe glass. A garnish of a violet flower and leaf sit on the side of the glass.

The History Of The Aviation Cocktail

The Aviation cocktail, created in the early 20th century, is a classic cocktail that gained popularity during the Prohibition era. It was first crafted by Hugo Ensslin, a bartender in New York City, and featured in his book “Recipes for Mixed Drinks” published in 1916. The cocktail’s distinctive lavender hue, which is achieved by adding Crème de Violette, sets it apart from other gin-based cocktails.

In the years following the Prohibition, the Aviation fell into obscurity as Crème de Violette became impossible to find. However, with the revival of classic cocktails and the resurgence of the craft cocktail culture, Crème de Violette began to be imported into the US again by Rothman & Winter. Thankfully, the Aviation regained its popularity, and though an unusual drink, can be found on many cocktail menus. Read on to see how to add it to yours.

The Ingredients

The Aviation Cocktail combines gin, Maraschino liquer, Crème de Violette, and fresh lemon juice. Gin forms the base of the drink – I used Barr Hill Gin, which is a favorite from here in Vermont. Made from honey, Barr Hill takes great efforts to help save the bees, something I wholeheartedly support. So it makes it a fitting gin for a cocktail featuring a wildflower.

The other components are Maraschino liquer which adds a bitter, cherry element, fresh lemon juice for tartness and acidity, and Crème de Violette for the beautiful, floral element – and signature lavender hue.

What Is Crème De Violette?

Crème de Violette is a brandy-based liquer with a deep purple hue. The Rothman and Winter version (used here) is made from Queen Charlotte and March violet flowers from the Alps. The flavor profile is sweet and floral.

Styling The Aviation Cocktail

The Aviation cocktail is a simple, 4-ingredient cocktail that comes together in minutes. Traditionally served up, in a coupe glass, its beauty is in its simplicity. and its signature lavender hue. To style this best, stick to clean and simple elements, and celebrate their beauty.

  • A brandied cherry on a cocktail pick
  • A lemon twist
  • A wild violet flower on a violet leaf

Foraging For Wild Violets

Wild Violets are an early spring edible that grows plentifully in Northeast gardens, lawns, and woodlands. The most common violet found is Violet Odorata, a species native to Europe and Asia. They are a very hardy perennial which can find its way into neglected corners of the garden and amongst the grass. (I have been digging them out of the lawn and relocating them to open spots in my garden beds.)

Wild violets produce flowers from April to June. The colors range from pure white, to white with a bluish-purple throat, to completely violet blue. They are a small plant, typically no larger than 6 inches, which grows as a mound of heart-shaped leaves.

Long regarded as a culinary treat, Wild Violets are an excellent edible decoration for cocktails, cakes, goat cheese, and spring appetizers. To gather violets, simply snip the flowers from the stem for immediate use, or snip the whole stem and place in water until ready to use. The violets will stay fresh in water for a few days.

Disclaimer: The information shared here is for information and entertainment only. Please do your own research when foraging for edible plants and flowers. Do not consume anything found in the wild that you have not vetted as an edible plant.

Batching Your Cocktail For A Party

Batching your cocktails offers time-saving convenience and consistent flavor, allowing you to spend your time sipping and socializing instead of measuring and mixing one at a time.

With just 4 ingredients the Aviation Violet Cocktail is an easy drink to batch for your party. Here’s how:

  1. Start by determining the number of servings you want to prepare.
  2. Multiply the quantities of the ingredients in the original recipe by the number of servings. (Note: Use the calculator in the recipe below to do this for you.)
  3. Calculate the water that you will need to add to the recipe to compensate for the dilution you will be missing from not shaking the drink with ice. For this drink, served up, you will need 1/2 – 3/4 ounce of water per serving.
  4. A day in advance of the party combine the gin, Maraschino liquer, and Crème de Violette and store in the refrigerator or freezer until an hour before your party. This can also be done up until an hour before the party.
  5. An hour before your party, add the lemon juice and water and return to the refrigerator.
  6. Prep glasses and garnishes to be ready when your guests arrive.
A pair of lavender hued Aviation Violet Cocktails in a cut crystal coupe glasses on a marble counter with a linen napkin. A garnish of a violet flower and leaf sit on the side of the glasses.

If you make this Aviation Violet Cocktail be sure to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you. And if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see!

An overhead shot of a lavender hued Aviation Violet Cocktail in a cut crystal coupe glass. A linen napkin and violet flowers and leaves are strewn around.

How To Make: The Aviation Violet Cocktail



Adjust Servings
2 Ounces Gin
0.5 Ounces Maraschino Liquer
0.25 Ounces Crème de Violette
0.75 Ounces Fresh Lemon Juice
Garnish Ideas
Wild Violet Flowers
Brandied Cherry
Lemon Twist
Nutritional Information
14 Grams Net Carbs
0 Grams Fat
0 Grams Protein
220 Calories


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
Mark as complete
Add the ingredients.
Add all the ingredients to the shaker.
Mark as complete
Shake vigorously.
Shake vigorously until a frost forms on the cocktail shaker. Shaking not only chills the cocktail, but adds a small amount of water to the cocktail, altering its taste and strength. Make sure to shake to the right point to ensure a proper cocktail.
Mark as complete
Strain into the glass.
Strain the ingredients into the glass. A coupe glass is the traditional glass used for this cocktail.
Mark as complete

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