17 December

The aeroplane's birthday

Aviation Cocktail (Difford's recipe)

So we are drinking an...

Aviation Cocktail (Difford's recipe)

For seven years the Wright brothers had been experimenting with flight from their bicycle shop in Ohio when Orville Wright took to the skies on this day in 1903. He ascended to about first storey height above a North Carolina beach, and took a whole 12 seconds to fly less than 40 metres (120 feet).

Yet by the Wright Brothers' fourth attempt on that self-same gusty day, Orville's brother Wilbur had flown the plane for 59 seconds over almost 300 metres (852 feet).

Using propellers and an engine, Wilber and Orville are credited with making the first powered flight and are godfathers of aviation. It only seems right to make an Aviation, and toast the brothers and their legacy.

Aviation was a popular theme for early 20th century bartenders naming drinks, not least because aeroplanes get you high and get you high fast. The Air Mail, made its debut on the cocktail scene in Esquire's Handbook for Hosts, and contains a couple of our favourite ingredients, honey and rum. The Biggles Aviation, a take on the classic Aviation packed with seasonal ginger spice, is also a perfect drink to commemorate this anniversary. It's named for the fictional flying ace Biggles, who inspired a generation of British schoolboys.

For more on the classic Aviation and other modern-day riffs, see our encyclopedic Aviation page.

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