The Riff

Aviation-Inspired Spring Cocktail Recipes

By: Erin Byers Murray

Nashville bar pro Hayley Teague reaches new heights to reinvigorate the aviation in three new spring cocktail recipes.

Hayley Teague comes at cocktail creation less like a mixologist and more like a sommelier, pairing cocktails that keep in step with the hyperseasonal kitchen at Nashville’s Hathorne restaurant.

Haley Teague holds a spring cocktail, Elevation, at the bar at Hathorne

Set in what was once the fellowship hall of a historic church, the restaurant borrows from its location with pew-like banquettes, a prayer wall that divides the dining room from the bar, and a hymnal board to display menu items. The spring cocktail recipes includes several signatures, each named for the person who inspired it (there’s a Maude and a Diego), as well as classics, including the aviation.

“The team in the kitchen has this wealth of knowledge, so I spend a lot of time back there,” Teague says. It helps keep her mission on point: Guests are there to enjoy a meal, not knock-back rounds of boozy drinks. She tends to offer options that won’t necessarily compete with what’s on the plate.

This time of year, Teague likes the menu to reflect the brightness that
emerges with spring. The aviation is one of her personal go-to’s. “I love
the stunning color of it,” she says of the violet hue.

Her preference is the original recipe, which includes crème de violette—it first appeared in Hugo R. Ensslin’s pre-Prohibition Recipes for Mixed Drinks (1916). Later variations, like a version in The Savoy Cocktail Book (1930), omit the crème de violette, but Teague appreciates what the delicately purple liqueur brings to the party: its color and floral notes.

Anytime Teague riffs on a classic, she relies on the measurements of the original recipe to dictate where she’ll take it. “[They’re] classic cocktails for a reason; those measurements are tried and true,” she says.

But often, she takes the opportunity to update a drink with small-brand spirits. “I always make a place on my shelf for indie producers, showcasing them next to the Woodfords behind the bar. It allows you to dive into the stories behind those brands, to make you feel like you’re traveling as you learn,” she says. With her fresh take on the aviation, we’ll all want to come along for the ride.

Teague’s Spring Cocktail Recipes

The aviation cocktail in a martini glass


This lavender-and-maraschino accented cocktail has a base of gin and a dash of lemon. Not only does it taste like a fresh spring breeze but its pastel hue almost looks like it, too.

New spring cocktail recipes:  The pink Elevation cocktail.


With rose water, homemade grenadine, and a springtime pink color makes this cocktail as fun to concoct as it is to drink. Patagonian spirit Trä Kál, which is sweet and herbaceous, adds intrigue to the light and aromatic cocktail.  

New spring cocktail recipes: The floral and almondy cocktail served in a sharable punch bowl.

Resurrection Punch

Looking for something to “wow” the guests at the next backyard garden party? Take the big punch bowl down from the cabinet and get ready to serve this large-format spring cocktail, made with sweet and smooth elderflower liqueur and Cathead Honeysuckle vodka.

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