Aqua Vitae: Aviation

"When alchemists first learned how to distill spirits, they called it aqua vitae, the 'water of life,' and far from considering it the work of the devil, they thought the discovery was divinely inspired." - Gene Logsdon, Good Spirits

Welcome to Aqua Vitae - an exploration of all things spirit. Through a few precious moments each week you will become master of the imbibing domain and the "water of life" - from recipes, to bar ware, to lessons in proper pouring, storing, or drinking. You name it, we're tackling it.

It seems only fitting, and deliciously cheesy, that for the first installation of Aqua Vitae, we honor one of the most classic of cocktails - the aptly named Aviation.

The Aviation Cocktail is a pre-prohibition gem and should be at the top of your list of cocktails to know and love. Now stay with us, ladies... this drink does not include vodka. So put down the Cosmos and vodka/RedBulls and branch out.

Enter gin - If you haven't had the pleasure of trying Aviation Gin, and/or the Aviation Cocktail - time to get your feet (and your lips) wet! Small batched in the Pacific Northwest, Aviation Gin ($25) is made in the full bodied Dutch Style of 100% rye grain neutral spirit. With most gins, the first thing you notice is the Juniper flavor, but with Aviation, Sarsaparilla, lavender, and anise notes pop, bringing out the cardamom and orange peel. A rich and earthy flavor gives this a weighty mouth feel and cool finish. Now, on to cocktail time.

2 oz Aviation Gin
3/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
Dash Crème de Violette

Shake all ingredients in a mixing tin with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Serve with a Luxardo cherry.

Now that you have the palate pleaser, please don't serve it in any old coupe glasses. These gorgeous Giarimi Graphite Champagen Glasses ($100) with graphite smoky grey color and gorgeous flower pattern are much more apropos.

So there you have it: A fantastic new gin showcased in the Aviation cocktail and served in a divine coupe glass - the perfect way to start our spirits journey!



Posted on 04.02.10 at 2:30 PM

I live in Oregon and discovered Aviation Gin at my favorite bar a couple of years ago. It is the best tasting gin ever. It tastes like fresh squeezed gin - I know that sounds weird - but think about orange juice for a minute: if cheap gin is Tang and Tanqueray is Tropicana, then Aviation is like the juice you get when you squeeze really good oranges yourself. Yummy.

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