August 2015 - Aviation American Gin

Monthly Archives: August 2015

Inspired by the Garden

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Around this time of year my garden is in full bloom. Tomatoes, basil, peppers, arugula, kale, and so forth are all growing faster than they can be consumed, and to waste such delicious, homegrown morsels would be a crime. Therefore I find there is often one logical solution; invite a friend or two over and have a picnic!

Freshly sliced  tomatoes, figs, and melon combine with salty prosciutto and creamy mozzarella is indeed a full meal. Simply slice everything up and serve with sea salt and vinaigrette. It is simple and clean, and allows you to taste the pure deliciousness of your own grown creations. Pair this with an equally garden fresh cocktail, and you have a night to remember.

Since my arugula is really thriving, I decided it would be a fun experiment to infuse Aviation American Gin with the peppery, earthy green. Turns out, it is quite tasty. I played up the peppery aspect of the arugula by creating a black pepper simple syrup to go with it. I balanced out the spice with sweet cantaloupe and lime juices, and voila a garden fresh cocktail was born.

The Peppered Aviation

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  • 2 oz Arugula Infused Aviation American Gin*
  • 3/4 oz freshly pureed Cantaloupe juice
  • 1/2 oz freshly pressed Lime juice
  • 3/4 oz Black Pepper simple syrup*


  1. Combine spirits and mixers in a pint glass
  2. Fill with ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds
  3. Double strain into a glass with or without ice
  4. Garnish with prosciutto and basil
  5. *To make Arugula infused gin; add 1 cup of fresh arugula to 3 cups Aviation, allow to sit for at least one night, taste as it infuses to get desired amount of peppery flavor, fine strain when ready
  6. *To make black pepper simple syrup, combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns in a saucepan, heat until sugar dissolves, allow to cool, fine strain out peppercorns

This cocktail is also good topped with soda water over ice. Hope you have fun being creative with the fruits of your garden!

-Rena Hartman + Christina Shapalis, Aviation Team Members

History of The Southside


The Southside. Gin’s answer to the mojito. A cocktail with a rich and controversial past, there are several theories as to how it came to be: Was it initially popularized in New York’s 21 Club? Created by prohibition era gangsters on Chicago’s south side? An original favorite of the Southside Sportsman’s Club on Long Island? The actual origin of this classic remains a mystery, but one thing is certain: nothing beats the vibrant and refreshing combination of mint, lemon and gin on a hot day. Some add soda, some add a few dashes of aromatic bitters. Try it with lime. If you cannot make it by the 21 Club, where The Southside remains a house specialty for over 90 years, this recipe should suffice:


  • 2 oz Aviation American Gin
  • 3/4 oz Freshly pressed lemon juice
  • 6 leaves Mint
  • 3/4 oz Simple syrup


  1. In a pint glass, muddle the mint leaves
  2. Add spirits & mixers
  3. Fill with ice & shake vigorously
  4. Strain into a cocktail glass
  5. Garnish with a mint sprig

-Jay Henningfeld, Aviation Team Member

Easy Breezy Beach Hangs

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September may be approaching rapidly, but the heat has not begun dissipating, and therefore, the beach is still a hot spot for fun hangouts. Recently my friends and I have found it entertaining and exhausting to pretend we are straight out of the movie Top Gun and play nonstop beach volleyball on the weekends. If you need a refresher on the classic volleyball scene pitting shirtless Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer against one another, click here. You won’t regret it.

val kilmer

While we are diving and flopping around in the sand, we imagine we look as good if not better than Cruise and Kilmer, though we actually look pretty ridiculous. The sun is hot and burns clear, the sand beneath it a million degrees. Each movement is slowed by the sand, tiring us extensively as we play rounds of two on two games. Despite the sweat and bad plays, we feel cool. And though it is hard work, it feels great.

