September 2015 - Aviation American Gin

Monthly Archives: September 2015

Aviation Gin Fig Upside Down Cake

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I keep seeing figs in the market and every time I buy them, I eat them before I can cook with them…until today. Below is a fig upside down cake I adapted to include some delicious Aviation from this recipe []. All I can say is this cake is spectacularly delicious and I encourage all of you to stop what you’re doing and go make it….NOW.

Aviation Gin Fig Upside Down Cake


  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons butter at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Aviation American Gin
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 pound fresh figs (I used a combination of what looked good at the market)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cups sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees
  2. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan and line with parchment paper
  3. Zest the orange and set aside
  4. In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Once butter is melted, add brown sugar, and 1/2 the orange juice. Stir until dissolved. Remove the sauce pan from the heat and add in the Aviation American Gin.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Place the sliced figs, cut side down, in an even layer on top of the sugar mixture.
  6. In a bowl, combine orange zest, flour, salt, and baking powder
  7. In a separate bowl cream the 1 cup butter with the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time. Then beat in the sour cream and vanilla.
  8. Combine the wet and dry ingredients together. Then, carefully spread the batter on top of the figs.
  9. Bake in the oven until a toothpick comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
  10. Allow the pan to rest for about 10 minutes before turning it upside down on a serving plate

-Kelly Sanders, Aviation Team Member

Cheers to Coffee Day!

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Coffee. The backbone of working America! Well, that could be an exaggeration, but quite a few of us start our days very similarly; wake up, rub our eyes, immediately wonder where the coffee is. The fragrance, the caffeine, the warming and comforting quality of it, makes for the perfect morning….afternoon…post-dinner…beverage. Can you tell I love coffee?

Lucky for me I live in Portland, OR and incredible coffee is the norm. I wanted to celebrate my good fortune and try Aviation American Gin with coffee, because oddly enough, I had yet to do so. There are many recipes online for English Coffee, which I adapted by using an American gin, rather than a London style. I actually prefer to the lighter juniper flavor when mixed with coffee, but to each their own. I also used House Spirits Coffee Liqueur instead of Kahlúa for a less sweet version. I think the obscene amounts of whip cream I put on top, oh and the cherry, made up for it.

American Coffee

  • 3/4 oz Aviation American Gin
  • 1/2 oz Triple Sec
  • 1/2 oz House Spirits Coffee Liqueur
  • 5 oz Hot black coffee
  • Cherry, for garnish

Mix in a glass, top with whip cream and a cherry!

Happy Coffee Day!

-Christina Shapalis, Aviation Team Member

Pickles + Gin


I hesitate to write about pickles from Portland, as our town’s predilection for home-made pickles and other DIY foods has become nearly a national punchline. Sometimes it’s worth it though, and the pairing of spirits and pickles is, for me, one of those times. This is especially true with summer ending and pickling vegetables filling our farmers’ markets.

When I think of pickles and spirits, I usually think of a pickleback, which is a shot of whiskey (often Irish, though try it with Westward!) accompanied by a shot of pickle brine. The interplay of sweet, spicy whiskey with tangy, salty brine is a marvelous thing to behold, elevating even the humblest whiskey and providing electrolytes to boot. I think I need one now.

But an even more inspired pairing is with pickles and gin. Whether store-bought or home-made, pickles make a delicious savory garnish for gin drinks, and even better, pickle brine is a killer cocktail ingredient.

As for making your own pickles, I like using this easy-to-follow recipe. In it I’ll often use a shot of Westward Whiskey per pint, which provides a nice amount of sweetness, or I’ll use Aviation American Gin for a spicier, sharper batch.

Wherever you get your brine, it slides easily into a classic martini recipe. I like the following recipe:

  • 1.75 oz Aviation American Gin
  • 1 oz pickle brine
  • 0.5 oz dry vermouth

Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a pickle and enjoy, couldn’t be easier!

