July 2015 - Aviation American Gin

Monthly Archives: July 2015

A Bit of History on the Gimlet

Gimlet with bottle

A Gimlet is one of the most classic cocktails, and also quite simple to make. Our favorite version can be found here, though the ingredients are always the same; gin, lime and sugar. The Gimlet gained popularity in the 19th century due to promotion by British officers. The citrus in the cocktail was originally included because of its belief to battle off scurvy. The lime also helped cover the harshness of the gin. It was a win win situation for sailors.

The Gimlet has undergone many transformations throughout the years, but it remains a cocktail that embodies simple deliciousness. Rose’s Lime Cordial was the original lime in a Gimlet, but if you can’t access that, using fresh pressed lime juice and simple syrup is a perfect alternative.

Cheers to traditions and making them your own.

-Christina Shapalis, Aviation Team Member


True Detective

I am huge fan of HBO‘s shows and True Detective is no exception. Well into the second season, True Detective is one of those shows you can’t half attentively watch and understand, you have to wholeheartedly pay attention or you’ll be lost. This past Sunday, as I was intently watching the latest episode, ‘Church in Ruins’, you can imagine my excitement when I noticed this….

truedetective072615…A bottle of Aviation American Gin. If I had been paying less attention I may have thought I hallucinated it. But there was no mistaking it. A favorite show just got even sweeter!

-Christina Shapalis, Aviation Team Member


Grilled Garnishes

I have always enjoyed grilling unconventional things and being surprised at the result. These days, in culinary and cocktail worlds alike, there seem to be few things left in the unconventional category, but it is still fun to pretend. Seeing as it’s almost August, and summer is fleeting faster than we thought possible, I decided to have a few people over, fire up the grill, and experiment with different grilled fruits as garnishes. Based on what I had already at home and what looked good at the store, the fruits we grilled were: pineapple, peach, strawberry, apricot, plum, lemon and fennel (how did a vegetable sneak in there).

Grilled Garnishes 3

I threw the fruit directly on the grill to get nice sear marks and a smoky flavor, though there are many easier ways to do this. I say easier because I lost a few pieces of fruit to the ashy coals below. But enough survived to garnish cocktails with!

Grilled Garnishes 4

I thought a Southside would be the perfect compliment to the various grilled fruits. To switch it up, I used our classic recipe but added some muddled grilled fennel to the mix. When it came to functionality of the grilled garnishes; peaches, lemons, strawberries and pineapples were the best at holding their structure. Apricots and plums were a little too mushy to use as a garnish, but their flavor was incredible post-grill. The plum especially got a wonderful sour flavor that was truly incredible. I plan to grill up a bunch of plums and do a blended cocktail in the future. The favorite garnishes were the grilled lemon and the strawberry. I also garnished with a fresh fennel frond to accent the grilled fennel in the cocktail.

Grilled Garnishes

Overall, a fun and delicious experiment. Grilled garnishes are definitely something I’ll need to investigate further as we head into the month of August.

Happy Grilling!

Grilled Garnishes 2

-Christina Shapalis, Aviation Team Member

McCrady’s Newest Creation

McCradys Cocktail
The south does a lot of things right. Creating incredible cocktails in no exception. I recently had the pleasure of visiting McCrady’s in Charleston, South Carolina and got to try one of their newest creations; the Dirty Shelia. Here is the recipe if you won’t be headed to Charleston anytime soon.

Dirty Sheila

by Bethany Kocak

  • 3/4 oz Aviation American Gin
  • 3/4 oz Aquavit
  • 1/2 oz JAM Watermelon Vinegar
  • 1/2 oz Simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz Lime juice
  • Garnished with Cuca-melon stuffed with Finger Lime pearls

-Claire Bertin-Lang, Aviation Team Member

Happy Birthday Amelia Earhart


So, this woman gets in a plane alone and flies it clear across the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. Then, she attempts to circumnavigate the world, and disappears somewhere just shy of the Equator in the vast Pacific Ocean at the young age of 39. You know the story. Every little girl found a light in her heroic tale. To me, she is “the” American heroine.

Before digital communication, mid-century advancements in stereo communication, or even plane refueling tactics this lithe, tan maven of aviation endeavored to fly around the world in 1937. It is harrowing to consider what she went through, but more so it is inspiring to ponder her inner strength and determination. A Midwestern girl who suffered through the early tremors leading up to the Great Depression and the problems afflicting middle class families of the time, she was so taken with flying she dropped out of Columbia University to pursue a career as a pilot.

She took on so many epic challenges. She flew planes that were incredibly difficult to get off the ground, on minimal fuel, with bare bones supplies. The races in which she participated and the long routes she choose were baffling to many pilots of either gender. She did not discuss daintily her role as a pilot. She acted out of equality and decisiveness, not as a woman but simply a flyer.