In between these games are sweet, relaxing hang outs in the shade. With coolers of beer and water all around, I decided to upgrade our shady spot and bring some citrus and herb infused soda water, and of course some Aviation American Gin.  The citrus and herb water could not be easier to make and it was hit among the group. The option to mix in a touch of Aviation was appreciated and capitalized upon, though the water on its own was delightful and refreshing.

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Citrus & Herb Infused Soda Water

  • 1 Orange, sliced
  • 2 Lemons, sliced
  • Handful of fresh Basil
  • 2 tablespoons Sugar (optional)
  • 2 liter of Soda water
  • Extra Orange slices for garnish

I put the fruit and herbs in a mason jar beverage dispenser and gently muddled them. I then covered them in the sugar and let that sit for 15 minutes. Then I poured the soda water in and let chill for an hour before heading to the courts. Once there, I added ice to keep it chill and allowed people to self serve until their hearts were content. It paired deliciously with Aviation and kept us hydrated. Without proper hydration, you can’t pull off all those sweet bumps, sets and spikes.

Enjoy making the most of the end of summer.

-Christina Shapalis, Aviation Team Member



Millions of Peaches


Every year in Colorado, as summer approaches, we start to look forward to the peaches that come from the Western Slope. With our short growing season and high altitude, there aren’t a lot of fruits that thrive here, but the stone fruits that are grown west of the Continental Divide are among the best in the country.

A couple of weeks ago we got the first of the peaches for the season, and it seemed like a great opportunity to update one of my favorite classic cocktails, the Barnum (Was Right). It’s basically a variation on a Pegu Club, with Apricot Brandy in place of the Curacao. For my version, we made a light peach shrub to take the place of the Apricot Brandy, added a little bit of Pine Liqueur, and named it after P.T. Barnum’s rival, David Hannum.

Hannum (Was Right)


  • 1 ½ oz Aviation American Gin
  • ½ oz Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur
  • ¾ oz Peach Syrup*
  • ¼ oz Lemon Juice


  1. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake until well chilled
  2. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist
  3. To make *Peach Syrup: combine 1 cup diced Palisade Peaches, 1 cup honey, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 champagne vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a sauce pot and simmer for 5 minutes; pour through fine mesh strainer and let cool, keep refrigerated

-Stuart Jensen, Aviation Team Member


Lemonade Inspired Recipes

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“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
– Hippocrates

There is a city off the Amalfi coast of Italy that has lemons so decadent that travelers have flocked there for centuries for a taste. Sorrento is a craggy coastal town on the southwest peninsula of Italy. The mountainous terrain paired with the salty Mediterranean climate make for perfect lemon growing. These lemons also have a mysterious history of increasing longevity of life. Sorrento’s residents are rumored to have a higher life expectancy than other Italian citizens by about five to ten years. And who wouldn’t live longer if you ate lemon preserves for breakfast, garnished your pizza with lemon peel, and always washed it down with a healthy dose of limoncello.

But really it’s no wonder that lemons are linked to a longer life. Lemons are a liver stimulant and detoxifier, they contain lots and lots of anti-oxidants, lemon peel contains phytonutrient tangeretin which is known to fight brain disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, they strengthen blood vessels and destroy intestinal worms. And these are only a few of the benefits lemons provide to your body.

I love lemons and I’m pretty into having a longer life so this is a rumor that I can get behind. As it turns out, gin and lemonade make excellent paramours. Cocktails such as The Aviation Cocktail, the French 75, and the Tom Collins all feature gin with lemons. Lemon and gin are destined for each other! To celebrate this love affair and to promote long life, I have provided a few gin and lemonade recipes that will surely bring you happiness if not extend your life ever-so-slightly. Each one flirts with a different flavor sensation on your palate and provides wonderful health benefits.

