Airplane Cocktails: Three Drinks to Make on a Plane

If you have been watching all our adventures in the name of Bartender Atlas, you will know that we were recently in Melbourne. Flying from Toronto to Melbourne requires one to be on a plane or several planes for about 22 hours.

As a bartender I am pretty bad at sitting still for too long and so plane rides like this are good for two things: catching up on X-Men movies (Apocalypse was SO bad) and trying to make the drinks on the plane taste good.

Yes, those ready-made cocktail kits are super cute but we wanted to be a little more creative and see where we could go with it. Below are three such attempts. All ingredients were purchased or stolen* from shops in the LAX international departures terminal and should be readily available at whatever airport you find yourself in. We recommend being creative and purchasing the items after going through security so that you aren’t sneaking anything through. Results on the deliciousness of these drinks varies depending on how tired and thirsty you are. Also, the people sitting in your row will think you are a lunatic. (All apologies to flight QA94!)

Prep work: You will need to go to a cafe/coffee shop in the airport to stock up. All other ingredients you can get from Hudson News or other snack and news stands. The most important part of this is simple syrup. Airplane food is always so salty that you won’t be mad at having this sugar handy. The best way to do this is to order a tea with the bag on the side (we’ll get to which tea to order soon) and then take about 42 sugar packets from the milk and sugar station. Grab a bunch of stir sticks as well – the sturdier the better. Also, a lemon wedge or two from the plate of salad you ate before heading to your gate. You could steal lemons out of a garnish tray, but that’s bad karma. While waiting at your gate drink half the hot cup of water and then add sugar until it tastes right. You’ll probably be the only person drinking your “cocktails” anyway.

Airplane Cocktail | Bartender Atlas

Blenderless Colada
Pineapple chunks
Can of Coconut Water (be sure not to accidentally grab a chocolate or fruit flavoured can…or do that, whatever)
Simple Syrup
A few dashes of nutmeg from Starbucks. Best not to ask for this, just dash some into a napkin, fold carefully and be on your way. While you’re at it, do the same with cinnamon, you never know.

Once on the plane ask for a rum on ice (on the way to Australia it was an aged Bundaberg). Order a cup of water, drink that water so that you have an empty vessel to build the drink in. Drop 3 pineapple chunks in the empty cup and do your best to mash them up with a stir stick. Add about a tablespoon of simple syrup. Add the rum and ice. Top with coconut water and sprinkle a pinch of nutmeg on top.

Airplane Cocktail | Bartender Atlas

Canned Espresso Martini
Can of whatever brand cold coffee with cream you like.
Simple Syrup

Once on the plane ask for a vodka on ice. Open the can and top up your cup. Stir in simple syrup as desired. And again, nutmeg (or cinnamon?) will be a welcome addition.

Airplane Cocktail | Bartender Atlas

Green Tea Southside
Bag of mint/green/lemon tea (remember from your prep work?)
Simple Syrup
Lemon wedge

Once on the plane ask for a gin on ice and a hot water with a lemon**. Remove the lemon from the hot water and drink it so that you have an empty vessel. Now drop your tea bag into that cup and pour the gin on the tea bag, holding back the ice from the other cup so as not to dilute the gin. Add about a teaspoon of your simple syrup and squeeze all the juice that you can out of your lemon. Stir it as much as you can with that tiny plastic stir stick and then dump it all back over the ice. Now pour all the liquid parts back into your empty cup.

Have a good flight!!!

*By stolen, we don’t mean in the illegal way. We mean, visiting the condiment or milk station at any given cafe or restaurant and taking from the things supplied there. 

**Sometimes planes will not have lemons, good thing you kept the garnish from your salad.

Josh Lindley
Co-Creator at Bartender Atlas
Josh Lindley has been bartending in Toronto since 2007. Before working for Hendrick's Gin as a Brand Ambassador he was bar manager at Campagnolo and a hired gun at Bar Isabel. He has contributed to many magazines, tv shows and newspapers with his recipes and opinions. Currently pouring at Chantecler, he enjoys being an ambassador to Toronto and talking about horror movies, punk rock and basketball.
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