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Best gin for Aviation


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I'm going to be making these for my dinner club cocktail this weekend, with the creme de violette replaced with St. Germain. Any suggestions on which gin I should get? it doesn't have to be super cheap, but I would prefer not to break the bank (around $30 or less for the 750, maybe $35) and it needs to be pretty widely available as I will likely have to get it from Corridor. I've been drinking Hendrick's in my G&T's lately, but I'm almost out.

Heather recommended Citadelle as a nice pairing with the St. Germain in another thread, but Corridor doesn't carry it.

Thanks!

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Are you using maraschino in your recipe? If so, I'm not sure if St. Germain will be necessary. Maraschino is so funky that you really don't need to worry too much about which gin to use for the casual dinner party. I would go with Beefeaters or Plymouth. I would also order a Hendricks Aviation at a bar beforehand to confirm it works before committing to mass production at your party, it sounds pretty weird to me.

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Are you using maraschino in your recipe? If so, I'm not sure if St. Germain will be necessary. Maraschino is so funky that you really don't need to worry too much about which gin to use for the casual dinner party. I would go with Beefeaters or Plymouth. I would also order a Hendricks Aviation at a bar beforehand to confirm it works before committing to mass production at your party, it sounds pretty weird to me.

Yes, I'm using Luxardo in the cocktail. I didn't mean that I wanted to use Hendrick's for the cocktail, that's why I'm asking for recs. :) I mentioned that I've been using it and am almost out to imply that whatever I buy for the cocktail should also be decent in a G&T and just to say that that's a gin I've had and enjoyed.

I've never been a big gin fan, probably because I tasted some cheap gin back in the day, found it disgusting and moved on so I haven't tasted all that many quality ones and don't know how flavors in specific ones affect different cocktails. I bought the Hendrick's because it was specifically recommend for a cocktail I was making and enjoyed the leftovers in G&Ts, and I drank some Bombay Sapphires & tonic with lime back in the day and didn't find them offensive and that's about the extent of my experience. :P

SeanMike, why not the upgraded versions of the ones you recommended? Too overpowering for the cocktail?

Thanks for the feedback so far.

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SeanMike, why not the upgraded versions of the ones you recommended? Too overpowering for the cocktail?

Maybe SeanMike PMed you already, but I would suggest that he probably means the opposite: the maraschino is so funky that it is likely to "overpower" whatever gin you use. I imagine it will overpower the St. Germaine, too. The creme de violette is really used for "blue sky" coloring more than building the taste profile, so if you aren't going to use it then I would suggest just adding some neutral simple syrup instead. But the Aviation is due for a riff to loosen up the collars of the hard-core cocktail geeks, so why not use St. Germain? :P Good luck with your party!

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SeanMike, why not the upgraded versions of the ones you recommended? Too overpowering for the cocktail?

Opposite in the case of Sapphire - it's too mild.

Tanq 10 isn't bad, but honestly for the price - and in this drink - I'd want something that's traditional and fairly assertive without being overly distinctive. I wouldn't do a new American gin, a Navy Strength, or Hendrick's, I'd stick with a traditional London dry or Plymouth.

It's very easy to overpay for gin (I do all the time) but IMHO regular old Beefeater/Tanqueray/Bombay often get overlooked as people get into gin.

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Thanks everyone. I wavered between the Plymouth because I've wanted to try it and the slightly less expensive Beefeater/Tanqueray/Bombay suggestions, but I settled on the Beefeater.

I'm going to try a test run of the cocktail this evening. I also picked up a tiny bottle of Q tonic and am going to try the Beefeater with that and the Seagram's I have on hand to see what I think of both the "new" gin and the new tonic. :)

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Note also: Tom Brown makes more Aviations in this town than anyone else I've ever seen. And he stirs the drink instead of shaking in. I guess the idea is to play up as many of the aromatics as possible.

Not judging either way, just providing a data point.

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Note also: Tom Brown makes more Aviations in this town than anyone else I've ever seen. And he stirs the drink instead of shaking in. I guess the idea is to play up as many of the aromatics as possible.

Not judging either way, just providing a data point.

That's what I was seeing when researching the cocktail online. How does one properly stir a cocktail, is there a perfect number of stirs? I presume that could be another thread entirely. :P

I didn't get around to my taste test last night, but I did enjoy my G&T with the Beefeater.

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Stir until cold.