Her final voyage is clearly the most interesting and studied. On her quest to circumnavigate the globe she collected untold treasures, kept perfect journals and books of her travel and experience, set records, and all of it has gone to the fishes somewhere four kilometers down in the Pacific Ocean. Ms. Earhart knew this was a possibility. She knew the potential for failure was grand. She was a mere two days away (in the twenty-nine planned) from the finish when the radio men at Howland Island, a blip in the ocean just north of the Equator and just under 2,000 miles from Hawaii, lost contact with her. She would have made it in 24 days, at the rate she was flying. The Howland Island landing was the most difficult and important portion of her journey, and it went awry in a mysterious series of events.

Maybe she couldn’t get radio signal to Howland. Maybe she landed on an atol 200 miles from her projected course. Maybe she crashed and sank into the Pacific. Maybe she was spying on the Japanese. The possibilities are endless. The mystery is fascinating.

The truth is that she was beloved, and the loss was damaging to the American psyche. Moreover, it was devastating to her husband. Still, he survived her by more than 20 years, and never really vacated the search for her. She is a treasure, and even if the mystery is never solved she stands as an American pioneer and hero.

I relate to Amelia on so many levels. My greatest goal in life, the thing I strive for: To dive in headfirst, without fear. Or, as Amelia puts it (far more eloquently), “The most difficult thing is the decisions to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.”

Upon first meeting Aviation American Gin in a small bar in Southeast Portland, Oregon, I thought of Amelia Earhart. I had just driven my Buick Century across the Western United States, to a brand new town where I knew few people and was seeking nostalgia. My bartender, Maryanna, reminded me of the gals serving killer drinks at the sweet mixology bars in NYC. At that point, late 2010, I hadn’t met a gin I liked. She made me a perfect dry martini, stirred not shaken, and I was in love. My relationship with Aviation American Gin spans the five years I’ve been here. And, for me, that is serious commitment.

Over that five year span I endeavored many times to create a cocktail inspired by Amelia Earhart. Something with a strength, yet layers of flavor, the color of the ocean and the sky. After watching the film Amelia, last night, I finally found the inspiration. In an early scene at a lecture her character describes flying across the Atlantic Ocean, and notes that somewhere on her journey the sea became the sky–they melded.

The Sea and The Sky

  • 2 ounces Aviation American Gin
  • 2 ounces Creme de Violette
  • 2 ounces lime juice
  • 2 dashes Celery Bitters
  • 2 dashes Lime Bitters
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake well, and double strain into a glass. Before enjoying look at the color of the cocktail as you hold it up to light, and then lower it. If you are so inclined, toast to your own loves and inner strengths with Ms. Earhart’s classic, sweet, and dry-witted goodbye, “Well, see ya’.”


Brooke Arthur for the Win

Awards Presenters Jason Crawley (left) and Philip Duff (right) celebrate Brooke Arthur's Best American Brand Ambassador distinction at the 2015 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards on July 18, 2015 at the Sheraton Hotel in New Orleans

From all of us at Aviation American Gin and House Spirits Distillery, a big congratulations to Brooke Arthur for winning Best American Brand Ambassador at the 2015 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards.

As Tom Mooney, Co-Owner and CEO of House Spirits Distillery said, “This award is another highlight in Brooke’s distinguished career.  I would love to quip that we knew her before she was famous, but in fact she was a respected member of the cocktail community long before we at House Spirits Distillery had the pleasure of calling her our colleague and partner.  Along the way, Brooke has built a reputation for her talent, willingness to work hard, and kindness to all, and we are so very proud of her achievement.” The rest of the team couldn’t have said it better.

We are so proud to count you as one of our teammates, Brooke!

Jason Crawley presents the Best American Brand Ambassador Award to House Spirits' Brooke Arthur at the 2015 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards on July 18, 2015 at the Sheraton Hotel in New Orleans

Lavender Bound

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One of my favorite flavors found in Aviation American Gin is beautiful French lavender, officially called French Superior Lavender.  It’s the flavor I taste first and it’s what most reminds me of summer. I was able to snag some lavender from the distillery the other day and was inspired by the newly arrived peaches at the grocery store. All that culinary inspiration soon found me in my kitchen. I made some delicious Lavender Peach Scones, inspired by this post from How Sweet It is. While my recipe is different, either would be good paired with this Aviation Gin & Tonic.

Aviation Gin & Tonic

Lavender Peach Scones

2 Peaches sliced

2 Tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon culinary lavender, plus extra for sprinkling

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 Teaspoon baking soda

1 Teaspoon salt

3/4 Cup cold butter

2/3 Cup buttermilk

2 Teaspoons vanilla extract

1 Egg

For the topping

1 Egg

1 Teaspoon water

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 Teaspoon crushed lavender


Preheat oven to 400. In a frying pan, combine the peaches, brown sugar and olive oil. Saute until peaches are soft and juices are running. Take off heat and allow to cool. In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, lavender, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Add in the cold butter and pulse until butter becomes the size of peas. Mix the buttermilk, vanilla and 1 egg. Dump the flour mixer out of a clean dry counter top. Make a well in the middle. Add the buttermilk mixer and combine. Do not over mix. Form a disc and cut into triangles. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes.