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Delicious and nutritious

Acidic flavors are not for the faint of heart, but boy do they make food and drink interesting. A chef friend of mine recently introduced me to vinegar shrubs. Shrubs are an acidulated beverage made from fruit juice, sugar, vinegar, and other ingredients.They are wonderful in both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, they keep well and mellow out over time, and vinegar has some amazing health benefits for you. Apple cider vinegar, one of the better vinegars for making shrubs, helps ease digestion, promotes weight loss, lowers blood sugar levels, and improves symptoms of diabetes. I had some leftover strawberry-watermelon shrub that my chef friend had given me and I thought it would be gorgeous in a limeade. However, you could use any local fruit or berry to make your shrub and it would be just as tasty and you could just as easily use lemons instead of limes.

Watermelon-Strawberry Gin Limeade

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  • 2 oz Aviation American Gin
  • 4 juiced Limes
  • 1 oz Strawberry-watermelon shrub*
  • 1 ½ oz Simple syrup
  • Strawberry to garnish


  1. Pour all ingredients into a shaker and shake vigorously.
  2. Pour over large ice cube and garnish with a strawberry.
  3. *To make strawberry-watermelon shrub; add 1 cup of sugar and 1 ½ cup of water to a sauce pan, heat until sugar dissolves, then add berries and/or fruit(s) and simmer until the fruits’ juice blends well into the syrup. Let the mixture cool and strain out the solids. Finally, add 1 cup of apple cider or champagne vinegar to the syrup, bottle it up, and store in the fridge. Et voila!

Roses are one of my favorite culinary ingredients. As luck would have it, I have a rose bush in my front yard and they have a much sweeter flavor and scent than the store bought roses. I plucked a few for the rose simple syrup and to make some rose water to add to the lemonade.

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My rose bush

Rose water is known to have many health benefits: it clarifies your skin, is a mild sedative and anti-depressant, it’s anti-septic, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory (It’s good for the gut, too. Drink two tablespoons a day to combat belly issues). Also, a nice cold rose water bath on irritated eyes or bug bites is more soothing than any over the counter drug. I promise! Rose water is simply one part boiling water to one part roses. Store it in your fridge and it keeps for about 5 months. Many middle eastern grocery stores also have rose water, if that is an option for you. I used a bit less simple syrup than for the rest of the recipes and I included the rose water in the lemonade so this cocktail has an intriguing balance of sweet from the syrup, sour from the lemons, and bitter from the rose water. Now, go on and settle that stomach with a rose gin lemonade.

Rose Gin Lemonade

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  • 1 1/2 oz Aviation American Gin
  • 3 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 oz water
  • ½ oz rose water
  • 1 ½ oz rose simple syrup (add one cup boiled water to one cup sugar and one cup of washed rose petals with the white ends cut off, let simmer until you can taste the rose then strain)
  • Rose petals to garnish


  1. Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake vigorously
  2. Pour into glass and garnish with rose petals

I found a recipe for sage lemonade in “Imbibe’s” book, The American Cocktail, and have been just waiting for the right spirit to try it with. Sage is a very nostalgic herb for me as I grew up in Colorado where sage is ubiquitous in urban front yards and, during my first experience in a sweat lodge in South Dakota, we smudged sage and lemongrass on the lava stones to purify our hearts. Sage is definitely an herb that is synonymous with the Old West. It has the most magnificent aromatic scent and it is high in anti-oxidants, lowers blood glucose and cholesterol, and there is seminal research out there that correlates sage with the reduction of the impact of Alzheimer’s. Have a sage lemonade and soak in all the health benefits.

Sage Gin Lemonade

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  • 1 1/2 oz Aviation American Gin
  • 3 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 oz water
  • 1 ½ oz sage simple syrup (add one cup boiled water to one cup sugar and one bunch of sage, let simmer until you can taste the sage then strain)
  • Splash of sparkling cider
  • Sprig of sage to garnish


  1. Pour all ingredients except the sparkling cider into a shaker and shake vigorously
  2. Pour into a glass, add a splash of sparkling cider, and garnish with sage

I recently made a lime-basil simple syrup for a friend of mine who does not drink alcohol. I combined it with sparkling water and it was delightfully refreshing. Then, I had leftovers. I decided to throw it into yet another lemonade. Basil is another highly beneficial herb with lots of anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory properties for both gut and joints, and it protects you from atheroschlerosis, heart attacks, and stroke what with all that vitamin A in it.
Take a gander at this cocktail for a sweet relief from your physical ailments.

