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Tropic Harvest Cocktail

As the seasons change, we find our culinary and cocktail choices changing.  We watch our grocery list selections transform from carefree barbecue summer fare into slow-cooker comforts.  Our cravings for those sparkly, effervescent libations on the rocks begin to wane, and in their place, the warming sensations of all things mulled and spiced show up to keep our hands warm and relax us into the folds of our overstuffed couches.  


The weather takes a different and unexpected course, beating maliciously outside the door with no sign of a single ray of sunshine.  For weeks on end.  Sometimes you need summery edible and drinkable pick-me-ups to stave off those winter blues. Don’t cry yourself a river of chamomile tea, because here’s a drink concoction that’s sure to perk you up when you’re knee-deep in your winter gloominess.  

Imagine a cocktail combining the bright sunshine flavors of grapefruit’s citrusy kiss, the sweet snap of English cucumber, peppery hints of Italian parsley and an intense, exotic, sweet-tart blend of tropical island fruits. This cocktail is sure to swipe a ribbon of sunny brightness across even the darkest of a cold, dead winter sky.  You’ll be sipping and basking in thoughts of summers past while sketching your spring garden seeding schematic, completely forgetting about the nasty weather bleating outside.  

Tropical Harvest Cocktail

Introducing the Tropic Harvest Cocktail!  The base spirit of this refreshing pick-me-up is the award-winning Aviation American Gin. Hang a hammock in the living room and tempt yourself with this heavenly concoction. Winter’s melancholy has met its match with the Tropic Harvest cocktail! You can opt to make this as an individual cocktail, or put together a make-your-own Tropic Harvest cocktail bar. Simply set up a tray with sliced cucumber, your favorite tropical fruit, snips of parsley. Add a bottle each of club soda and simple syrup, a bucket of ice, and encourage your guests to put together their own spin on this refreshing beverage. Alternatively, you can put your blender to work to create thick, frosty versions — tiny umbrellas optional, but strongly encouraged!

Tropical Harvest Cocktail


In a cocktail shaker, muddle:

  • 3 thin English cucumber slices
  • 3 snips of fresh organic Italian parsley (fresh basil is awesome too!)
  • Selection of your favorite exotic fruit.  As close to ripe as possible.  We chose 2 slices each of kiwi, mango, and starfruit.

Add to your cocktail shaker:

  • A handful of ice cubes
  • 2 ounces Aviation American Gin
  • 1 ounce simple syrup (optional – if the fruit is super ripe and sweet, you can omit this)

Cover and shake until the drink is thoroughly chilled, pour into a highball glass, fill the glass with soda water, top with 5 drops of grapefruit bitters, and stir. Garnish with starfruit and/or cucumber slice.


-Kelly Gajer, 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

National Clean Out Your Fridge Day!

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As many of you are probably unaware, National Clean-Out-Your-Fridge Day is upon us! This little-recognized though somewhat dreaded holiday is mysterious in origin, but sturdy in purpose- to get you to clean your darn refrigerator before cooking and feasting season gets here. I think I know why COYF day is unpopular: Cleaning the fridge is tedious and gross! For some, even opening the crisper can be a stinky nightmare, not to mention that to follow the official rules of COYF day* one must also wipe down the insides and outsides of your fridge and vaccume the coils. Who wants to do that?! But it must be done, you guys, and what better way to make the chore into a party than to make it into a cocktail?

That’s right, not only can you use those unwanted or under appreciated condiments as cocktail mixers, but you can drink your Found Fridge Cocktails while you work! I’m not suggesting adding that melted cauliflower or ancient goat cheese to your glass, because that would be in incredibly poor taste, but why not try looking at the leftover juice in that pickle jar in a different light? Or what about those sad-looking clementines you totally forgot about? In my fridge there is quite a bit of apricot jam. There’s a long story about why I have so many open jars of a food item I don’t consume, and it involves house guests. I don’t really eat toast, but I do like gin, so I got an idea: Jam cocktails! I found some tired-looking raspberries that I was supposed to serve at a party and threw the prettiest ones in. Then I remembered that I need to use up what’s left of my basil plant before it freezes in the garden, so I ran out and picked some leaves, muddling the smaller ones and saving the larger, greener ones to use as garnish. I always have sparkling water on hand, so I topped my concoction off with a little bit of fizz and what resulted was a delicious, refreshing, thrifty cocktail with an incredibly interesting texture. Yum! I have found other recipes involving jam in cocktails, and they all look delicious but quite sweet. I prefer drinks that showcase the flavor of my gin, so I choose not to mask it with the addition of fruit juice or simple syrup, but every palate has its own discretion.

COYF Cocktail


  • 1 ½ oz Aviation American Gin
  • 6 Raspberries
  • 5 small (1 large) Basil leaves
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Apricot jam
  • Sparkling water


  1. In a mixing glass, muddle small basil leaves and raspberries with the gin
  2. Add the jam and fill glass with ice
  3. Shake vigorously until chilled
  4. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a jelly jar filled with ice
  5. Top with soda and garnish with the large basil leaf

After a few of these you’ll certainly decide that cleaning out your refrigerator is great fun! I wish you diligence and a healthy dose of creativity in your endeavors.


Emilyn Nelson, Sales Associate

* as far as I know, there are no Official Rules of National Clean-Out-Your-Fridge Day.

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