-Andrew Tice, Aviation Team Member

Happy Fall Equinox


I recently moved back to the Pacific Northwest after living in Miami for a year. I like to think of the experience like I was an adult exchange student. My year in Miami felt foreign, and bizarre, and surreal. There are so many reasons for feeling like I was in a strange land, and one of them was the fact that south Florida has no real, distinct seasons. There is hot and then there is “I’m pretty sure I’m going to die” hot. I grew up in Colorado where seasons were most definitely a thing. The seasons might be frenetic and it might feel like all four seasons just happened within a one hour span, but we still had them.


And autumn is the grandest season of all. It is Colorado’s main event, the show stopper, the fireworks. The most brilliant reds, yellows, oranges, greens, and purples come out to play, intermingling in an oil painting effect that would make Bob Ross weep. Autumn in Colorado even smells different. It’s musky and woody and it smells like vitamin-rich, dark, water-saturated soil.

This past week I felt autumn beginning to creep into summer. It’s still hot outside, but I get this feeling– this slight chill settling into my bones. Summer is the door that is still blocking out winter, but if you look at the bottom of the door jam, you can see autumn peeking through ever so slightly. And I am ready for it. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, autumn can swing summer’s door wide open and barge into the room. I have been without autumn for nearly two years and, man-oh-man, do I miss my old friend.

Many ancient traditions and stories treat the coming of fall like a death. If you are at all connected to the Earth and its movements and especially if you use the Earth to grow food, you know this to be true. Throughout human history there was a hunkering down that took place when plants retreated in autumn. You had to prepare for the cold months by preserving and storing food, scrounging up your warm clothing, and fashioning your home to trap in the heat. In modern society, we are far less intertwined with nature and the seasons and all of the consequences that come with such changes, but if we look closely at our autumnal behavior, we can see that we haven’t lost all of these hunkering-down rituals. Autumn is the time we eat more canned foods and root vegetables and beans because those are the foods that last. We begin burrowing into our billowy comforters and we take up knitting. It’s a time of conservation and contemplation– conservation because of necessity and contemplation because of, well, boredom.

I am the type of person who thrives on contemplation so fall marks a time of celebration. And this year I am extra enthused to celebrate my first fall in two years. So, I decided to have a Mabon dinner. Mabon is simply the pagan word for the autumnal equinox celebration. Traditionally on Mabon pagans had a feast with hearty grains and vegetables such as wild rice, pumpkins, squash and gourds, apples, walnuts, beets, turnips, and carrots. They drank mead, beer, and, if they lived in Greece, wine. And they told stories of the changing seasons and reflected on their year so far. I wanted to capture this festiveness in my home so I decided to make a three course meal with three accompanying drinks. Each one is named after a woman who is featured in a fall equinox story or tradition and I will tell you their stories as I present each drink and the meal it will be imbibed with.
I hope these drinks and the dishes that accompany them fortify your soul for the coming winter.

The Opening Act
The Greeks explained the changing of the seasons through the story of Persephone and Demeter. Here’s the quick and dirty about Persephone: Hades made a deal with Zeus to kidnap Persephone (Zeus and Demeter’s daughter) because he was all lusty for her. He was successful in bringing Persephone to the underworld, but Demeter, being the Goddess of agriculture, was not cool with losing her daughter to a kidnapper and lord of the underworld so she killed off all the agriculture, bringing tremendous pain and suffering to the people on earth. Zeus saw all this pain and reasoned with Hades to allow Persephone to leave the underworld, but before she left, he fed her some pomegranate seeds. Little did Persephone know that once you eat food of the underworld, you are doomed to remain there. That wiley Hades! Once again, Demeter was having none of it and she threatened to visit starvation upon the people of the world. Hades conceded to allow Persephone to see her mother for six months out of the year (spring and summer) and she was to return to Hades for the remaining six months (autumn and winter). During this time, Demeter mourns and the plants die.

In honor of Persephone, I made an aperitif from pomegranate seeds. Since the Greeks were known to celebrate the coming of autumn by drinking wine to excess, I chose the robust Port wine for this cocktail. Port, when served at room temperature, is a digestif, but when served chilled, makes a wonderful aperitif. We enjoyed this delightful drink with a toasty, cozy cream of tomato soup, bread, and cheese.





