Let’s say you just won the lottery and you’re looking to start up your own liquor brand. Your first move is to hire a high-priced consultant to help you create your brand.
They come in with a beautiful presentation based on a classic cocktail. Amazing, it’s probably a bourbon that makes the perfect old-fashioned.
No, it’s based on a new agave plant that produces the purest tequila yet that makes a beyond outstanding margarita.
Nope, not either of those. The cocktail they’re pitching that your new exciting brand will be based on is none other than the Aviation cocktail? Which one was that again? That’s gin-based, right?
You would probably be justified if you kicked that high-priced consultant straight out of your office but it would be a huge mistake.
It turns out that creating a quality brand of gin named after a semi-obscure cocktail from 1916 would have been the exact right move.
Throw in a popular and extremely likable celebrity co-owner and spokesperson and your brand will take off. The brand in question is Aviation American Gin.
Aviation American Gin is a relative newcomer to the spirit world but it is making its presence known.
A Brief History of Aviation Gin
Aviation Gin or Aviation American Gin was first produced in Portland, Oregon in 2006. The inspiration for the name and the product itself was the Aviation cocktail.
Hugo Ensslin, a German immigrant bartender, created the Aviation cocktail while working at the Hotel Wallick in New York in the early 1900s.
The Aviation cocktail is very classy in its look and taste. The original Aviation contains gin, maraschino liqueur, crème de violette, and lemon juice. The famous Savoy Cocktail Book circa 1930 removed the crème de violette from the recipe.
Fast forward to 2012 and the six-year-old gin brand received a high honor. That high honor, a coveted 97 rating from Wine Enthusiast magazine.
The brand was acquired by Davos Brands, LLC in 2016 and changed hands again in 2020 when Diageo plc took over.
House Spirits Distillery still manages production in Oregon but Diageo really expanded the reach of Aviation Gin. Diageo is also responsible for brands like Ketel One Vodka, Captain Morgan Rum, and Tanqueray Gin.
A conversation about Aviation Gin can’t happen without discussing a particular celebrity. That celebrity is Ryan Reynolds.
That’s right Deadpool and Van Wilder himself has aligned himself with Aviation Gin in a major way. He is a spokesperson who can be seen on their official website and most advertising materials.
He is also a part-owner of the brand having purchased a stake in 2018.
A name and a celebrity can only take a brand so far. It needs something special to back up the brand. In this case, it’s the high quality of ingredients and extreme care given to the production of Aviation Gin that sets it apart.
The process of making Aviation Gin starts with their special blend of botanicals – anise, cardamom, coriander, lavender, juniper, orange peel, and sarsparilla.
This blend is soaked and macerated for 18 hours in macerating tanks before distillation.
As part of distillation the “heads” and “tails”, the first alcohol and last alcohol to leave the still, are removed leaving only the “heart cut.” Many brands do not take the time to prioritize the “heart cut”.
The selected alcohol is then blended and bottled. The final product is the award-winning Aviation American Gin you see on the shelf.
Aviation Gin Prices, Variations & Sizes
Unlike many spirit brands, Aviation Gin has a very small product line. They have a couple of varieties they feel strongly about and they have made it their mission to make them a priority.
The first variety is the original standard Aviation American Gin which is available in a few different sizes. The second variety is Aviation Old Tom Gin.
The Old Tom variety is aged in Westward Whiskey barrels. Due to this extra production time and rarity, Aviation Old Tom Gin comes with a higher price tag.
How much is Aviation Gin?
Aviation American Gin is considered a dry gin but not your average London dry gin. Typically a London dry gin is known for its strong juniper flavor profile. Aviation Gin calls itself an American dry gin.
If Aviation is the definition of an American dry gin then it means it does have a botanical flavor but not only juniper. Aviation American Gin is batch distilled and 84 Proof (42 percent alcohol by volume).
- 375 ml, From $17.99
- 750 ml, From $29.99
- 75 L, From $49.99
Aviation Old Tom Gin is a rich and more complex version of the original Aviation Gin. The time in the barrel adds some spice and some color. Aviation Gin is clear whereas Aviation Old Tom Gin has more of a light golden color.
Traditionally old tom gin has additional botanical flavors or sugar added but that is not the case here. The difference is all about the time in that Westward Whiskey barrel.
- 750 ml, From $39.99
Aviation Gin Alternatives & Comparisons
Aviation Gin really is a very unique gin. It has many aspects that are comparable to other gins, like botanicals and juniper but it also does it in its own way. That being said, there are some available alternatives.
Hendrick’s Gin is most commonly compared to Aviation Gin. Hendrick’s is also a small-batch gin that costs about the same as Aviation. Hendrick’s is made in Scotland and has a slightly higher proof at 88 Proof.
Another gin that compares favorably to Aviation Gin is Plymouth Original Dry Gin. Plymouth Original Dry Gin has a more pronounced juniper flavor but other than that shares a lot with Aviation.
Plymouth is similarly priced and has received equal praise from Wine Enthusiast magazine.
If you’re a drinker that’s more interested in a celebrity spokesperson than the taste of the gin then look no further than Snoop Dogg’s own INDOGGO Gin.
This strawberry flavored gin has nothing in common with Aviation besides the fact that a famous guy has his name associated with it. If you take a sip of Aviation and think that it needs more strawberry then give INDOGGO Gin a try.
How to Drink Aviation Gin
Aviation Gin has been expertly crafted so that it can be enjoyed equally on the rocks or mixed in a cocktail. The same can be said about Aviation Old Tom Gin.
The botanicals will really shine when sipped over ice. You can’t go wrong when mixing Aviation with a classic gin and tonic or as the gin element in its namesake the Aviation cocktail.
Aviation Gin, like other high-proof spirits, does not need to be kept in the refrigerator or freezer. For the best taste and longevity, it should be kept in a dark, cool, and dry place.
FAQ – Aviation Gin
Is Aviation Gin gluten-free?
Aviation Gin is indeed gluten-free. Not only that but Aviation is made from natural ingredients.
Is Aviation Gin vegan?
Aviation does not use animal products in their gin or in the production of their gin. They are a vegan-friendly spirit.
What do you mix with Aviation Gin?
Aviation Gin can be confidently used in any cocktail that calls for gin. There are some mixes where Aviation really shines and they can be seen below:
- 1.5 oz Aviation American Gin
- 0.5 oz Maraschino Liqueur
- 0.5 oz Lemon Juice
- 0.25 oz Simple Syrup
- 1 tsp Crème De Violette
- 1 Brandied Cherry (for Garnish)
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well, strain into a coupe glass, and garnish with a brandied cherry.
- 1.5 oz Aviation American Gin
- 0.75 oz Sweet Vermouth
- 0.25 oz Maraschino Liqueur
- Dashes of Bitters
- 1 Lemon (for Garnish)
- 1 Maraschino Cherry (for Garnish)
Add Aviation American Gin, Sweet Vermouth, and Maraschino Liqueur to an ice-filled mixing glass. Stir, strain into a Martini glass, top with dashes of bitters, and garnish with a lemon peel and Maraschino cherry.
- 1.5 oz Aviation American Gin
- 3 oz Tonic Water
- Lemon Wheel (for Garnish)
- Lime Wheel (for Garnish)
Combine liquid ingredients in a tall glass, stir gently, and garnish with lemon and lime wheels.