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Aunty Betty’s gin-spert Greg Ewan revisits a classic gin to give us his take—and works up three boozy blends to boot.
We love gin, ginny gin gin. And it doesn’t hurt when Ryan Reynolds’ foxy face is repping it. With so many new gins infiltrating the market (stay tuned to our September issue!), we pondered what it is about a tried-and-true that makes it a mainstay go-to—and in what boozy libations does it best blend? So we called upon local gin guru Greg Ewan of gin-focused Aunty Betty’s Gin & Absinthe Bar to give us his take on the staple and work up some concoctions. “This was a fun one to dive into because Aviation American Gin has been on the scene for so long and there are new gins popping up every day that I had forgotten to revisit and properly judge it,” says the managing partner after his deep dive. “This was probably the first of Aviation I’ve poured for myself since opening Betty’s, and I was truly surprised how much I enjoyed it. I’m a sucker for anything with lavender, but am even more impressed when a product has lavender in balance in a way that won’t rile up the ‘tastes like soap’ crowd, and I was very impressed with the balanced application. Being an absinthe junkie, the clean star anise on the finish sealed the deal for me.” Here, Ewan’s Aviation-crafted cocktails. @spillonpurpose; @auntybettysbar
When I took my first sip and got that star anise note, I immediately reached for my bottle of absinthe. One of my favorite classic drink modifications is split-basing the Tom Collins into (nearly) equal parts between gin and absinthe. It’s clean, vibrant and refreshing—and highlights the features of both spirits without them stepping on each other’s toes.
- 1 oz. Aviation American Gin
- 3/4 oz. Lucid absinthe
- 3/4 oz. Alley 26 raspberry syrup (too lazy to make my own, and if there’s anyone you can trust, it’s them)
- 1/2 oz. lemon juice
Shake and strain into a Collins glass; pack with ice; and top with Topo Chico (or sparkling water of your choice). Express a lemon twist over the drink and you’re in business.
The real test of a gin is: How does it ’groni? The answer with Aviation is well. Very well. Being a bit quieter in terms of juniper, the classic 1:1:1 structure, while still delicious, didn’t quite stand out. But at a 1.5:.75:.75, we found ourselves with an absolute crusher.
- 1 1/2 oz. Aviation American Gin
- 3/4 oz. Campari
- 3/4 oz. Punt e Mes (not quite an amaro, not quite a vermouth, but damn if it doesn’t make a good ’groni)
This drink is great up, stirred and strained over fresh ice, YOLO dumped into a bucket full of hotel ice—no wrong answers. For garnish, either twist if you just want the aromatics and rounding effect of the oil, or a wedge if you prefer the way the juice tames the Campari. I always like to leave a bit of room for people to feel comfortable having the drink the way they like it. I’ve got all the time in the world for standards—but none for strict rules.
4:1 Blanco Martini
The drink I probably drink more often than any other. In pop culture, martinis tend to be either bone-dry booze bombs or overbrined salt bombs. While I enjoy both, my true love will always be a martini with a Bianco/Blanco/Blanc (Italian/Spanish/French) vermouth at a ratio in the 2:1–4:1 range (gin:vermouth) with a harmonious bitter pairing. Aviation absolutely shined in the format, and I selected a bitters that would highlight the light lavender of the gin.
- 2 oz. Aviation American Gin
- 1/2 oz. Yzaguirre Blanco Reserva Vermouth
- 2 dashes Scrappy’s lavender bitters
Stir and strain into a chilled martini glass. Express and discard lemon twist.
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