  • 2 oz Aviation American Gin
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 oz tawny port wine
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 4 dashes of Scrappy’s Cardamom bitters
  • 4 ice cubes

Muddle ice and all but a small amount of pomegranate seeds in shaker. Pour the gin, port, cardamom bitters, and simple syrup into the shaker and shake vigorously. Double strain into a martini glass and garnish with remaining pomegranate seeds.

The Main Event
Many of you have probably heard of Oktoberfest. It is a highly co-opted holiday the world over and in the United States in particular. Very few, however, know the history of Oktoberfest. So, I will enlighten you.
Crown Prince Ludwig was a German prince. On October 12th 1810, he married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the royal event. This was the very first Oktoberfest and it just happened to coincide with traditional German autumnal equinox celebrations. Ludwig also named the fields in which the citizens of Munich celebrated Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s fields”) in honor of the Crown Princess. Theresienweise is a beautiful name and I was inspired to make a beer cocktail to celebrate Oktoberfest. To accompany the Theresienweise, I made a hearty wild rice dish with mushrooms, carrots, brussel sprouts, and asparagus.





  • 2 oz Aviation American Gin
  • 3 Tbsp Apple butter
  • 4 oz Oktoberfest beer
  • 6 dashes of root beer bitters*
  • Apple slice for garnish

Pour gin, apple butter, and root beer bitters into shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into a beer pint. Top with Oktoberfest beer and stir. Garnish with an apple slice.

*Sometimes you can find root beer bitters in the far reaches of the internet, but I made mine. Making bitters is easy! I used sarsparilla, sassafrass, and dandelion root (it’s the bittering agent) and all you have to do is pour these ingredients into a mason jar with an overproofed spirit (an overproofed rum would be gorgeous, though I used vodka) and let it sit for three weeks. Strain and pour into a bottle with a medicine dropper. Et voila!

The Denouement

To round things out, we ended with a dessert and a lovely digestif. I’ll level with you for a minute. I ran out of steam by the time it came to making dessert and I find baking dull so I bought a dessert at the farmer’s market. It was, however, a most divine whisky apple turnover and I don’t for one second regret not baking.
I decided to name my last cocktail after Demeter because, well, it’s just a great story. Plus, I was really into the idea of naming all of my drinks after ladyfolk!
This is a delightfully sweet end to a night of gluttony so revel in it.




  • 2 oz Aviation American Gin
  • 2 1/2 oz cranberry juice (the good stuff, not from concentrate)
  • 1 oz maple syrup
  • 5 dashes Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters

Pour all contents into shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into martini glass. Garnish with orange disc.

Happy Fall Equinox!

-Carlene Ostedgaard, Aviation Team Member

Hey, Honey


Pouring a round of Hey, Honey cocktails at the Feast Opening Party

This week is Feast in Portland. It is a celebration of all things local and delicious. With the help of Imbibe Magazine and The Commissary we took part in serving up some amazing drinks this week.

One cocktail in particular was especially popular so we thought it would be fun to share the recipe with our readers.

Hey, Honey

Recipe by: Sean Hoard


  • 1 1/2 oz Aviation American Gin
  • 1/2 oz freshly pressed Lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz Orgeat
  • 1/4 oz Honey syrup
  • Pinch of Jacobsen sea salt
  • Lavender DRY soda


  1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake
  2. Strain into an ice-filled glass and top with soda
  3. Garnish with a piece of dried lavender


-Christina Shapalis


NYFW 2015


Iris Apfel

There are two things I recall about my time living in NYC. The style and the fashion. It may sound vague, but if you’ve lived there you know. You can’t walk out of your far Brooklyn apartment without immediately seeing some incredibly boisterously dressed woman, or a man in a custom made jumpsuit. I’m not even talking about the fancy or upscale Brooklyn neighborhoods. Personal style is an overriding necessity in NYC. From the Orthodox Jew in the perfectly tailored wool coat to the radical Williamsburg hipster in her hand-selected vintage ensemble. Style and fashion in NYC is all-consuming. It isn’t until you move away that you realize how it changes you. Everywhere else you go you look “different” or “overdressed”. I revel in that skill that I was so lucky to attain in my time out east. I am proud of my ability to enjoy, wear, and be comfortable in strange and unusual items of apparel. My style of dress is my best confidence booster, and my comfort when I’m feeling unoriginal.

