October 2014 - Aviation American Gin

Monthly Archives: October 2014

Sweet Treats For The Adults


AAG and Tonic Cupcakes 2

Hallows’ Eve is upon us and as someone with a little (OK, a big) sweet tooth, I was overjoyed to have an excuse to toss on an apron and do a little experimenting to combine two of my favorite indulgences: rich, fluffy cupcakes and my go-to cocktail, the Aviation’s Gin & Tonic. I figured this would be the perfect way to entertain my friends while we pass out candy to tiny ghosts and goblins. Baking with liquor is something that I’m new to, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover how easy and (delicious!) these cakes turned out to be. The fizziness of the tonic water helped keep them airy and light, and the lime and sugar in the glaze brought out the citrus in the gin without overwhelming with sweetness. While the gin mostly cooks out of the cake itself, the frosting and glaze pack a bit of a punch, so keep out of little hands and save ‘em for cocktail hour- they pair great with a good old fashioned G&T after dinner. Or you can always be naughty and have dessert first. It is a holiday, after all. Cheers!

Lavender-Orange Aviation American Gin and Tonic Cupcakes


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Scrappy’s Lavender Bitters
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly zested lime and orange rind
  • 1/4 cup Aviation American Gin
  • 1/4 cup tonic water
  • Juice of 1/2 orange and 1 lime


  1. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) in a large mixing bowl
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together butter, sugar, eggs, bitters, and rinds
  3. Add the butter/sugar mixture to the dry ingredients, combining thoroughly
  4. Carefully stir in gin, tonic, and juice. The batter should be smooth and pourable, but not too watery. Add more tonic/juice as needed to achieve consistency.
  5. Line or grease a cupcake tray, and fill each cup about 3/4 of the way full.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Poke 3-5 holes into each cupcake, and drizzle with glaze (see below). Allow to cool completely before frosting and garnishing with a slice of orange and/or lime.

Aviation American Gin Glaze



  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Consistency should be smooth and easily pourable. Drizzle enough on the warm cupcakes to seep into the holes and flavor the cake from the inside.

Aviation American Gin G&T Frosting


  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons Aviation American Gin
  • 2-3 tablespoons tonic water
  • Dash of lavender bitters


  1. Whisk together all ingredients. Frosting should be thick and spreadable. Once cupcakes are completely cool, spread a thick layer on the top of each cake.

AAG and Tonic Cupcakes


Happy Halloween!

-Rachelq Harman, Lead Sales Associate

Gin Rummy & Gin Martinis

Family Blog Rena

The Hartman family does not mess around when it comes to crafting cocktails. It’s a well known fact. At the very least it was drilled into my mind from a young age. I would ask my father prior to dinner, as we all sat down to play cards, why he took such care in stirring up his gin Martini. He would reply, after a meaningful pause, “Some day you will understand that a well made cocktail is exacting relief and the bringer of joy after a long day.” This mentality never struck me as old fashioned as it pertained to my father. My father is a gentleman, a storyteller, a warrior, and an innovator. Anything that he has ever endeavored in with passion he has taken great care to exact and finish. From running a small business for 35 years to training dogs, he covers his bases with a smirk on his face.

My mother, the history-buff, hostess, and intellectual adventurer, spent her time schooling my sister and I from a very different perspective. Where my father focused so hard on the precise details of classic cocktails, my mother would regale us of tales of the history of Europe and her times there. My first recollection of her speaking about drinks was her impassioned new love of British Bitter Ales, after a return from a stay in London. Next it was Germany, and the storied medicinal history of Ünderberg and Bärenjäger. After a trip to France she told me all about Absente, and debunked so many of the myths that are associated with the delicious spirit. Most recently she has outdone herself in creating the most wonderful Bloody Mary bar–a truly Midwestern invention. She infuses vodkas, selects multiple Bloody Mary mixes, cubes cheese, sets out beef sticks, and un-caps all the pickled veggies in the refrigerator–something to the tune of 12 jars at most times.

Their travels, and those I was lucky enough to enjoy by their sides, instilled in me a wealth of knowledge regarding the use and history of alcoholic beverages in countries around the world. It eventually set me up to be adventurous and explorative in my own cocktailing.

However, as a family-unit, we all subscribe to a list of fundamental cocktails that cannot be shaken, stirred, or crafted out of us. Below is the unanimous, infamous, and quintessential top five cocktails as voted on by all four of us Minnesota-born Hartmans.

