– Ryan Reynolds,
Owner, Aviation American Gin
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How two innovators, Prohibition, and juniper, lead to the first American craft gin.
At a party in Seattle in 2005, bartender Ryan Magarian was introduced to "summer gin" by a friend from Portland. Struck by the subtlety of gin with less juniper, he recognized it as a movement away from traditional gin. Ryan had a growing interest in classic, pre-Prohibition cocktails, where the spirit is central and never masked, and this gin had the potential to be the perfect complement. He set off for Portland to meet the distiller.
Equally passionate about his craft, Christian Krogstad founded a craft distillery in Portland, Oregon. With a pioneering spirit, Christian had set out to recreate a uniquely American Gin. But American gins disappeared with Prohibition, so no one knew exactly what they tasted like.
Without a precise flight plan, the first bartender/distiller partnership took off. Through repeated trial and experimentation with 7 botanicals, Ryan and Christian finally landed on a democratic blend with juniper in the background. Like all successful partnerships, none is overpowering or masking, but each plays a part in bringing out the best in all. Aviation, a gin created to be so balanced and smooth, it can complement any cocktail or even fly solo.
Every bottle of Aviation Gin is handcrafted in small 100-case batches by a small, dedicated team of master distillers in Portland, Oregon.
Like the world's finest gins, Aviation is distilled using a proprietary maceration process that produces a pure medley of botanical flavor.
It all starts with our precise blend of botanicals, sourced from around the world – cardamom, coriander, French lavender, anise seed, sarsaparilla, juniper, and two kinds of orange peel. The botanicals are placed in nylon sacks and suspended in a pure, neutral grain spirit for 18 hours in macerating tanks.
The macerate is then pumped into a stainless steel still along with pure water. Steam jackets heat the macerate, the vapors go into a shotgun condenser, come into contact with the cold water, and the distillate forms.
In a meticulously monitored process, the first fluid leaving the still, the "heads," is removed. Collecting the "heart of the spirit" throughout the run, the distillers then determine the end of the cycle and make the final cut, "the tails." This process takes approximately 7 hours and at this point, the "heart cut" is 142 proof.
The "heart cut" is transferred to a blending tank where pure water is added, bringing the gin to the desired 84 proof. It then goes into a bottling tank with a 6-sprout gravity filler and pumped into bottles. Labels, caps, and cap strips are all applied by hand. A craft production from beginning to end, Aviation is then ready to pack and ship.
CRAFTED WITH A BLEND OF BOTANICALS. ELEVATED, YET SMOOTHER, MORE SUBTLE, AND BALANCED.
SO SMOOTH AND DELICIOUS, IT CAN FLY SOLO, OR TAKE ANY MIXED DRINK TO NEW HEIGHTS
Old Tom is a sweeter, richer amber gin that dates back to the 18th century. Back then, sugar and flavorings were added to mask impurities. It's still made that way today.
But here at Aviation, we have our own way of doing things. Aviation Old Tom is aged for one year in used whiskey barrels made from American White Oak. The aging process brings out the democratic blend of botanicals so this Old Tom mixes like a gin and drinks neat like a whiskey.
Nothing added, everything gained.