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The "Aviation" cocktail is an IBA "official" cocktail. It is listed on the IBA website with these ingredients and instructions:

All Day Cocktail

  • 4.5 cl Gin
  • 1.5 cl Maraschino
  • 1.5 cl Fresh lemon juice

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

To my surprise this doesn't list Crème de Violette at all: not in the ingredients, and not as e.g. "a dash" in the instructions.

Nearly all recipes I've seen so far though (e.g. How to Drink) do have Violette, and they all call out the Aviation as a "blue as the sky" cocktail because of that creme.

So what's the deal here? Is the IBA website just lacking it (perhaps because it's not a "core" ingredient but just a dash or a barspoon, usually)? Or is the "official" version actually without it?

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    My understanding is that creme de violette used to be a very difficult liqueur to get hold of – it's benefited both from classic cocktails becoming trendy and the internet enabling manufacturers to reach a market. For a long time it was made without violette out of necessity as much as anything else. – dbmag9 Jan 9 '18 at 20:41
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    This is probably a better match for alcohol.stackexchange.com – Nat Bowman Jan 12 '18 at 17:09
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    @NatBowman Agreed! I didn't know that beta site spun off. In light of that, wouldn't nearly all "cocktails" questions be migration candidates? – Jeroen Jan 13 '18 at 10:30
  • Agreed, but I don't have permissions to do anything like that afaik. – Nat Bowman Jan 24 '18 at 20:50
  • Maybe it should be left for when that site leaves its beta though... – Jeroen Jan 24 '18 at 21:07
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According to wikipedia, the original Hugo Ensslin's recipe calls for 2 dashes of crème de violette.

In the same article there can be some variation on the theme, with or without crème de violette.

The Gin foundry website offers 2 recipes, with or without it; the version without the crème de violette dates from the 1930s and they say it might be because the product was hard to found at that time (ww2 era)

I'd say, if you want to be fully original, use the proper recipe with the crème de violette, but if you cannot find it, then it is not that big a deal as it is still historically correct.

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After tending bar for 18 years and enjoying all manners of libations the Aviation is my favorite cocktail. I have had it all different ways and loved most of them. Creme de violette adds to the complexity in both flavor and presentation in a way in which I now find necessary to fully enjoy the drink. Creme de violate is obviously floral; with the explosion in gin popularity there may be some new gins on the market that eliminate the need for it entirely. In fact most craft cocktail bars use a perfume bottle to apply the liquor to limit the amount of it in the drink.

The Aviation derived its name from the sky blue color imparted by the creme de violette but the liquor was never very popular and nearly became extinct. The craft cocktail revival brought back classic drinks and when the aviation cocktail grew in popularity with it grew a demand for the liquor.

The IBA exists for competition purposes and readily available ingredients are necessary. Since creme de violette is still making a comeback it may still be difficult or even impossible to find in some world locations and therefore absent from the IBA version.

  • Hello, and welcome to Seasoned Advice. Good answer: keep 'em coming! – Daniel Griscom Dec 16 '18 at 18:22

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