Family Blog Rena 2
The Hartman Top Five: 
5) Bourbon and Sprite
4) Lychee Martini
3) Scotch and Water
2) Manhattan
1) Dry Gin Martini

The Perfect Aviation Gin Martini Recipe



  1. In a pint glass add spirits & mixers
  2. Fill with ice & stir
  3. Strain into a chilled martini glass
  4. Garnish with a lemon twist or olive

For your entertainment, the rules of Gin Rummy: http://www.pagat.com/rummy/ginrummy.html

I should note that my parents are alive and well, and this December 15 they will celebrate 41 years of marriage. I am an anomaly in this day and age, a very lucky anomaly. And, this blog post is heavy in nostalgia for good reason. I should also note that the only thing we are more stubborn about than good cocktails is our Gin Rummy card games. Competitive and full of laughter is the Hartman family way.
Rena Hartman, Manager & Sales Lead

Apple Cider Bee Sting Cocktail

apple pic

It’s time to cool it with the Pumpkin Spice everything, folks, because October is here and it’s National Apple Month!  Don’t get me wrong; one October, long ago, I was born with visions of pumpkin pies already dancing in my head.  I love everything about pumpkins, but apples are amazing, versatile little fruits, and they deserve their month-long spotlight.  Although not very popular for carving into scary lanterns, apples can be delicious whether baked or juiced, turned into cider, fortified wine, or even vinegar!  Yes, vinegar.

There are dozens of ways that one can incorporate the varied and mesmerizing flavors of apples into adult beverages, but my favorite involves the sharp, tart, acidic qualities of apple cider vinegar.  Combined with fresh herbs, lemon, and honey, apple cider vinegar is a delightful elixir that boasts revitalizing properties. Mixed with Aviation American Gin, it is a clever and tasty cocktail that is complimented by the dried orange peel and lavender in the Aviation and both refreshes and stings the palate.  After tasting my easy version of a fall gin cocktail, you will understand why it’s called the Bee Sting!


Apple Cider Bee Sting Cocktail


  • 1 ½ oz Aviation American Gin
  • 1  oz Unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ oz Rosemary-infused honey syrup*
  • Club soda


  1. In a pint glass, add spirits & mixers (through honey syrup)
  2. Add ice & shake vigorously for 20 seconds
  3. Fine strain into a chilled cocktail class
  4. Top with club soda and garnish with a lemon wheel and a sprig of fresh rosemary
  5. *To make rosemary-infused honey syrup: warm 1/2 cup honey in a double-boiler until thin and add four 6” sprigs of fresh rosemary.  Simmer for 10 minutes, and then add ½ cup water, stirring until they are completely combined.  Strain the syrup through a wire mesh strainer into a jar and refrigerate for up to 10 days.


-Emilyn Nelson, Sales Associate

Brandied Fruit Day

Brandied Cherries

I’m willing to celebrate just about anything. Is it your cat’s birthday? Let’s have a party. Did your child graduate from preschool? Let’s have a party. Did you buy a new pair of shoes? Let’s go out and have a drink to celebrate!

So, when I found out it was National Brandied Fruit Day, I knew exactly what to do. I recently made my own cocktail cherries following Daniel Shoemaker’s recipe for a blog we did in July. With a hankering for an Aviation Cocktail and leftover cherries, I’ve been celebrating all day.

The Aviation Cocktail

You can too, whether you make your own cherries or pick some up at the store.

Cheers to celebrating this important holiday.

– Kelly Sanders, Head of Marketing

National Dessert Day

October 14th is National Dessert Day so why not accompany that sweet treat with a little tipple? An old classic called the Hanky Panky is a favorite of mine – and who doesn’t want to finish dinner with a little Hanky Panky. The bright complexity of Aviation American Gin is a brilliant combination with the soothing herbal qualities of vermouth and Fernet-Branca, which have the added bonus of aiding in digestion. Chocolate might overpower this lighter cocktail but carrot cake or some homemade gingerbread would compliment the subtle fall spices nicely.
Hanky Panky (300x400)

Hanky Panky

Hanky Panky 2 (300x400)



  1. In a mixing glass, add spirits & mixers
  2. Add ice and stir swiftly for 20 seconds
  3. Strain into a cocktail glass
  4. Garnish with an expressed orange disc


-Kiowa Bryan, Brand Supporter

Columbus Discovered America, What Have You Discovered?

goodflow honeyWhen I first moved to Texas three years ago, my eyes were opened to a world of super local produce. Living in Las Vegas for 10 years prior, there were very little “local” farms or products. The first item I fell in love with was the local honey producer Goodflow Honey in Austin. There’s a real rustic citrus hint in the honey. After tasting this wonderful honey I instantly thought of the age old cocktail the Bees Knees. Once I made this cocktail with the local honey rather than the common honey found in many grocery stores, I discovered that the drink took on a whole new level of freshness and complexity. Add the citrus, floral and spice notes in Aviation American Gin and you have one of the finest and simplest cocktails I’ve ever had.

