I haven't posted a 10-Bottle Bar recipe in a while, so I thought I'd go with one of the drinks that got me into mixology back a few years ago.
This was back in 2007 when spirits like Creme De Violette were just hitting the US market and the SF Chronicle was starting to write more words about the great cocktail that could be made with these spirits. As it happened, I had just read a piece profiling Creme De Violette and Pimento Dram (both of which had just been imported to the States for the first time in many years by Haus Alpenz) and the many great cocktails that one could make with these spirits. The star of the article was the Aviation, and as it happened I walked into Pizzaiolo in Oakland that same evening and found - gasp- an Aviation on the menu! Naturally I ordered one (or was it two?) and the first incantation of The Ace Saloon was incorporated the next day with my purchase of a bottle each of Maraschino and Creme De Violette.
But enough of my not-all-that-interesting Genesis story. Lets talk about the Aviation. So here's the recipe.
Adapted by Gary Regan from Hugo Ensslin's Recipes for Mixed Drinks (1916)
1 1/2 oz. dry gin (I use No. 209 or Plymouth)
1/2 oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 oz. Luxardo Maraschino
1/2 oz. Creme De Violette (Rothman & Winter)
Place an up glass in the freezer to chill. Combine all liquids in a shaker with LOTS of ice and shake vigorously for at least 10 seconds (the side of your metal shaker ought to be coated with a layer of frost). Strain the drink into your now frosted up glass and garnish with a brandy-soaked marasca cherry.
It's interesting - my personal tastes have moved toward the brown spirits (whiskey, rum, brandy) so I hadn't made this drink in quite a while. But as I whipped one up (and drank it, of course) for this post all of those same emotions that I felt back in 2007 came rushing back again. The tartness of the lemon against the floral flavors of the gin is refreshing... The alchemy of the lemon and the Maraschino adds an almost grainy texture to the gin... And that translucent grey-purple color!!! This is a damn good drink.
For those of you wondering where the Creme De Violette is on the 10-Bottle Bar - it isn't. As it happens, Gary Regan actually adapted this cocktail recipe first with just the gin, lemon and maraschino back in 2005 when Creme De Violette was not yet widely available in the States. This version is still quite tasty - though it loses the floral quality and the purple color of the Violette. It wasn't until Haus Alpenz began importing Creme De Violette sometime around 2007 that Mr. Regan adapted his recipe once again for the Violette, thereby taking this drink - in his words - "to the moon."