So helpful. :P

Well dinner club has been executed. I really liked the aviation, both with and without the St. Germain. Multiple recipes online, I went with the one that uses 1 1/2 oz gin, 3/4 oz lemon juice, 1/2 oz maraschino liquor, and 1/4 oz creme yvette and used St. Germain in place of the latter. Delicious. Thanks for the gin feedback.

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the idea is to play up as many of the aromatics as possible.

How does one properly stir a cocktail, is there a perfect number of stirs?

According to Hidetsugu Ueno, for many cocktails you should stir until you can smell the cocktail. The quick and dirty method is to stir until your spoon descends to the bottom of the glass.

I suggest if you're learning how to stir, practice with an empty pint glass: you should be able to keep the back of the bar spoon always gliding against the inside of the glass as you stir. Once you can do that, then it's a cinch to stir with ice. With that technique, you can minimize noise and ice collisions, thereby maximizing cocktail clarity.

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I think that if you stir in a pint glass there is a lot of thermal mass which will slow down the temperature change of the drink and result in more dilution. Not necessarily a good or bad thing, just a factor.

For a martini, I prefer the quickest chill possible and do not like shaken as the extra 1-2 degree drop in temperature comes at a cost of 10% more dilution {25% vs 28%}.

I wish I had the URL handy or the desire to Google to give the series of cocktail experiments done in NYC by a fairly entertaining barkeep where a lot of myths of modern bartending were rigorously explored. Some things make sense, and others did not hold up to experimental results {ie large ice cubes of a given volume chill a drink less than small er ice cubes of the same total volume but result in less dilution} and pre chilling a glass takes 2 extra degrees out of a drink and extends the cold spot for drinking by almost 10 minutes. Shaking a drink results in a lot more dilution and only a slightly lower temperature... and when using fine gins with lots of botanicals, I would be wary of over chilling.

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True Confessions of Cocktail Geeks

I stir with the handle of the barspoon.

This has been True Confessions of Cocktail Geeks.

Me, three. I can stir silently and efficiently by whirlpooling the crap out of the drink using the barspoon handle. The last think I'd want is carpal tunnel syndrome from all the wrist action necessary when using the scoop end of the spoon.

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Me, three. I can stir silently and efficiently by whirlpooling the crap out of the drink using the barspoon handle. The last think I'd want is carpal tunnel syndrome from all the wrist action necessary when using the scoop end of the spoon.

Approximately what angle does your forearm approach the vertical axis of your stirring vessel? I've tried your method before but I have to attack the glass downward with my elbow raised, which I feel cramps my neck. With my my method, I try to keep the forearm at a 90 degree angle, and believe it or not, the wrist does not break that much. Most of the stirring action is generated from my middle finger and not the wrist. One can apply the conventional spoon-end method of stirring across a broad range of ice shapes -- I feel that using the handle technique is more useful with the larger ice cubes, and less useful with the ubiquitous thin ice chips that most machines generate. The handle just cuts thru the ice chips, but the spoon end moves the entire ice mass as a unified object. But again, I feel this is because I'm attacking the vessel at a downward 16 degree angle which might be bad mechanics.

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Approximately what angle does your forearm approach the vertical axis of your stirring vessel? I've tried your method before but I have to attack the glass downward with my elbow raised, which I feel cramps my neck. With my my method, I try to keep the forearm at a 90 degree angle, and believe it or not, the wrist does not break that much. Most of the stirring action is generated from my middle finger and not the wrist. One can apply the conventional spoon-end method of stirring across a broad range of ice shapes -- I feel that using the handle technique is more useful with the larger ice cubes, and less useful with the ubiquitous thin ice chips that most machines generate. The handle just cuts thru the ice chips, but the spoon end moves the entire ice mass as a unified object. But again, I feel this is because I'm attacking the vessel at a downward 16 degree angle which might be bad mechanics.

Perhaps it's a body height vs counter height problem. I am 6' tall and stirring on a counter of typical height. My mixing vessel is approximately 8" tall. With this combination, my antebrachium is level with the countertop and my wrist is angled to about 30 degrees and procedes through an arc of about 50 degrees. OK, I'm just bullshitting, now. Actually, I do agree that ice size may determine the best procedure. With crushed ice or small chunks, I agree the spoon is most effective. Personally, I use cubes (actually cones) made by a countertop ice maker so the pieces are pretty large and when I stir, the whole kit and kaboodle whirlpools well with minimal agitation. Do bartenders have more repetitive motion injuries? Torn rotator cuffs from shaking? Painful wrists from overzealous muddling? "Mixing spoon elbow" from improper forearm angle when stirring?

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