Lime-Basil Gin Lemonade

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  • 1 ½ oz Aviation American Gin
  • 3 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 oz water
  • 2 oz lime-basil simple syrup (add one cup of boiling water to one cup of sugar mixed with the zest of one lime and a handful of basil, let simmer until you can taste the lime and basil then strain)
  • Sprig of basil to garnish


  1. Pour all ingredients into a shaker and shake vigorously
  2. Pour into a glass and garnish with a basil sprig

“To Your Health!”

-Carlene Ostedgaard, Aviation Team Member

The Portland Hunt + Alpine Club


One of the most exciting food and beverage scenes on the East Coast right now can be found in Portland, Maine. The anchor of the cocktail side of this lovely seaside city is Portland Hunt + Alpine Club. Named by Bon Appetit as one of the Best New Cocktail Bars in America in 2014, Portland Hunt + Alpine Club is the brainchild of husband and wife team Andrew and Briana Volk. Andrew, formerly of Clyde Common in Aviation American Gin‘s hometown of Portland, Oregon, created this tipple for us.

Emerald Aviation Fizz

By Andrew Volk


  • 1.5 oz Aviation American Gin
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 0.5 oz egg white
  • 0.25 oz rich simple syrup (2:1)
  • 6-8 mint leafs
  • 1 oz heavy cream
  • 1.5 oz club soda


  1. Shake all ingredients except cream and soda hard, with no ice
  2. Add ice and cream, shake hard
  3. Fine strain into clean shaker, shake dry for ~60 seconds
  4. Dump into chilled 10oz Collins glass,  let rest for ~60 seconds
  5. Add soda, garnish with a fresh mint leaf

-Claire Bertin-Lang, Aviation Team Member

Where in the World is Anthony Bourdain?

bourdain punjab

Sometimes in my dreams I am on a train, looking over a steep mountain cliff, in search of strange cultures in distant lands. I blame my habit of watching any and all Anthony Bourdain programs in a marathon style. This time it’s _Parts Unknown_, and my main man is in Punjab, India. As I watched him eat his was through the most perfect curried vegetable dishes the world has to offer, I could not help but crave a Lassi drink.

If you aren’t already aware, the Lassi is a popular yogurt based drink that originated on the Indian Subcontinent. It’s a brilliant way to stay cool and not eat heavy meals on the hottest of hot days. It can be flavored with everything from mint, to cumin, to mango, to hemp. What better inspiration for a drink?

The Cherry & Orange Aviation Lassi

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  • 2 oz Aviation American Gin
  • 1 cup fresh un-flavored full-fat yogurt
  • Half a fresh orange
  • A splash of orange juice
  • 4 Luxardo Cherries
  • A teaspoon of Luxardo Cherry syrup
  • 1 ounce simple syrup


  1. Muddle cherries and oranges with ice and simple syrup
  2. Add yogurt and gin with a bit more ice, and shake
  3. Strain into a glass and garnish with orange and a cherry

This is certainly not the last time I will chase Bourdain to some wild land in my mind, but it proved to be the most refreshing thus far. Cheers!

-Rena Hartman, Aviation Team Member

Boozy Floats

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I recently turned the Honey Basil Deluxe cocktail into ice cream to satisfy my sweet tooth. Today, I turned that ice cream back into a cocktail.

You can easily to the same thing with your favorite cocktail and store bought ice cream of a complimentary flavor.

For my version, I poured 1 ounce of Aviation American Gin into a glass. I topped it with two scoops of Honey Basil Deluxe ice cream and poured soda water to fill the glass. It’s a super simple dessert, perfect for any summer party.