“You have to look in the mirror and see yourself. If it feels good, then I know it’s for me. I don’t dress to be stared at, I dress for myself.” -Iris Apfel

NYFW 2015 is in full swing. Having both attended shows and been backstage I can tell you that a sea of chaos feeds that river of beauty and art as it moves down the runway. The people that organize fashion week events pour themselves into 14 hour days, which turn into afterparty upon afterparty. It may sound like decadent fun, but I always recall my best friend Caroline’s tote bag stuffed to the gills with electronic devices, paper, and an array of immune boosting tonics. I think about how the inspired designer always expresses this unbelievable relief when the show is over. I recall footage of my heroine, Iris Apfel, carefully selecting each and every bauble that she will wear to sit front and center at Jeremy Scott or Betsy Johnson. I think of Anna Wintour and her team tirelessly selecting perfect pieces and looks at each show they attend to shoot for the coming issues of Vogue. And, I think about the models rushing around town with their rolling luggage, scrambling to get to the next show on time just so they can have makeup slathered on their faces and garments pinned tight to them.

The first NY Fashion Week occurred in 1943 under the keen impetus of Eleanor Lambert, press director of The New York Dress Institute. It was an effort to draw attention away from French fashion during WWII. It was called “Press Week”. It was a huge success, and motivated existing fashion magazines to feature more and more American designers.

I miss it. I miss the rushing, the craziness, the flashing lights, and then the beautiful stream of art. In the years that I haven’t been able to attend NYFW I created a little routine.

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Step 1) Carefully mull over the Fashion Bibles (what industry folks jovially call the massive issues that come out every September).
Step 2) Religiously peruse Instagram, mostly wishing I could own everything from the Mara Hoffman and Rag and Bone collections.
Step 3) Watch The Devil Wears Prada.
Step 4) Get really dressed up and walk around in my highest heels (so uncomfortable).
Step 5) Design a new cocktail.

Fashion Week Tonic

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  • 1.5 ounces Aviation American Gin
  • 1 ounce Cardamaro
  • 2 ounces Asian Pear and Ginger Kombucha

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir for about 30 seconds. Strain into a pretty glass. Enjoy while flipping through magazines.

Fashion inspires me. It moves me. It always has. My grandmother bought me a subscription to Harper’s Bazaar when I was nine. But, what inspires me most is the hard work and vision that contribute to each and every amazing NYFW. This vision turns small businesses into luxury brands. It’s a forum for the unknown designer to gain recognition and footing in a very competitive industry.

Luckily, I am wildly inspired every day. I dream of cocktails. I dream of Aviation American Gin as the flagship sponsor of some fictional fashion week. I have the joy of working for a small business that is quickly growing into a fashionable luxury brand. And, what pairs better with amazing fashion than a skillfully crafted gin cocktail?

-Rena Hartman, Aviation Team Member

Hosting for Gameday

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The air is crisp once more and the chill of fall has crept its way back into our lives. Before long there will be pumpkins everywhere. Already, you may have noticed, there is football everywhere. It doesn’t take long for summer to fade and fall to flourish.

If you are like me, you enjoy any excuse to have a few people over and entertain. The fact that the majority of football games are played on Sunday makes it even more convenient for hosting a hangout. This past Thursday, the NFL kicked off the season with everyone’s favorite team (slight sarcasm) the New England Patriots vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers. Being from Massachusetts and having been forced to watch all sports related to Boston, I have grown into a somewhat serious Patriots fan. Therefore, I was excited about the season opener.

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Opposing team colored plates with French 75 garnishes

I decided to make it more fun for my less enthused roommates and friends and provide Red Snappers and French 75s for all. A red snapper is simply a bloody mary with gin, in my case, Aviation American Gin.

