Feb 292012
Aviation Cocktail

My standard bar order is “May I please have something that’s complimented well by a true, original maraschino cherry.”

Of the many fantastic responses we’ve had in pursuit of maraschino cherry nirvana, the classic Aviation is certainly one of the most common.  It’s been the first response at some great bars including PDT, Sun Liquor (made lovingly by another great cherry guy, Erik Chapman) and at The Violet Hour.

Maybe it’s so common because there’s always confusion on the barkeep’s part about whether or not one means a glowing neon cherry.  Usually ensuing discussion straightens this out, but maybe it gets them on the “better go fruity” train.  Maybe they hear the word maraschino and can’t get their mind of the better known liqueur by the name.  Whatever it is, the result is never disappointing.  It’s a great drink.  And of all the cocktails we’ve had in response to this question it is one that is not only complimented by a Maratalas cherry, but is fundamentally enhanced by one.

It also happens to be a cocktail with a wide range and lots of room for experimentation.  We’ll show you how we like to mix’em, but give you some further notes to start you on the way to experimentation. We’re by no means experts on this one, and recommend you check out this article on cold-glass.com for much deeper insight.

2 oz. Plymouth Gin*

1/2 oz. Fresh lemon juice

1/2 oz. Maraska maraschino liqueur**

1/4 oz. Rothman & Winter Crème de Violette***

Mix, shake vigorously with ice and double strain into your chilled cocktail glass that has a single cherry already waiting in the bottom.  Enjoy!


* This is the most obvious place to start experimenting.  With a particularly aromatic gin, on a hot summer day, or when something a bit sweeter is called for, this can be reduced to as little as 1.5 oz.

** Maraska is far and away our favorite maraschino.  Luxardo is an ample substitute where Maraska is not available, but please shy away from the cheaper copies.  Make a Manhattan instead.

*** We won’t get into the religion of whether Crème de Violette should go in the Aviation (the linked article on cold-glass.com does a good job), but Crème de Violette can be a love it or hate it flavor.  To most, the floral notes add a complexity to this drink that’s sorely missed when not there. To a small minority, these particular notes are insulting to the palate.  No need to get philosophical; if you don’t like it, don’t feel bad about omitting it.  The Aviation is a great drink with or without.

Feb 072012
Little Italy from the Pegu Club, NYC

On my quest for the perfect cocktail to garnish with a true maraschino cherry, one of my first ever destinations was the Pegu Club.  The club’s reputation precedes itself, so it was of little surprise when the cocktail that was created for me was perhaps one of the best examples of a perfect maraschino cherry friendly cocktail I’ve had.

The cocktail was created by co-owner Audrey Saunders, that’s best described as a twist on the classic Manhattan that gets it’s bitter and some herbal notes from Cynar.  While often seeing a mixologist to do something creative to honour the maraschino cherry is fun, this one came  right from their standard menu.  And it’s pretty clear why it belongs there.

This recipe comes from Imbibe; I don’t know whether it’s exactly the one used at Pegu or not, but it’s pretty tasty.

2 oz. Rittenhouse 100
1/2 oz. Cynar
3/4 oz. Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth

Stir on lots of ice, and strain into your favorite little cocktail glass.  Garnish with a cherry or two.