Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Cocktail Hour // The Aviator + Aviation

There are certain firsts you'll never forget. Or just partially forget. I remember the first time I had an Aviation cocktail. My season as an intern at the Milwaukee Film Festival had just ended and some of the staff was meeting at this great bar that I can not for the life of me remember. It was the kind of bar that had a lot of beers on tap and no cocktail menu. You told the bartender or cocktail waiter/ress what you were in the mood for, what you liked, what you didn't like, and they would give you a few suggestions based on your criteria. I was (and still am) a vodka gal, but I wanted to change it up and try something gin based, nothing too sweet and a little different. They recommended an Aviation and I was hooked. 

The Aviation was created by Hugo Ensslin, head bartender at the Hotel Wallick in New York, in the early twentieth century. The first published recipe for the drink appeared in Ensslin's 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks.[1]

2 ounces gin
1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/4 ounce creme de violette
Lemon peel for garnish

I love my booze but I wouldn't call myself an aficionado. I say that because I personally think any gin could be used in this cocktail but others may disagree. For a smoother drink I would suggest Hendrick's, which infuses Bulgarian rose and cucumber into their gin, making it quite refreshing. Lately, I've been on a Seagram's kick, which is a bit more...potent. If you don't like the traditional (or what some may call the "Christmas tree")  taste, then I would avoid Seagram's.

Now onto the film. When Leonardo DiCaprio won his Oscar earlier this year I realized I hadn't seen a lot of his most recent films save for The Wolf of Wall Street and The Great Gatsby (I enjoyed one of them). You'd think I would automatically decide to then see The Revenant, the film which won him the Oscar, but I decided to go with The Aviator; partly because I thought it was right up my alley (biography, period piece, pretty costumes) but mostly because it was available on Netflix Instant. Though I'm sure Hughes had a favorite cocktail that is listed in a biography or two, I decided to sip on the Aviation. Seems appropriate, no?

I was a bit underwhelmed with the film as a whole. I've been underwhelmed by films in the past that I later become obsessed with (see: O Brother, Where Art Thou?), so I may give it another go. Don't get me wrong, the performances were great (notably Cate Blanchett. No surprise she won her first Oscar for the role), the costumes were wonderful and the technical efforts were impressive (Director, Scorsese, designed each time period in the film to look just the way a color film from that time period looked), but for a nearly three hour film, everything felt like it was just happening, not unfolding. My negative thought shouldn't be taken to mean that I didn't think the film was good, I understand why it received the praise it did, the way it was presented just wasn't for me. 

On that note, cheers!

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