Each French 75 I made to order and garnished with berries. The Red Snapper I made in a dispensing mason jar and left out pickled green beans and black olives for garnishing and snacking. To make a batch of Red Snapper I mixed, one bottle of Aviation American Gin, 46 oz of pure tomato juice, the juice of three lemons, some pickle juice, and Tabasco, Worcestershire, celery salt and black pepper to taste.

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Overall the drink choices offered great variety and they would be even better enjoyed early on Sunday, as both cocktails are the epitome of a brunch cocktail.

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Hope you are ready for some football! And some tasty cocktails too!

-Christina Shapalis, Aviation Team Member

Gluten Free Gin

Gin it up and stay gluten free! One of the many bonuses of drinking Aviation American Gin is that it is 100% gluten free. There is a lot of confusion around alcohol and its gluten content, but despair not, there are many gluten-free options. Our gin is made without the use of any wheat or gluten so you can sip on Pineapple Gin Southsides like the one pictured and not miss out on imbibing this summer!

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Aviation Pineapple Southside


  • 2 oz Aviation American Gin
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • 3 chunks fresh pineapple
  • 5 mint leaves


  1. In a pint glass gently muddle mint and pineapple
  2. Add gin, lemon, syrup and fill the glass with ice
  3. Shake and strain
  4. Garnish with a mint tip and/or pineapple slice


-Richelle Thorpe, Aviation Team Member

Gin Gin Chicken

Chicken Wings

This Labor Day I stepping up my game and bringing chicken wings to the family potluck. Given my job, I’m often tasked with bringing a pitcher of cocktails to share and while that’s easy and fun to bring, I’ve recently stumbled across a chicken wing recipe that my boyfriend can’t eat enough of. The wings are sweet but mainly the flavor is subtlety complex in a really delicious way. This recipe has now, easily become my go to party food.

Gin Marinated Chicken Wings


  • 4 pounds Chicken wings
  • 1 Lemon juiced and zested
  • 1/4 cup Aviation American Gin
  • 1 cup evaporated Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • freshly ground Pepper


  1. Place chicken wings in a large Ziploc bag
  2. Combine all remaining ingredients and whisk together.
  3. Pour marinade into the bag with chicken, let chicken sit for at least 1 hour
  4. Line a backing sheet with foil and pour chicken and all the marinade on the baking sheet (arrange chicken so that it’s one layer)
  5. Bake for 30 to 35 minute, then eat

-Kelly Sanders, Aviation Team Member

The Martini

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The Martini – Just like films, paintings, politicians, or even hot sauce, everyone has a distinct opinion on them. But as these other things go too, despite your preference you know an excellent one when you find it. I turned 21 toward the end of the swing resurgence this last go around and went straight for the Martini. It was in style, sophisticated and exuded a bit more of a consummate drinks edge I had yet to posses.

As tastes changed and I discovered whiskey, the Martini lost its allure (also by way of images of barflies or the stiff and tremendously pickled bore). What we had been imbibing at that time, though, was only a glimpse at this supreme being of cocktails. Starting with vodka, and a negligent dash of “vermouth”, then finished with a fit of shaking and a golf ball-sized olive, the drink could be muddy (and filled with ice chips) with the spirit never truly ringing out.

While sitting at the bar of Oven & Shaker my Aviation American Gin favorites did not include the Martini yet, but I was curious to see this rendition, as it included a dash of orange bitters. With the correct amount of quality vermouth, complexity from bitters, and a citrus garnish the Aviation Martini was outstanding. Refreshing, bracing; enough flavor to reach out for it again compulsorily. It had completely changed my perspective on what a Martini could be. The beauty may be in the simplicity, but the right ingredients are its timeless qualities.

Aviation Dry Gin Martini


  • 2 1/2 oz Aviation American Gin
  • 1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
  • 1 dash Regan’s No.6 Orange Bitters


  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 disc or twist

This isn’t the first blog entry on the Martini (not even on our own site) but it will also not be the last by far. An Aviation Martini is a must try. Here’s to the end of summer.

-Miles Munroe, Aviation Team Member

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