The Air Florida

by Stevi on January 4, 2009

in Gin,Liqueurs,Original

As a home mixologist, sometimes I am faced with a request for a drink for which I don’t have all the ingredients on hand. The question then is whether to improvise or just make something else altogether.

Air Florida

Air Florida

This was the case the other night, when my co-taster asked for an Aviation. I had to tell him that I was out of both lemon juice and lime juice.1 I was quite surprised when he insisted I try with the grapefruit juice I had on hand. I’ve already documented that Bryan is no fan of grapefruit juice. But perhaps the number of times I’ve given him cocktails with this ingredient that he’s quite enjoyed have apparently opened his mind to the possibilities.

I normally use a half ounce of lemon juice in an Aviation, but felt that the grapefruit juice would be too dominant at that level, so I used a quarter ounce of the canned pink grapefruit juice I had on hand.

Air Florida Cocktail

1.5 oz London dry gin (No. 209)
0.5 oz Maraschino liqueur (Luxardo)
0.25 oz pink grapefruit juice
0.25 oz Créme de Violette

Shake all ingredients. Strain into cocktail glass.

I was quite pleased with the results. Bryan declared that he preferred it to the Aviation, and asked for a second round. He suggested the name Air Florida, referring both to the inspirational drink and the world’s major source of grapefruit, Florida. I hope the drink will outlast the airline.2

What was your most successful experiment with substituting and ingredient?

[1] I know! Please don’t take my cocktail geek card away!

[2] What is the airfare from Washington National to the 14th Street Bridge?

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jon January 4, 2009 at 11:29 pm

We used to have a cocktail on our menu at work that called for a Canadian dessert wine that we only had in limited quantities – one bottle. It wasn’t a big seller, but when the wine was gone we had to get creative.

The best alternative I managed was to use some Martini Rosso, a touch of Limoncello and a splash of Jagermeister. Worked way better than it sounds!

Great post, too.


Vidiot January 5, 2009 at 6:53 am

I’m glad you made the 14th Street Bridge joke, so I didn’t have to…


dfan January 5, 2009 at 9:46 am

You have reinvented the Seventh Heaven (with slightly different proportions and the addition of the Creme de Violette)! Very tasty.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a cocktail with grapefruit juice I didn’t like. It is probably partially because it’s a little sweeter than lime and lemon juice, and I usually like my citrus sourness to be balanced with a little sweetness.


Doug Winship January 6, 2009 at 7:32 am

Juice? Surely you mean that you were out of fresh lemons and limes! Gabe would try to take away your cocktail geek card away if you did have bottled juice on hand! (I won’t tell him)

And for what it’s worth, I think your geek cred will hold up anyway, considering you DID manage to have both Maraschino Liqueur and Creme de Violette on hand….


Stevi January 6, 2009 at 9:10 am

Actually, I do always use fresh lemon and lime juice, and haven’t bought the bottled in ages. But I do usually use canned or bottled grapefruit juice. It is more convenient for the quantities I use, and I haven’t been overwhelmed by the quality of the grapefruit we get this far north. Or maybe it’s just unfair I compare the the grapefruit I used to get off my tree in Florida.


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