Bees Knees

Bees knees



  1. In a pint glass, add spirits & mixers
  2. Fill with ice & shake vigorously
  3. Fine strain into a cocktail glass
  4. Garnish with a lemon disc or twist
  5. *To make honey syrup; dissolve equal parts honey in hot water and let cool before use


-Travis Tober, Beverage Director Vox Table and Vox Restaurant Group

World Egg Day

Chick and egg

The egg has often been referred to as the perfect food; full of vitamins & nutrients, a great source of high quality protein and amino acids, they promote healthy brain and eye function and even aid in weight loss. It’s hard to believe that the greatness of eggs can be improved, but leave it to bartenders to find a way! The egg is a delicious cocktail ingredient, and has become an essential in any cocktail bar.

Bartenders over a century ago were the first to start utilizing the egg in cocktail making. Shaking up a flip or a fizz with a whole egg or just the white created a rich, creamy, textured drink that couldn’t be replicated.  Many of these truly classic cocktails have become icons in the cocktail renaissance that we have seen in the last few decades.

What better way to celebrate World Egg Day than with a cocktail or two? Here are a couple of my favorite drinks using nature’s perfect food! Cheers!

Clover Club

Clover Club Cocktail



  1. Combine all ingredients in mixing glass
  2. Shake vigorously to emulsify egg with liquid
  3. Add ice to shaker and shake well
  4. Double strain into a coupe glass

If you are feeling extra fancy try:

The Aviation Ramos


  • 2 oz Aviation American Gin
  • 1/2 oz Simple syrup (1:1)
  • 1/2 oz Freshly pressed lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz Freshly pressed lime juice
  • 1 Fresh egg white
  • 3/4 oz Heavy cream
  • 1-2 Dashes (3-4 drops) orange flower water

  • 1 oz Club soda


  1. Combine first seven ingredients in a mixing glass
  2. Shake vigorously to emulsify egg with liquid
  3. Add several pieces of ice, not filling the whole tin, and shake vigorously again for as long as you can, or until all ice is gone
  4. Strain into a collins glass and slowly pour club soda into the drink
  5. Gently stir to mix if necessary


-Erin Hayes, Brand Supporter

In Honor Of National Vegetarian Month

Fennel GimletIn honor of National Vegetarian Month (October) I thought it would be fun to incorporate a vegetable into a cocktail.  This isn’t a novel idea, but it is something you can be very creative with.  Recently I have been turned onto various flavored simple syrups.  Instead of the simple syrup just adding sweetness to a cocktail, it can add a huge punch of flavor.  My favorite experimental syrup so far is fennel simple syrup.  Fennel has this wonderful flavor reminiscent of licorice and works perfectly with citrus. However, if fennel is not your thing, this website is a great resource for all sorts of flavored syrups, with instructions on how to make them. I decided lime would be a great citrus to mix with fennel, however orange, grapefruit or lemon would work just as well.

Fennel Gimlet

Fennel Gimlet 2



  1. In a pint glass, add spirits & mixers
  2. Fill with ice & shake vigorously
  3. Fine strain into a cocktail glass
  4. Garnish with a star anise seed pod

*To make fennel simple syrup: Bring ½ cup sugar, ¼ cup water and 1 tablespoon fennel seeds to a simmer in a very small saucepan. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat and let the fennel steep for 30 minutes. Strain out fennel seeds and allow syrup to cool before use.


-Christina Shapalis, Marketing & Retail Assistant

National Vodka Day Is Tomorrow, How About A Portland Vesper?

Portland Vesper

Tomorrow, October 4th, is National Vodka Day. Vodka is typically distilled in a fashion to make it odorless, colorless and tasteless. Nowadays there are a variety of flavored vodkas in the spirits game, ranging from fruity to savory and everything in between. While a well-done flavored vodka is a marvelous thing, it is nice to indulge in the simplicity of a traditional unflavored vodka. It allows you to focus on the subtle earthy flavor of the grains (or often potatoes) that were used for distillation. It also draws emphasis to the mouth-feel of the spirit, since there is little else distracting your palate. In honor of National Vodka Day I am mixing up a classic, spirit-forward cocktail called the Portland Vesper. This combines my two favorite spirits into one cocktail and still allows the Volstead Vodka to shine.

