Monthly Archives: May 2015
When the first batch of berries have been purchased from the farmers market, I know that it is officially summer. And summertime means lots of refreshing cocktails that look great and are incredibly delicious.
With six simple ingredients; Gin, Lemon, Sugar, Soda water, Strawberries, and Mint, you can make an easy cocktail that you won’t want to put down.
Muddle 3 fresh strawberries and 6 mint leaves in a pint glass. Add 2 oz Aviation American Gin, 1 oz fresh lemon juice, 1/2 oz simple syrup, and top with ice. Shake for about 10 seconds and strain into a glass. Top with soda water and garnish with a fresh strawberry and sprig of mint. And then sip the day away!
-Richelle Thorpe, Aviation Team Member
This year to celebrate Memorial Day, I wanted to update an American Classic, the Gin Rickey. I decided to add some fresh watermelon, which to me feels like a staple of any summer holiday celebration. A little sherry adds depth and some black pepper brings spice and complexity.
Upon doing some research into the history of Memorial Day, I learned that it began as a Holiday called “Decoration Day,” where towns throughout the North and South would place flowers and flags on the graves of those that died during the Civil War. These celebrations began in the mid 1860s, not long before the rise of the Rickey. By 1890, every state had it’s own Decoration Day. With the commencement of World War I, the holiday grew into a remembrance of Americans that died during service in any war.
I’m making it a point this year to pause and raise a glass to those that have served our country so that we are free to spend a day celebrating with our friends and family. Happy Memorial (Decoration) Day!
Decoration Day Rickey
- 1 1/2 oz Aviation American Gin
- 1/2 oz Palo Cortado Sherry
- 1 oz Lime Juice
- 1 1/2 oz Watermelon Juice (I pureed diced watermelon in my blender and then strained the liquid)
- 1/2 oz Black Pepper Simple Syrup*
- Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice
- Shake until well chilled and strain into a collins glass with fresh ice
- Top with sparkling mineral water and garnish with a lime wheel and mint sprig
- *To make black pepper simple syrup; In a small sauce pan, combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water, add 2 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper and bring to a simmer, maintain simmer for 5 minutes, then strain through a fine mesh strainer and cool
-Stuart Jensen, Aviation Team Member
At 7:52 on the soggy morning of May 20, 1927, a highly skilled and very determined twenty- five-year-old pilot from Minnesota took off on a monumental flight that would forever change the way the world viewed aviation. Four sandwiches and thirty-three and a half hours later, Charles Lindbergh arrived on the other side of the Atlantic a hero and the first person to have successfully flown across the ocean non-stop, from Roosevelt Field in Long Island to Le Bourget field, just outside of Paris.
It is difficult to know how long humankind has been obsessed with learning to fly. From the invention of the kite in 400 BC, to Leonardo da Vinci’s illustrations of the Ornithopter during the mid-15th century, to the Wright Brothers finally inventing the first airplane that could carry human passengers in 1903, by the early part of the 20th century there were many eager aviation enthusiasts who desperately wanted to extend the power of flight. In 1919 one businessman in particular, Raymond Orteig, offered an incentive of $25,000 to the pilot who could complete the trans-Atlantic flight. Although many tried and lost their lives in the attempt, Orteig continued to offer up the prize with unwavering hope.
Charles Lindbergh was the son of a lawyer, congressman and farmer in Little Falls, MN (undoubtedly rubbing elbows quite often with our friend, Andrew Volstead). When he was 19 years old he quit engineering school to become a “Barnstormer”, or stunt pilot, a daredevil who performed tricks at country fairs. He joined the army and, in 1925, he graduated at the top of his class from flight school. Hearing about Orteig’s challenge, he set off finding financial backing and the best mechanics to help him build his single-engine plane, which he named “The Spirit of St. Louis,” in a nod to the businessman who made it possible. Long story short, having barely cleared the treetops on that historic morning, he flew across the ocean through a moonless and stormy night, changing the course of history.
To this day, Lindbergh represents the spirit of adventure and hope. On the anniversary of his ground-breaking flight I suggest honoring him with one of my favorite classic cocktails (and our very own gin’s namesake) the Aviation! Named for its cerulean hue, which resembles the color of the sky at twilight, the Aviation first appeared in the earliest decades of the 20th century, much like our hero.
Emilyn Nelson, Aviation Team Member
Some of the best nights of my life are those I spent with “the girls”. Nights dancing until the wee hours at some hole-in-the-wall club, nights exploring the incredible mixology scene in some iconic American city, or nights swapping clothing at a frenzied “Naked Lady” party. My life now leans towards more quiet nights, and all the new moms and working gals I know are in the same boat. So, planning a night for the girls, well, it requires some plotting.
This most recent Ladies’ Night was inspired by my mother, Claire, and her gals, Karlene and Lisa, who went on a girl’s trip to Paris last Spring. I must admit I am a few years out planning an actual trip to Paris with my friends, but it’s a constant source of inspiration. And, if a night with your girls is good for anything it’s that inspiration that comes only from knowing that you are surrounded by incredible women. Below are step-by-step instructions on planning a great night in with your gal pals.
