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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Take flight with the Aviation cocktail

If you love Gin, you’ll want to take flight…
The last time I enjoyed an Aviation cocktail at BarX in Salt Lake City, I thought that this was something I had to try at home.  Dedicated cocktailians are always searching for an excuse to try a new cocktail, and that was enough for me.  This cocktail has been around for a while; there is a recipe for the Aviation in the Savoy Cocktail Book (1930).  The Savoy is usually a good source of cocktail inspiration when you’re looking for a classic cocktail to experiment with, but the recipe for the Aviation didn’t ring true.  I had always read that the Aviation’s name was due to the pale blue color delivered by the Crème de Violette, but the Savoy’s recipe didn’t have any Crème de Violette in it.

A little research on Wikipedia gave the reason: Crème de Violette was hard to find back in the late 1920’s, so the Savoy just left it out (follow the link for a more detailed history).  Luckily we don’t have that problem today.  The Aviation recipe was first published around 1916, so it’s probably older than your great grandmother and its centenary is rapidly approaching.  As you sip your first Aviation, remember that it was named when aviation was something new and exciting, not a routine fact of life.  So sip it, enjoy it, and never leave your wingman.

Aviation Cocktail
  • 2 oz Gin (I used Plymouth)
  • 1/2 oz Lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur
  • 1/4 oz Crème de Violette

Combine ingredients in a shaker half full of cracked ice.  Shake well for about a minute.  Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a cocktail cherry and get ready to contemplate the wild, blue yonder.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Cocktail ingredients Utah update – September 2013

A Mai Tai will put that bottle of Rum
you have to good use. Yo ho ho.
Utah cocktailians can thank heaven that the August slump is officially over and the Utah DABC State Liquor Stores have finally loosened the SPA purse strings.  The number of items on SPA (Special Price Adjustment) this month increased from only 250 in August to 333 in September. That means it’s time to get ready for cold weather cocktails by stocking your bar with September bargains.  So as the nights grow cooler and the late summer days grow noticeably shorter, here are some cocktail ideas that, combined with some sale items, can save you money.

Vodka lovers will be pleased that there is a good selection of Vodkas in bottles large and small on sale this month, including Ketel One and Tito’s.  All Vodka brands have their fans and detractors; many say that potato vodkas are the best, and my favorite potato Vodka, Teton Glacier, is going on clearance.  This is the first month on clearance, so the mark-down is around 30%.  If your local store has plenty in stock, you might want to wait for next month when the price will drop even more before stocking up. 

In case you’re looking for liquors to accompany the key ingredient of your cocktail, or even be the main ingredient, you might want to try one of the following.  If Tiki-style cocktails are your thing, why not try a Tanqueray TajMidori Melon Liqueur is marked down 14% to $18 and is used as a flavoring in many other cocktails.  A favorite Triple-Sec substitute (if you’re still using that $10 Triple Sec, why not treat yourself? If you do, you may never go back...) is Gran Gala Orange Liqueur, marked down 14% to $19.  It’s cheaper than Grand Marnier, but almost as good.  E&J VSOP is a decent Brandy for mixing; it’s marked down 21% to $11, can do good duty in a Sidecar (or any other cocktail), and will hurt your wallet far less than mixing with your favorite Cognac. 

There are some nice Plata Tequilas on sale this month.  A couple you might like to try are Milagro Silver (14% to $25) or 1800 Silver (7% to $27).  Either of these will make a dynamite Margarita.  Why not mix them with Gran Gala Orange Liqueur (see above)?  There is also a nice selection of Reposados marked down this month, check them out at your local store.

There are only a couple of Bourbons on price adjustment this month; Eagle Rare Single Barrel Bourbon, great for sipping, is available for $28 (10% off) and can also make a great BLT.  Another single-barrel Bourbon on sale is Blanton for $50 (6% off).

If you enjoy Rum, the state has limited markdowns this month.  There’s a trio of Bacardis with sale prices in the low to mid-teens.  If you’re a fan of Appleton Estates, VX is marked down 14% to $17.  Finally, Martini lovers will be pleased to know that they don’t have to go thirsty this month.  Hendricks Gin (9% to $32 makes an excellent Classic Martinis. There are a handful of other Gins on sale, so this may be the time to stock up on your favorite.