Classic Aviation Cocktail Recipe (The BEST!)

This Gin Aviation recipe combines crème de violette, maraschino cherry liqueur and a bit of lemon juice for a perfectly sweet and tart cocktail that’s as pretty as it is delicious.

There’s one solid thing that can get me into any bar. No, it’s not Real Housewives trivia night… It’s the Aviation Cocktail!

It’s by far and away my absolute favorite cocktail on this planet. But unfortunately, this drink can be a bit difficult to order in many bars because the ingredients are somewhat obscure. That’s why I set out to perfecting the recipe at home.

After a few attempts, I found my perfect ratio of ingredients and discovered that it’s actually perfectly easy to make an Aviation Cocktail at home with just four ingredients.

Aviation cocktail ingredients

  • Gin – You can use your favorite gin here. Bombay, Aviation gin, Hendricks, etc.
  • Lemon Juice – Fresh lemon juice is the best here!
  • Maraschino Cherry Liqueur – Find this at your local liquor store.
  • Creme de Violette – Aka liqueur de violette.

A core ingredient to the Aviation Cocktail is Crème de Violette.

Crème de violette, also known as liqueur de violette, is a generic term for a liqueur with natural and/or artificial violet flower flavoring and coloring. The taste profile and aroma are distinctly floral and sweet, and is said to be reminiscent of the violet candies popular in the early to mid 20th century.

I can’t tell you whether that is true or not because I’ve never tried the candies… But I can tell you that this drink is delish! It’s also that crème de violette that gives this cocktail its gorgeous pale & delicate periwinkle/violet color.

Tip: If you’ve got leftover crème de violette (and you will) try adding some to your champagne glass next time you pop a bottle open. It adds just a little bit of the violette flavoring and provides a pretty color to your glass. Or, try one of these 17+ delicious Creme de Violette Cocktails!

Two aviation cocktails garnished with cherries next to alcohol bottles.

The base of this cocktail is gin and, although the crème de violette is sweet, this is generally a dry cocktail.

Also featured in this cocktail are maraschino cherry liqueur and lemon juice. And, while your local bar may not carry all the ingredients, you should be able to easily find them at your local liquor store.

How to make it

  • Add gin, lemon juice, maraschino cherry liqueur and creme de violette to a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  • Shake well and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with maraschino cherries and enjoy.

What’s your favorite cocktail to order at a bar? Do you always order the same thing, or do you like to switch it up a bit? I’d love to hear in the comments below! Cheers!

Two Aviation cocktails shot from the side.

More cocktail recipes

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Try this cocktail in fizz-form with my Aviation Gin Fizz recipe!

Two aviation cocktails garnished with cherries next to alcohol bottles.


The Aviation Cocktail combines crème de violette, maraschino cherry liqueur and a bit of lemon juice for a perfectly sweet and tart cocktail that’s as pretty as it is delicious.
5 from 14 votes
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 cocktail


  • 2 ounces gin
  • 3/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ ounce Crème de Violette
  • Maraschino cherries (for garnish (optional))


  • Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake to chill well, then strain into a cocktail glass. 
  • Garnish with cherries. 
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!


Calories: 189kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin C: 5.5mg

This aviation gin cocktail post was originally published in 2017. It was updated in 2019 to add new photographs and again in 2023 to update the content. The original aviation recipe remains the same. Enjoy! 

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27 thoughts on “Classic Aviation Cocktail Recipe (The BEST!)”

    • Ha! I wish!!! I think Real Housewives trivia would be my only chance at winning a trivia night! I love the violet color of this cocktail too… In a small way, it may be why it’s my favorite cocktail!

  1. That looks so gorgeous!!! I’ve been on a lifelong mission to find my signature drink. When I lived in San Francisco in my twenties I was all about dirty vodka martinis, but I can’t really do those anymore. And I don’t like sweet drinks. And gin is my jam, and doesn’t look too sweet, so this sounds like something I really need to consider 😉

  2. I have always loved the classic Martinez made out of the old Tom gin. No matter how old school the drink is I have never enjoyed a cocktail made out gin except for Martinez but when I read the recipe of the aviation gin, boy! I could think of only one thing; Awesomeness personified!!!

  3. First of all this is gorgeous! Second of all where is there a Real Housewives trivia night? Becuase I will get on a plane and fly for that bizness, Third, I am obsessed with violet candies. You can rarely rarely find them and I can’t even remember the brand that still makes them but whenever I find them I buy a few packs and they last me about 2 minutes. I know this cocktail is right up my ally!

    • It sounds like you would absolutely love this cocktail Abra – And, as far as I know… Real Housewives Trivia doesn’t actually exist – But it needs to!

  4. I always love a golden Cadillac and/or a dry Gina martini straight, with, an olive! However, I just got my husband to pick me up a bottle of Creme de Viollette and I just, have to try the Aviation Gin Cocktail. Only problem is I don’t have any Marachino Cherry? Oh well, I guess, my husband will have to pick us up a bottle of that too! CHEERS!! Happy Holidays!!

  5. Just came across this recipe on your blog! I too love the Aviation cocktail. If one doesn’t have gin on hand, you can always make it with vodka too, and it becomes a Blue Moon cocktail. Cheers!

  6. 5 stars
    This cocktail recipe produces a drink that is gray in color. If you want to get that pretty purple color make sure your creme de violette has blue #1 and Red #40 otherwise your aviation, though quite tasty will be gray in color.

  7. Outstanding! Now I am tempted to purchase a plane ice cube mold. I ordered this at a Seattle restaurant and it arrived with the cutest one floating on top. Give a mouse a cookies…


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