1) Pick a theme.
I chose a viewing of Sofia Coppola’s visual masterpiece Marie Antoinette, paired with a cocktail tasting, and discussion about the feminist in French History. I have no expectations, and often a dance party will ensue after the movie. Best to have a good dance mix queued up on the old computer.
2) Plan the menu.
It is a common tradition in many cultures that no alcohol should be imbibed without food. I uphold this tradition when entertaining, mostly because my awesome mom drilled it into me. “It’s just rude not to have food out, Rena,” she would coo in her adorable Minnesota accent. Because I felt my Marie Antoinette viewing warranted a strong drink, I offered a plate of water crackers and French-style cheeses. Yum!
As for the cocktail, I’m a sentimental and intellectual gal, so I concocted a sweet yet dry gin drink in honor of my inspiring mom and her long-standing relationship with her best friends. Below is the recipe for the Le Verre de Claire (Claire’s Drink). This cocktail is partially inspired by The DuBarry Cocktail from The Savoy Cocktail Book. Not only is that book the cornerstone of my cocktail book collection, but I had my first gin martini with my mother at the old and historic American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London. In addition, every time I think of DuBarry, I consider Madame DuBarry (Jeanne Bécu), storied mistress to Louis the XV, who was actually allowed to hold a position in court at Versailles. She was not born of royal blood, and she is said to have caused quite a stir at the palace in her time there. Moreover, I see her as an icon of the common sentiment that forced the people of France to revolt against the aristocracy. After the death of Louis XV, she was forcibly removed from court and the grounds of Versailles. Her story certainly drums up some questions as to rights for the working woman. And, who doesn’t love a woman who ruffles some tail feathers? The other inspirations are two-fold. First, not only is my mother’s name Claire, but Claire Lacombe (an actress) and Claire Démar (a journalist) are two of the foremost and first noteable Frenchwomen to write about and stand up for women’s rights of any sort. Second, and finally, I found that these ingredients taste really lovely together, and knew my ladies would love this drink.
La Verre de Claire
Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a pretty glass. Garnish with lemon disc or twist.
3) Invite guests.
For a movie night and history discussion that may turn dance party in my cozy basement apartment I extended the invite to about five of my favorite ladies. Your guest list should depend largely on the amount of space you have, as well as the theme. Don’t expect everyone to turn up. I generally over-invite, and anticipate that about one-third of the invitees will make it.
4) View the movie.
My mom always reminds me of the montage that is set as Marie is dressing for a big party. About midway through the film we see platters and glasses strewn amongst pastel pastries, feathers, and clothing. If you look closely as Marie is preparing you can catch a pair of high-top blue Chuck Taylor basketball shoes on the floor. According to Coppola this was intentional, as she wished to portray Marie Antoinette as a typcial young lady of her day. Très punk rock!
5) Have fun with your friends!
Ladies’ nights are about freedom. Freedom to jive and gab with your friends, but moreover freedom to really be yourself comfortably in a pack. I am truly thankful for all the freedoms I have as a lady in this day and age, and to that I make a point to gather, drink, chat, and dance. À VOTRE SANTÉ, DAMES!
-Rena Hartman, Aviation Team Member
Before long, summer will be in full swing and not too long after that we will be watching the leaves lose their brightness and start falling to the ground. Therefore, we must take advantage of the summer months and get some travel plans set in stone. Traveling is such a wonderful way to pull yourself out of a lull and remove yourself from your comfortable routine. It opens your eyes. It heightens your senses. It changes you.
This summer I plan to take some Aviation American Gin with me wherever I go. I want to experience the floral sweetness and subtle spiciness of Aviation all over the planet. Last year I enjoyed some crisp Aviation on the rocks in the deep South Eastern corner of Oregon. Nothing like some desert dryness to really amplify the refreshing qualities of Aviation.
This year, I have plans to travel to a lake house in Massachusetts, the Monuments in Washington, D.C., and to Kenya. It feels good to have plans set in motion and know that adventures lie around the corner. Exploration and adventure, regardless of the time of year, will keep you excited about what’s to come.
-Christina Shapalis, Aviation Team Member
This year for Mother’s Day, my family and I have decided to celebrate the mothers in our lives by exploring our family’s past.
We recently discovered a box marked “party box” my grandma use to store that housed an old punch bowl, cups and a handwritten recipe for gin punch, among other fabulous 1960’s era items. There’s something magical about thinking back to the days my grandma use to dress up in full length gowns and long white gloves to host her neighbors for evening cocktails. These days, I spend a lot more time thinking about and preparing the food and a lot less time getting dressed up in cocktail attire.
This year “The Aunts” (my mom and her 3 sisters) will all come over, along with the rest of the family for a 1960’s style cocktail party, complete with cocktail attire, punch and deviled eggs (a classic of our Grandmas).
While I’ve updated the recipe to reflect our affinity for fresh juice and not juice from concentrate, the celebration will have the same feel as all those parties of cocktail past.
