Drinkonomics: The Aviation

Hey there all you bitters fans, we’ve got a killer cocktail recipe for you, but first we want to extend a giant THANK YOU to all of those who made it out to THE BEACH at the National Building Museum and helped us win a friendly competition against our Union Kitchen compadres, Element [Shrub] and Wild Roots Apothecary! There were some great cocktails flowing, but we’re glad that our Hibiscus Caipirinha featuring Lyon Distilling Co. White Rum won the hearts of the crowd with its vibrant hue and top-notch sip-ability.

Come Chill with Embitterment

Speaking of awesome cocktail events, we’ll be hanging out with our friends at Salt & Sundry on Friday, August 7th from 5:00-7:00pm at their Union Market location to talk about some bitters and sample an awesome cocktail with the good people of D.C.

What cocktail?

Glad you asked. It’s our take on the classic Aviation Cocktail, featuring Embitterment Lavender Bitters!

The Lavender Aviation: A True Crowd Pleaser

Today we’re featuring a classic recipe with a floral kick, courtesy of Embitterment Lavender Bitters. This incredible cocktail consists of:

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Drinkonomics 101 – The “Flower of Normandy” Cocktail

Here at Embitterment, one of our goals is to bring exquisite cocktails down from the social stratosphere and into your own home, into the bar down the street, into your hand. A big part of accomplishing that mission is teaching folks how to make tasty creations without going to bartending school or paying an arm and a leg. In this post, I’ll break down a simple, three-ingredient cocktail by price to show you how truly cost-effective it is to make your own drinks at home.

The “Flower of Normandy” Cocktail

But first, a little background on the drink. This Embitterment original is called the “Flower of Normandy” (ou “La Fleur de Normandie”) because it’s a fragrant, bright little cocktail made with Calvados, St. Germain, and orange bitters. Calvados is an apple-based spirit made exclusively in the northwest region of France, and despite its mellow, sunlit taste, it usually weighs in at around 40% ABV. St. Germain is an Elderflower liqueur that’s also produced in France, boasting a blossomy, mildly tangy, and slightly honeyed taste—a taste that’s great in a whole slew of beverages perfect for all seasons and occasions. Then there’s the bitters, of course, and we hope you’re familiar with those. If not, we’ll wait while you learn more.

Now, after that ingredient list, you may be thinking: “I’ve never heard of any of those things, and they sound expensive and hard to find.”

To a certain degree, you may be right about both the cost and the availability of Calvados and St. Germain. A bottle of Calvados can run you anywhere between $30.00 and $70.00, and a bottle of St. Germain usually costs about $30.00. Add a bottle of our bitters to that list and you’re already nearing $100.00. In addition, you’re not going to find either or both of these ingredients at your little corner liquor store next to the domestic beers and sugary wine. St. Germain can be picked up at any reasonably well-stocked liquor store, and Calvados can be purchased at most places that specialize in imported wine and quality spirits.Flower of Normandy Cocktail

Addressing Your Objections

If you’re turned off by any of this so far, let me give you a couple reasons why maybe you should tough it out and stick with us:

If I can’t get it at the corner store, it’s not worth it.

Well, let us break it to you, it takes time to develop a well-stocked home bar. If you’ve got even the slightest interest in making cocktails at home, you’re going to have to drive to a nice-ish liquor store at some point. Once you’re there, chances are the staff can give you some helpful hints, or maybe even point you toward a more cost-effective or local version of what you’re looking for.

$100.00 for the supplies to make ONE cocktail! No, thank you.

We can hear various sphincters in your body starting to tighten…but it’s odd how those same sphincters were totally fine with blowing a visible chunk of your paycheck at the bars, or the club, or that fancy restaurant last weekend. So, what are you uncomfortable with now—spending money, or your own double-standards? [Hey, we’re called Embitterment for a reason…]

But then there’s all that fancy cocktail equipment I have to buy…

Not so! All you need for this cocktail is a pint glass, an iced tea spoon, a paring knife for the garnish, and ice. Can you handle that? Trick question. You have it all in your kitchen. We checked.

A Little Drink-rithmetic

Now here’s where we demonstrate how cheap it really is to make and enjoy a “Flower of Normandy.” Below, I’ve laid out a bit of basic math that pretty accurately calculates how much it costs to make this drink. The first time we made it, we were so enchanted with the taste that we just had to see how it sized up to the cost of drinks with similar ingredients out at the bars here in D.C.

  • 1 (750ml) Bottle St. Germain: $30.00
  • 1 (750ml) Bottle Calvados: $40.00
  • 1 (50ml) Bottle Embitterment Orange Bitters: $12.00

Recipe: 2 oz Calvados, ½ oz St. Germain, several dashes of orange bitters.

Facts: 1 oz = 29.537ml (We’ll call it 30ml for math’s sake)

Calvados: 30ml x 2 = 60ml.  750ml/60 = 12.5 drinks/bottle (we’ll call it 12 drinks to be conservative)

St. Germain: .5oz = 15ml.  750ml/15 = 50 drinks/bottle.

Bitters: Even if used liberally, a bottle of our bitters can make DOZENS of drinks.

Now that we know how many drinks we’d get out of each bottle using this recipe, we need to find a way to divide that cost evenly to calculate the cost per drink. If you keep in mind that you’d have to use four bottles of Calvados (48 drinks) to exhaust one bottle of St. Germain (50 drinks), you’ll understand where I’m going with my math here:

$40.00 (Calvados cost) x 4 = $160.00 + $30.00 (St. Germain Cost) = $190.00 + $12.00 (Bitters Cost) = $202.00.

Now, divide that ingredients cost by 48 (the number of drinks you know you can make), and you get: $4.20/drink.


  • These are retail costs, and certainly not the cheapest way to make this drink. In fact, bars and restaurants will have access to these same ingredients at wholesale prices, which means that a bar could make this drink for around $3.00.
  • On the other hand, if you were to go to a bar and order a cocktail like this, chances are it would run you somewhere between $12.00 and $15.00, and possibly even more than that if you’re at a snazzy joint in the city.

Final Pitch

If you routinely go out and spend more than $4.00 on a single drink—say a light beer or a glass of Pinot Grigio—then why not spend that same amount of money crafting something exquisitely tasty in your own home? We can tell you that there’s something really satisfying about sipping a well-balanced drink that you’ve made yourself, especially when you can share that taste with others. So next time you’re dreading a trip out to the bars where you’ll spend the same high prices for the same middling drinks, consider inviting some people over for cocktails. If you split the cost of the ingredients or take a little collection for the bartender (A.K.A. YOU) at the end of the night, you’ll probably be surprised at how fun and cost-effective it can be.

Check our cocktail recipes page for the Flower of Normandy recipe, along with some other darn-tasty cocktails.

Until next time: Stay Thirsty, Stay Bitter.
The Embitterment Team