Gin & Tonic Sangria

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One of the most classic cocktails for summertime has to be the Gin and Tonic. Slightly sweet and bitter with often some citrus; it is a winning combination. I love the classic variation of the cocktail, but I stumbled upon this recipe for Gin & Tonic Sangria and I knew immediately that I had to try it. I find white wine, such as Pinot Grigio, sangria more refreshing and lighter and therefore, more desirable during these warm summer months. If you love gin and tonics and sangria….trying this at home is a no-brainer! Besides, pitcher cocktails make hosting a breeze.

Aviation & Tonic Sangria

photo (4)


  • 3 oz Aviation American Gin
  • 2-3 oz Freshly pressed lime juice
  • 1 bottle Pinot Grigio
  • 1/2 Cucumber, sliced
  • 2 limes, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Cane sugar
  • 1 bottle Fever Tree Tonic
  • Fresh Rosemary


  1. In a large pitcher, combine Aviation, wine, and sugar; stir til dissolves
  2. Add lime juice, sliced lime and cucumber, and the rosemary
  3. Refrigerate for an hour to let flavors meld and get chilled
  4. Top with Fever Tree Tonic before serving
  5. Serve in ice filled rocks glass
  6. Garnish with rosemary sprig and slice of lime


-Christina Shapalis, Aviation Team Member


The Dark Chocolate Chili

dark chocolate chili

My whole life I’ve surrounded myself with a specific type of folk: crazy intelligent people who love to drink. As you can imagine, the bar is set pretty high for providing enjoyment in the form of libations to my friends and family. Still, I am determined to try.

A little intimidated yet full of conviction, I begged my roommates to let me use them as cocktail guinea pigs.

My mission was to create a drink that featured House Spirits Coffee Liqueur. Most cocktail recipes using coffee liqueur use either some type of Irish Cream or milk. We are currently in the thick of steamy summer days and, in my mind, steamy summer days do not play nice with Irish Cream and milk.

Inspired by a couple of recipes I’d seen, including a pepper simple syrup recipe I found on this very blog, I concocted a drink that satisfied all of my favorite mouth sensations: sweet, spicy, and bubbly.

On an abnormally balmy night, in the low lighting of our kitchen, my roommates and I alternately swatted at the mosquitoes that sought our sanguinary nourishment and discussed responsible urban planning and inclusive community-building while I mixed and we collectively refined what may be my new favorite drink. Now, that’s some community building.

I hope you all enjoy our household cocktail creation.

The Dark Chocolate Chili


  • 1 oz Aviation American Gin
  • 1 ½ oz House Spirits Coffee Liqueur
  • ¼ oz cayenne simple syrup*
  • 3 dashes of Scrappy’s Chocolate Bitters
  • A splash or two of Brut sparkling wine**


  1. Add spirits and mixers through chocolate bitters into a shaker with ice and shake
  2. Pour into a tumbler glass and add a splash of sparkling wine
  3. *To make cayenne simple syrup: Boil one cup of water with one cup of raw sugar and 1 to 1 ½ tablespoon of cayenne pepper powder (depending on your spice preference), strain through a fine strainer
  4. **If champagne isn’t your jam, no worries. This cocktail is equally good without the bubbly!

Happy Chocolate Day!

-Carlene Ostedgaard, Aviation Team Member



Herbaceous, woody, and classified within the mint family, we focus on Lavender for this installment of our Aviation American Gin deconstruction. Its popularity crosses many cultures and is used in the culinary world across the entire food spectrum from savory to sweet. Also, because of its direct relation to mint a bit of camphor lingers on its perception giving an excellent earthiness against the bitter lying beneath.

For most, the aroma and first sip of Aviation brings top notes of Lavender. We use the French variety (Lavandula stoechas) that is more assertive than English Lavender and gives that distinct flavor entry to your palate. But because Aviation is so well-balanced, playing on several notes throughout, the Lavender never shows too sharp or perfumed and then lays down the earthiness that brilliantly shines with citrus.

A cocktail I think is an excellent showcase for Lavender, and refreshing for these hot summer months is the Sparkling Lavender Spritz. The Lavender syrup that accompanies, is easy to make and has great uses besides a cocktail (Lavender syrup on vanilla ice cream for life).

Sparkling Lavender Spritz 3

Sparkling Lavender Spritz

Or, better yet, keep using it in drinks like a Lavender Collins:

  • 2 oz Aviation American Gin
  • 1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1-1/2 oz Lavender Syrup
  • 3 oz Club Soda (+/- to taste)

Stir gin, lemon juice, and syrup together in a Collins glass.
Add 2-3 ice cubes and top with Club Soda.
Garnish with lavender stalk and some petals, if you wish.

How about a Lavender Negroni:

  • 1 oz Aviation American Gin
  • 3/4 oz Campari
  • 3/4 oz Cinzano Bianco (to depart from traditional sweet vermouth)
  • 2 dashes Lavender Bitters

Garnish: lemon wheel, lavender sprig
Glass: rocks
Ice: cubes

Stir and strain on fresh ice, garnish with lemon wheel & lavender sprig.

-Miles Munroe, Aviation Team Member

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