Updated Gin Punch Recipe
- 2 ounces Aviation American Gin
- 3/4 ounce Fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 ounce Simple syrup
- 2 ounces Soda water
- Multiply the recipe above by the number of people you’re serving
- In a bowl, add spirits and mixers through simple syrup, stir
- Keep cold in the fridge until ready to serve
- When ready, add ice, soda water and garnish with lemon wheels and maybe a few maraschino cherries
Happy Mother’s Day.
-Kelly Sanders, Aviation Team Member
As we continue to run down the list of botanical dynamics of Aviation American Gin, today’s posting brings you the seed of cilantro. Better known as Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) and especially prized by us distillers, this large, round seed finds its way into our fantastic Gin because of the unique notes contributed by a secondary oil found within.
When tasting dried coriander there isn’t the slightest hint at the tangy, savory-yet-bright (and to some palates soapy, or even worse, fetid!) flavor and aroma associated with cilantro. This is because once the coriander is dried the essential oil yielding those initial perceptions evaporates and leaves other oils to be easily extracted. This gives way to woodsy notes, floral hints, and even some vivid citrus qualities. And why? Because coriander shares compounds in this oil also found within geraniums.
When tasting Aviation American Gin you experience an earthiness balanced with citrus, spice, and light floral sweetness. This makes for an incredibly tasty exhibit of flavors largely appreciated in a freshly-shaken cocktail. One that I think accentuates these refreshing qualities is the Corpse Reviver No. 2.
Appearing in Harry Craddock’s 1930 classic, Savoy Cocktail Book, this outstanding concoction brings together the elements offered from coriander by highlighting and even matching some attributes of the Gin. And our counterpart Coriander is also preferred by most producers of pastis and herbal liqueurs so the absinthe spritz ties in all components. Aviation American Gin brightens up this classic drink that never fails to cure what ails you. You’ve been revived.
-Miles Munroe, Distiller
With the warmer weather and endless Cinco de Mayo celebrations occurring this month, we have got margaritas on the brain. We are all about cocktail experimentation here at Aviation and that had us thinking….what about Ginaritas! Instead of using the classic choice, tequila, we thought we would explore the idea of using Aviation American Gin in our margaritas. Some say the Gin Daisy was the original margarita, after all.
To test out these Ginaritas, I had a few friends over and got the grill going. The first Ginarita I made was with strawberries and Sriracha sauce. Inspired from this recipe, I switched out the tequila for Aviation and kept everything the same.
This was a hit among the group. The sweet strawberries and agave balanced nicely with the spicy Sriracha sauce and the Aviation added a subtle botanical layer to the Ginarita. It also paired pretty perfectly with a fresh-off-the-grill cheeseburger.
I wanted to try another Ginarita, equally as unique, but completely different in flavor from the strawberry and Sriracha combination. Not only does this Cucumber-Cilantro Ginarita taste totally different, but it also stands apart with its vivid green, all-natural color. The color variation of the Ginaritas allows the opportunity for ‘his’ and ‘her’ cocktails, for perhaps a summer wedding party.
I really couldn’t pick a favorite between the two, but if I had to pick, I think I liked the Cucumber-Cilantro Ginarita a bit more. And that is truly because I may be the one person in the world who doesn’t love Sriracha sauce. Well, and I have a severe obsession with cilantro.
It was a fun experiment to replace tequila with Aviation and see how it could withstand the make-up of a margarita. My friends and I would agree it did just wonderfully in these versions of the classic cocktail. Have fun experimenting with popular cocktail templates and make them your own.
-Christina Shapalis, Aviation Team Member
On May 5 1862, American-born General Ignacio Zaragoza fortified his out-manned (roughly 3:1) and under-equipped Mexican troops in Puebla de Los Angeles. French General Charles Latrille de Lorencez attacked with his well-armed French forces at daybreak and by nightfall the French forces had suffered a great defeat. Overall, in the Franco-Mexican War, this was a win in a minor battle, but was held in great regard as a symbolic victory for Mexico.
Cinco de Mayo has become a very popular holiday in the US, and we like to use this day to celebrate the history and culture of our neighbors to the South, Mexico. Cocktails, mariachis, piñatas and parades are a few of the things that you will find on Cinco de Mayo.
Just like the American-born general Zaragoza was able to help fortify the Mexican troops and score an important victory in their battle, I would like to use Aviation American Gin to help fortify a classic Mexican cocktail, the paloma. In this spin on the paloma I will be replacing tequila, with Aviation American Gin to create a light and refreshing libation that can be easily made to help you celebrate.
- 2 oz Aviation American Gin
- 3 Mini heirloom tomatoes
- 3 Basil leaves
- .75 oz Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
- .5 oz Freshly pressed lime juice
- .75 oz Agave nectar
- Club soda
- Muddle the mini heirloom tomatoes and basil leaves in a tin
- Add spirits & mixers
- Shake all of the ingredients and strain them over fresh ice in a Collins glass
- Finally, top your beverage with club soda
- Garnish with a mini heirloom tomato and a basil leaf and enjoy!
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
-Rich Heider II, Aviation Team Member