-Kelly Sanders, Aviation Team Member

Unlike Trix, Ice Cream Desserts aren’t just for Kids

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I love making ice cream. I love making boozy ice cream event more. I was searching through the Aviation recipe page and realized the Honey Basil Deluxe was perfect to transform into ice cream.

Based on the cocktail recipe, I came up with the following ice cream. It’s lightly sweet, smooth and a little earthy. It’s delicious.

Honey Basil Deluxe Ice Cream


  • 3 cups Heavy cream
  • 1 cup Whole milk
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 1 Vanilla bean, split lengthwise and the seeds scraped out
  • 3 tablespoons Basil
  • 1 Lemon zested
  • 4 Large egg yokes
  • 1 tablespoon Vanilla extract


  1. In a large pot, combine cream, milk, honey, vanilla bean and seeds, and chopped basil. Stir together and heat over medium heat until hot. Make sure not to burn the milk.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yokes. Add in about a cup of the heated milk, all the while whisking. This will prevent your eggs from turning into scrambled eggs when you add them to the hot cream. Pour the egg mixture into the remaining milk mixture. Stir on the heat until the mixture covers the back of a wooden spoon. Take off the heat and let the basil and vanilla steep in the milk for about 30 minutes.
  3. Pour mixture through a fine strainer and discard the vanilla bean and basil pieces. Add in vanilla extract and lemon zest. Cover and refrigerate until cool.
  4. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and follow your machines instructions. Once done, pour mixture into a freezer tight container and allow to rest in the freezer for 2 or more hours.

Next, I’ll be transforming this ice cream into a boozy ice cream float. That blog will be coming soon…if I don’t eat all the ice cream before I get to it.

-Kelly Sanders, Aviation Team Member

Five Favorites for Summer

Can you believe it is already August? Before long September will be here and everyone will be dreaming of cold nights, staying warm by way of fire and hot toddies. Mmm, hot toddies. But before we succumb to the inevitable cycle of the seasons, let us maximize the remainder of summer and stay cool until the very end.  To help you ride out the rest of summer in the coolest of fashions, here are five of our favorite hot weather cocktails:

1. Tom Collins

The Tom Collins is versatile, easy and so very refreshing it can literally wipe the sweat right off your face. My favorite part about a Collins is making it my own. I grow a lot of mint, so my favorite combination this summer was a Strawberry + Mint Collins.

Strawberry Collins


2. Southside

A Southside is always made with mint, giving it that cooling, refreshing sensation on the palate. Perfect for when you are trying to get cool. Like a Tom Collins, a Southside is also easy to customize. A favorite this summer was a Pineapple Southside. Simply add a few muddled pineapple chunks to the original recipe.

Pineapple Southside Cocktail


3. Aviation & Tonic

Does it get more classic than a Gin & Tonic? Especially in the heat of summer, there really is nothing quite like it. If you click the link above you will see our all time favorite recipe for an Aviation’s Gin & Tonic, but like all great things in life, this cocktail is customizable. I usually enjoy mine with Aviation American Gin, Fever Tree Tonic Water and a squeeze of lemon or lime, or maybe both.

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4. Watermelon Cucumber Cooler

Watermelon and summer go together like butternut squash and winter. Literally when I picture summer, I see watermelons. I love the recipe above, but I also enjoy adding muddled or juiced watermelon to all sorts of cocktails. Recently we just wrote about Watermelon Day, where you can find the recipe for the Sour Watermelon Fizz, pictured below.



5. Beers Knees

I enjoy a good Hefeweizen in the summer, and Widmer Brothers Brewing makes quite a fine one. Combining a traditional Bees Knees cocktail with beer is something that seems wrong, but tastes so right. You get that crispness of the cocktail and the bubbles of the beer all in one sip. This cocktail tastes like summer.

Beers Knees2

Don’t let summer escape before you’ve tasted these crisp and cool cocktails.

-Christina Shapalis, Aviation Team Member


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