Aviation Gin is distilled in the US by Lee Medoff and Christian Krogstad, after the pair teamed up with Seattle mixologist Ryan Magarian to produce a new style of gin. They lay claim to this partnership being the first between distiller and bartender in American History. Although this can’t be confirmed, by pairing with someone with an intimate understanding of the trade outside of the distilling arena, it has allowed them to gain outside insight on how the spirit might work in cocktails.
In June of 2006, after nearly 30 rounds of trials and adjustments, their vision became reality when the trio felt they had finally captured the essence of their obsessions and Aviation was launched.
While the gin takes its name from the Aviation Cocktail, the motivation behind its choice as the identity of the brand goes a bit deeper. The story goes that Ryan Magarian had found himself stuck in a rut when it came to mixing cocktails with gin, using it almost exclusively for martinis and gin and tonics. This however all changed when he was first introduced to the Aviation Cocktail. He recalls this moment to be critical in the development of not only his passion for making cocktails, but understanding the true potential of gin. When the time came to name the gin, Aviation was suggested as it represented an awakening to the true mixability of the spirit.
Interestingly, Aviation Gin actively promote their position as part of a new category of dry gins going under the designation; New Western Dry. Although this term (and designation) has not yet been widely accepted, it is by no means something to easily dismiss either. With the loose terminology currently used to define what is a gin and the increasing non-juniper dominant gins continuously being launched; it may well hold the answer to a lot of controversy.
Paraphrased and abridged, here is the explanation they give on their website:
“There is a greater opportunity for artistic ‘flavor’ freedom in this great spirit and we are creating a gin with a shift away from the usually overabundant focus on Juniper to the supporting botanicals, allowing them to almost share center stage. While the juniper must remain dominant in all dry gins to achieve definition, these (New Western Dry) gins are most certainly defined not by the Juniper itself, but by the careful inclusion and balance of the supporting flavors, creating, what many experts believe to be, an entirely new designation of dry gin that deserves individual recognition.”
As a result, it is no surprise that Aviation Gin takes advantage of the rich, floral and savoury flavour notes of unconventional botanicals such as Lavender and Indian Sarsaparilla, giving it a medium to heavy flavour produced by the blending of the floral and spicy. Bottled at 42% ABV, Aviation Gin sets itself apart with its restrained juniper and citrus presence against the backdrop of creamy rye spirit more reminiscent of Dutch Genevers.