Cocktail History Archives - Aviation American Gin

Category Archives: Cocktail History

The Corpse Reviver No. 2

Corpse Reviver No. 2

The debate continues as to whether The Corpse Reviver No. 2 is the ultimate hair of the dog concoction, but there is little disagreement on the fact that the cocktail is sensational. First served at the Ritz in Paris back in the 1920s, this cocktail will awake your senses. I have always enjoyed Aviation American Gin with Lillet Blanc, but with some Cointreau, lemon, and absinthe in the mix, the combination is elevated to a whole new level.

Corpse Reviver No. 2

Harry Craddock’s book, The Savoy Cocktail Book, was published in 1930 and included a recipe for The Corpse Reviver No. 2. About the cocktail, he wrote, “To be taken before 11 a.m., or whenever steam and energy are needed.” We recommend one for any occasion; although what better day to imbibe a drink strong enough to wake the dead than Easter Sunday?

-Christina Shapalis, Aviation Team Member
Photography by Danguole Lekaviciute

History of The Aviation Cocktail


Aviation Cocktail

The name of Aviation American Gin comes from the pre-prohibition cocktail named the Aviation Cocktail. It was featured in the last cocktail book published before prohibition (by the head bartender of the Hotel Wallick, in New York). Vintage American cocktails, including the Aviation, were made using gins that don’t exist anymore. Aviation American Gin is a revival of this gin style, and it works better than London Dry gins in cocktails.

Aviation Cocktail Recipe

Hugo Ensslin’s Aviation Recipe

Hugo Ensslin wrote the last cocktail book published before Prohibition, featuring his hotel bar’s renowned Aviation Cocktail.

Hugo Recipe's For Mixed Drinks

Give the classic Aviation Cocktail a try!

-Christina Shapalis, Aviation Team Member


Juniper Berries

When gin is discussed, you can’t get too far into it without mentioning Juniper. But this tree comes in many varieties given it’s ancient origins and quite a few are poisonous. Consequently the species Juniperus communis is what we use in Aviation American Gin, and is the generally accepted juniper for all gin. It is THE defining characteristic of the spirit itself.

For centuries juniper has been used in medicine and many alchemical processes employed alcohol as solvent. So one can only assume that eventually juniper soaked in alcohol evolved into something beyond a medical necessity and other desirable ingredients were also added. Given that so many essential oils are contained in the cone (not an actual berry) that list of ingredients must have come readily.

Primarily containing sugars, but also pinene, that unmistakable pine taste, limonene for herbal citrus qualities, and myrcene which is found in hops and cannabis amongst others. Just those flavors alone suggest a huge range of plants that could accompany in this delicious tincture known as ‘Dutch courage’. And given it’s range of potential, it’s no wonder pre-prohibition America was demanding it in most cocktails.

Our method for creating Aviation American Gin takes care to assure all these flavors and aromas are translated to the final product. By steeping our botanicals in spirit prior to a second distillation the oils are extracted to a higher degree and strict cuts during the second run assure they’re used to their full potential. This, to me, is why Aviation is the premier gin for cocktails.

Aviation Cocktail

Aviation Cocktail

And the list of classic gin cocktails is almost universally adored among the cocktail dedicated: Negroni, Martinez, Gimlet, Aviation, or the Corpse Reviver #2. Another staple is for sure the most controversial – The Singapore Sling. All drink makers seem to have their own version of this beverage and over time it was bastardized into obscurity excepting it’s strange cousin seen at lounge bars and Chinese restaurants.

To fully understand the magnitude of gin’s diversity I think there’s no better potpourri.

Singapore Sling

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  • 1½ ounces Aviation American Gin
  • 1½ ounces Pineapple juice
  • ½ ounce Cherry Heering
  • ½ ounce Lime juice
  • ¼ ounce Cointreau
  • ¼ ounce Bénédictine
  • ¼ ounce Grenadine
  • Dash of Angostura bitters

Shake all liquid ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and a pineapple leaf.

-Miles Munroe, Aviation Team Member

French 75

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A powerful cocktail with a kick, the French 75, has been in existence since before the 1900s, though it did not earn its name until 1925. Due to the strength of the cocktail, it was named after the 75mm Howitzer field gun popularly used by the French and Americans during World War I. The citrus and champagne lend a refreshing drinkability to the cocktail, which tends to disguise how strong the drink truly is….consider yourself warned!

french 14

French 14

The French 75 reached true stardom in 1942 when the classic film ‘Casablanca’ was released and portrayed a German soldier ordering one at the bar. The French 75 still maintains a place in the modern cocktail world as a well-balanced, crisp, bubbly and spectacular drink. If you’ve never tried one, do yourself a favor and order/ make one tonight! More of a rosé fan? Try the French 14!

-Christina Shapalis, Aviation Team Member

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

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

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.

Lemonade Blog 2

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.

Lemonade Blog 4

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

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

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


Rosé Regin


This refreshing drink is named for Queen Elizabeth I, of The House of York. The symbol of The House of York is the white rose, so I topped this drink with a pretty white flower. I wouldn’t want to confuse Elizabeth with Queen Margaret of The House of Lancaster, ultimately beheaded for attempts at killing Elizabeth. Another two historical factors that brought me to the name: Queen Elizabeth I had endless dealings with Spain during her reign as monarch, so I employed some lovely Spanish Brut Rosado. And, Elizabeth I was well known for her strawberry blonde hair. This sweet, fizzy masterpiece is certainly saving me from madness this hot weekend.

Rosé Reign


  • 1 oz Aviation American Gin
  • 2 dashes Orange bitters
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • Cava Brut Rosado or Sparkling Rosé
  • White flower, for garnish


  1. Pour gin into glass and add sugar
  2. Stir until sugar is mixed very well with gin. Add dashes of orange bitters
  3. Top glass to nearly full with sparkling wine
  4. Pour slowly, as it will fizz over
  5. Garnish with a floating white flower
Hopefully this fine beverage fit for a queen will keep you from chopping off heads in this mad summer heat.
-Rena Hartman, Aviation Team Member

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