Flying is terrible, which is why so many people drink on flights. But a plane is not a bar, which makes imbibing on a plane a somewhat limited experience, cocktail-wise. Though rum & cokes, gin & tonics, and vodka sodas will do the job, bringing on a little cocktail kit will elevate the plane drinking experience and provide a welcome distraction from the fact that you are on a damn plane (which is the whole point).
Knowing what you like to drink can help you build your kit, but you can pack yours with any or all of the following:
- Lemons and limes: Citrus is an important part of many, many drinks, and—at the very least—it can help perk up a something and soda. I pack both wedges and strips of zest; if nothing else, squeezing either will help combat the stale, recycled air. (Speaking of zest: Grapefruit and orange are great options as well.)
- Honey sticks: Each sealed stick contains about half a teaspoon of honey and doubles as a stirrer.
- Bitters: Grab a little one-ounce dropper bottle from your local fancy health food store and fill it up with Angostura. If anyone asks what’s inside, tell them it’s an herbal tincture to help with your nerves, which is the absolute truth.
- Mint: A mojito with fresh mint will make your flight infinitely more pleasurable and, like citrus, make the plane smell much better. (Ask your seat mate before busting it out, just to make sure no one is allergic.)
- Cherries or olives: These are probably the most extra things you can bring in your kit, but they really add that extra something to an old fashioned or Bloody Mary.
Store everything in a TSA-approved pouch (or quart-sized freezer bag) and throw it in your carry-on. Once beverage service begins, order your booze and mixers and get to cocktail crafting. I’m sure you’ve already got some delicious ideas rattling around in your brain, but feel free to borrow any of the following:
- A mojito: Order a mini bottle of white rum, a club soda, and a sugar packet, and ask for an extra empty cup. Place half a lime (cut into four wedges) and 10 mint leaves in the empty cup, sprinkle on the sugar, and muddle with the little liquor bottle. (Wipe it off with an anti-bacterial wipe first if you need to.) Add the rum, stir to combine, add some ice, and top with club soda.
- A sort of Bee’s Knees: Order a little bottle of gin, with an extra, empty cup. Squeeze three lemon quarters into the empty cup, along with three or four honey sticks. Add the gin, and stir until the honey is dissolved. Add ice and stir again.
- An old fashioned: Order a little bottle of bourbon, along with a sugar packet and extra, empty cup, and a water (alternatively, just use the water you brought on the plane because plane water is sketchy). Empty the sugar packet into the empty cup, saturate with it bitters, then add a splash of water. Muddle the sugar with your little bourbon bottle until it’s dissolved, then add the ice and bourbon. Give it a little stir, and garnish with a strip of orange zest or a cherry.
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