Summer, 2005. A small tiki party in West Seattle. Bartender Ryan Magarian is handed a complex summer botanical infusion by a friend from Portland, Oregon. Finding it unlike anything he had ever tasted, he quickly seeks out its maker, Portland’s House Spirits Distilling.
Recognizing a common interest in spirit, cocktail, and food interactions, the distillers at House Spirits share with Ryan their idea for a renegade regional gin style. In June of 2006—after nearly 30 rounds of trials—Aviation Gin takes wing. Many believe this to be the first brand partnership between distiller and bartender in American history.
With its full and weighty mouth feel, regionally inspired flavours of earth and spice, and a uniquely cool finish, Aviation is a rare expression of dry gin. In creating Aviation Gin, the team worked feverishly to put together a precise set of botanicals they felt would best come together to mark the spirit as a definitively Northwest product.
A blend of juniper, cardamom, lavender, Indian sarsaparilla, coriander, anise seed and dried sweet orange peel is left to mingle with 100% corn grain neutral spirit (chosen for it’s full body and rich viscosity) for a period of 48 hours. Next the spirit is pumped into a 400 gallon steel still where steam jackets heat the unit, initiating the distillation process, which takes the better part of a day to complete. Over the course of the first few hours the all important “heart cut” is made, taking away only the finest “juice” each batch distillation has to offer. Finally, Aviation Gin is brought to a full flavoured 42% abv with ultra pure water. The spirit is bottled less than 20 yards away from where the spirit was born and then Aviation Gin is ready for shipment and to be enjoyed around the globe.