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About Aviation Gin
Maybe I was a bit too influenced by Ryan Reynolds’ handsome face, because I was pretty eager to try Aviation Gin. But, I was also looking to try some affordable American gin, so maybe that’s not a bad thing.
Aviation Gin was first created by Portland, Oregon based House Spirts in in the mid 2000’s. Years of growth drew attention from larger spirit companies and celebrities, and the Davos Group and actor Ryan Reynolds bought the brand with House Spirts continuing to distill the gin in their facilities. Aviation was bought a second time by Diageo in 2020 with Ryan Reynolds retaining an ownership interest.
Aviation is made with seven botanicals: Cardamom, coriander, lavender, anise seed, sarsaparilla, juniper and two kinds of orange peel.
❖ Spirit: American Contemporary Gin
❖ Distillery: Bottled by Aviation Gin in Portland, OR and Distilled in Portland, OR and Atchison, KS
❖ ABV: 42% (84 Proof)
❖ Low/Moderate Price
❖ Color: Clear
❖ Nose: floral citrus, juniper, earthy spice, a bit of heat
❖ Taste: citrus, earthy spice, juniper, mint, slight floral notes but more muted than nose.
❖ Finish: Long, spice and mint
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
1 1/2 oz Gin
Dash of Bitters
❖ Combine sweet vermouth, Maraschino liqueur and gin in a mixing class filled with ice and stir to chill
❖ Strain into a martini glass and top with dash of bitters
❖ Garnish with lemon peel and cherry
I should have probably used Aviation Gin to make an Aviation cocktail, but I was too lazy to grab some of the ingredients. And, I already had all the ingredients for this Aviation Cosmo recipe. In fact, I was looking for a reason to use the Maraschino Liqueur, since I’ve struggled to balance its sweetness in the past.
And just like I feared, it did take me a few tries to balance the liqueur. I ended up using just a little bit less than the 1/4 oz the recipe called for. But I really enjoyed this cocktial in the end, and was impressed with the Aviation gin. The bitters in particular worked really well with the earthy spice notes, and the vermouth and liqueur added a nice complexity.
Aviation Gin was really close to being my new go-to mixing gin, and I enjoyed the overall experience, but a few small details hold it back.
It was more enjoyable neat than I anticipated of the balance of floral, spice, and citrus notes which were lovely. It was also interesting to try a gin with less prominent juniper notes, and there was a nice heat that wasn’t too overwhelming.
But, it was a bit difficult to balance in cocktails since it interacted inconsistently with the other ingredients. Most of the interesting notes disappeared in fizzy cocktails like a gin and tonic, but then would shine in spirit-forward cocktails like the Aviation Cosmo. But, it was still fun to play around with flavor combinations even if I didn’t always love the results.
And, the reasonable price makes it easier to justify all the experimentation. I would consider Aviation on the lower end of the moderate price spectrum for a standard bottle, but it’s also available in a bunch of sizes including those 2oz mini bottles, so you can try it out without much commitment.
As always, drink responsibly.