Portland Vesper




  1. In a mixing glass, add spirits & mixers
  2. Fill with ice & stir
  3. Strain into a chilled martini glass
  4. Garnish with a lemon twist

Cheers and happy celebrating!

-Christina Shapalis, Marketing & Sales Assistant

A Perfect Autumn Cocktail & Cookie Pairing

Cookie Blog 1

I love popcorn and I love cookies! If the history of my eating habits were recorded they would likely qualify as my two favorite food groups. I also love autumn and I love all the autumnal flavors! What better than to combine my love of cranberry, pumpkin and the spices associated with fall with my love of cookies and popcorn? Not only is it National Cookie Day, but it’s National Popcorn Popping Month. I would probably starve to death without my air popper. Honestly, my Instagram feed is a testament to that fact. But, where I can easily pop and season a mean bowl of popcorn, I cannot bake to save my life. So, I called for backup. Take it away Ms. Rachelq Harman, Lead Sales Associate at the House Spirits Distillery kiosk in the PDX airport and kitchen Assistant Extraordinaire! – Rena

When the leaves change, the temperature drops and the sky turns cloudy, all I want to do is stay in, bundle up, and bake. From September to February, there’s nothing I love more than spending a gloomy afternoon whipping up a batch of cookies. So when Portland finally got a little bit of fall weather this week and Rena asked for some baking assistance, I couldn’t have been more excited. What’s more, these cookies and our accompanying Aviation American Gin cocktail involve all my favorite autumn flavors: rich pumpkin, tart cranberry and sugary sweet caramel corn. We had a ton of fun rolling up our sleeves and getting a little messy figuring out the perfect way to combine everything into a tasty and adorable cookie that, despite the lengthy recipe, took just over an hour to fully assemble. The end result is a cakey, rich cookie with a crunchy, sweet topping that pairs perfectly with the tartness of the cranberry and dry cider in our Indian Summer Cocktail. We enjoyed ours outside under the changing leaves in the last rays of a warm fall day, but I know they’d be just as sweet inside, snuggled up while the rain pours down. – Rachelq

Indian Summer Cocktail



  1. In a pint glass, add spirits & mixers (through pumpkin purée)
  2. Fill with ice & shake vigorously
  3. Fine strain into a 16 oz mason jar that is 3/4 filled with fresh ice
  4. Top with dry cider
  5. Give cocktail a stir as pumpkin settles

Pumpkin Spice Cookies w/ Cream Cheese Frosting & Caramel Corn

Cookie Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup White sugar
  • 1 cup Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 can Non-spiced pumpkin purée
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp Pumpkin pie spice (we suggest ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, clove, allspice, and cinnamon)
  • 3  1/2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Salt

 Cookie Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine sugars, flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a large bowl and mix evenly
  3. Combine softened butter, pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla in a smaller bowl and mix evenly
  4. Slowly mix ingredients from smaller bowl into larger bowl
  5. When all ingredient are mixed evenly use a spoon to scoop small lumps of dough onto an un-greased cookie sheet about an inch apart
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes
  7. Makes about 46 cookies

Frosting Ingredients

  • 8 oz Whipped cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup Brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 3-4 Tbsp Boiling water

 Frosting Preparation

  1. Place whipped cream cheese in a bowl with sugar and vanilla
  2. Mix together adding bits of boiling water until mix reaches a frosting like consistency
  3. Allow each sheet of cookies to cool for at least five minutes after baking
  4. Use a spatula and spread a thin layer of frosting over each cookie

Popcorn Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Popcorn kernels
  • 1/4 cup Brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup White sugar
  • 1/4 cup Butter

Popcorn Preparation

  1. Pop the popcorn, place in bowl
  2. Combine sugar and butter in a pan and heat on low stirring consistently
  3. When sugar and butter reach a caramel-like consistency, pour over popcorn and mix well
  4. Gather clumps of the caramel corn and place on top of cookies

These warm cake-like cookies with a popcorn crunch were delightful with the tart cranberry-pumpkin cocktail. And, I sure feel my baking skills have improved. Enjoy!

-Rena Hartman, Manager & Sales Lead + Rachelq Harman, Lead Sales Associate

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