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Spirits in Aviation—a fast study in aviation libation

28 June 2017

Aviation American Gin—what better than a gin that is named after aviation?

The Aviation cocktail circa 1916

China Clipper Cocktail

Note: this cocktail was invented to reflect the international territory and routes that Pan American Airways were serving with their Flying Clippers made by Martin, Sikorsky and Boeing in the 1930s and 1940s.

  • 1½ oz yellow gin (Citadelle Reserve but can substitute Seagram’s Extra Dry)
  • ½ oz dry Vermouth
  • 1 dash grapefruit juice
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • shake with ice and strain, add Chinese golden lime (i.e., calamondin, which is orange or yellow when ripe) for garnish or one can substitute kumquat or lime, preferably a Key lime.

Note: yellow gin is clear gin that has been aged, just a short time, in oak barrels

Irish Coffee

This drink was concocted in the Foynes terminal one night in the Winter of 1943 to keep Pan Am flying clipper passengers warm. The complete story is here and the Foynes Flying Boat Museum with their Boeing 314 Flying Clipper replica should be seen, and an Irish Coffee enjoyed in their Brendan O’Regan Restaurant.

  • 4 oz black coffee
  • 2 oz whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1–2 oz lightly whipped cream

Heat and mix the above taking care to not let the solution come to a boil

Then gently pour lightly whipped thick cream over the back of a spoon which hovers just above the drink to make a thin floating layer—mixing is to be stridently avoided!

The drink is sipped through the cream much like a machiatto 🙂

To see a beautiful set of instructions go to this page at the Foynes Flying Boat Museum


In a pinch—since there may be difficulty for most of us in obtaining either yellow gin or Crème de Violette, or in the event one wishes to not have sweet flavor in their cocktail—why not use Magellan Gin? It has a delicate pale sky blue hue (Crème de Violette is used in part for the violet tint which it imparts) which develops from the iris plant used in the making of the gin.

  • Pacific Blue Martini—2 oz Magellan Gin, a splash of dry Vermouth and lemon peel for garnish
  • Gin & Tonic (G and T, or G ‘n T)—using Magellan Gin and mixing to taste with the use a slice of lime if you like
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