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The Up & Up

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Tucked away beneath busy MacDougal Street in New York’s Greenwich Village is The Up & Up, a cozy cocktail den that offers a respite from the outside world. The cocktail menu features many impressive and creative concoctions, including the Window Seat, one of the best drinks I have had in a while.

Window Seat

By: Jordan Schwartz, The Up & Up

  • 1.5 oz Aviation American Gin
  • .5 oz Dimmi
  • .75 oz fresh lemon juice
  • .75 oz honey syrup (2:1 honey:water)
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • Absinthe rinse

    Rinse chilled cocktail glass with absinthe and discard excess liquid. Shake all ingredients together and strain into the glass.

Cheers!

-Claire Bertin-Lang, Aviation Team Member

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

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

Ingredients

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

Preparation

  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

Lemonade Inspired Recipes

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Saluti!
“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
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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Ingredients

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

Preparation

  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!

Sour
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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Ingredients

  • 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

Preparation

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

Savory
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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Ingredients

  • 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

Preparation

  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

Sweet
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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Ingredients

  • 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

Preparation

  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

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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

Ingredients

  • 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

Preparation

  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

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

 

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

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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.

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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’.”

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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

What Makes Gin American?

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It’s another beautiful day here in the Rose City and I’m sitting here at a wonderful new coffee roaster (seems like they grow on trees here,) pondering the question, “What makes Gin American?”

Well, at first thought, I’d have to say not a whole heckuva a lot, folks. You see as a lot of you know, gin finds it’s roots in Northern Europe, originally in the form of a spirit called Genever. Now Genever was, and remains, a spirit far off in flavor from the dry gins that define the category today thanks to their, generally, rich and “malt forward” palates. Eventually, of course, this juniper spirit would jump the channel from Holland to England in the late 17th century where, over the next several hundred years it would become the dry and refreshing juniper flavored spirit we are most familiar today.

And while the genesis of our story’s charge began overseas, I believe there is no doubt gin’s experience Stateside remains a critical part of it’s wider tale. To begin with, it’s thought by many a scholar that America’s first distillery produced the aforementioned Genever, but more importantly, it was gin’s place of honor amongst the world’s first cocktail mixing bartenders in late 19th Century America, where gin was allowed a wider arena in which to play, lending to it more interest than ever before. Just look through any old American Bar Recipe book beginning around 1890 and you’ll note it’s extravagant and passionate use. All of this, though, is really just a precursor to what I believe to be America’s most notable modern contribution; width and creativity. By this, I mean very simply that American Distillers in the 21st Century have continued to lead the charge in the development of a new and treasured style of gin, often referred to as contemporary or “New Western,” that has taken the craft by storm over the past several years, a contribution that, without a doubt solidifies America’s contribution and cultivation of the category, allowing us Yankees more than a bit of truth when we say that gin “can” most definitely be “American.”

-Ryan Magarian, Aviation Team Member

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