Do you know what I love even more than traveling? Drinking.
Okay, not totally true. Because if I was a true connoisseur I wouldn’t have to ask Michael Cho, former bartender and bartender of the skies extraordinaire, how to make my own drinks on my next flight. Because after 30 something years on this God-green Earth, I still don’t know how to make my own gin and tonic.
Most people seem to forget that it’s possible to bring liquor minis as part of your carry-on for cheap drinking. I’m more of a wine girl but if cocktails are the preferred drink of choice, there’s some prep work involved. It’s not simple as mixing liquors and downing it. (I guess I like to get straight to it.)
For starters, you’re gonna want to steal a couple of things from the terminal before boarding the flight. The first thing Michael suggests is grabbing an empty McDonald’s soda cup and lid—any soda cup from a fast food joint will do— because they’re the perfect size as a shaker. The cups served in-flight are fine for drinking but aren’t great for mixing cocktails. While we’re still being super creative, a McD’s straw can actually act as a stirrer.
The second pit stop should be the airport Starbucks or coffee shop. For sugar. More specifically, for packets of raw sugar. That’s because the raw sugar can work together with everything else in the cocktail to form simple syrups. The granulated sugar flight attendants pass out along with the onboard tea and coffee just won’t work as well.
For a finishing touch, Michael confessed that he likes to bum an orange from a bartender at an airport restaurant or the lounge so he can scrape some of the backside for bitters.
Now onto the good part: cocktail recipes using a mix of freely available items from the airport terminal and from the drink trolley to pass the time more sublimely. Bottoms up.
(Note: Though it is legal to bring liquor onboard, it is technically illegal for passengers to open bottles on an aircraft. You however may hand it to a flight attendant to pour for you.)
- onboard tonic
- Using equal parts gin and tonic (for instance, 1 oz gin, 1 oz tonic), shake in McDonald's cup.
- Pour into cup.
- Drink like its Prohibition.
- Scotch whisky
- onboard club soda
- onboard ginger ale
- onboard ice
- bitters (optional)
- Combine equal parts Scotch, club soda and ginger ale (for instance, 2 oz whisky, 2 oz club soda, 2 oz ginger ale and so forth) into a McDonald's cup.
- Shake well.
- Serve over ice.
- Add bitters if you swiped some!
- onboard lemon wedges
- raw sugar packets from Starbucks
- Grab as many lemon wedges from the flight attendant as possible. Juice 'em!
- Mix the sugar and lemon juice first.
- Pour the syrup into the whiskey, preferably enough for a couple of drops or so.
- Shake well and pour, my alcoholic friend.
- candied peppermints (look in the lounge)
- onboard lime wedges
- Grab limes from the flight attendant. Juice into McDonald's cup with rum.
- Crush peppermints. Crush! The smaller you can get them to be, the better. This will form a very simple syrup for the mojito.
- Shake and pour. Pretend you're going to Mexico. Better if you actually are.
Did you like this article?