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Mile High Boozing: The Five Best In-Flight Cocktails

April 12, 2010 at 9:35 AM | by | ()

Flip through the back of any in-flight magazine and there’s quite a list of beverage options. We enjoy a soft drink with our peanuts, but sometimes we need just a little bit more—and we’re not talking about mixing ginger ale and cranberry juice. We’ve rounded up five of our favorite picks for in-flight cocktails, and hopefully they can serve as a replacement for in-flight entertainment on your next journey.

· Drinking Delta
The Mile High Mojito has gone the way of Northwest Airlines, but Delta still has a couple premier cocktails to add to your in-flight comfort. For $7, our pick is the "It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere." We like to believe flying is always a good time to drink regardless of the time, so this beverage just further enforces our bad behavior. The drink was actually cooked up by a Delta flight attendant, and it’s a mix of rum and orange juice with a splash of cranapple juice and garnished with a lime. It goes great with Biscoff cookies.

More shaken and stirred beverages after the break...

· Cathay And Its Cocktails
Cathay Pacific is known for their excellent in-flight service, but that might just be because they love getting passengers liquored up during the journey. "The Cloud Nine" is one of their best signature cocktails, and the combination of Cointreau, Sprite, and vodka will make those long-haul flights just fly by. If you need more than one be sure to try the Pacific Breeze as well. It’s a combination of Drambuie and champagne with a fresh zest of lemon and orange to top it all off.

· Going Green With Virgin America
They might not make you hallucinate Parisian artist-style, but absinthe drinks are pretty unique especially when served up in the air. Virgin America—of course—has teamed with Le Tourment Vert to offer up the possibility of hallucinogenic cocktails. Drinks are free in the front of the plane, but if you’re in the back, just type in your request into the seatback touchscreen and the green fairy will be on your tray table before you know it.

· Umbrella Drinks And United
United Airlines can get you many places around the globe, but you’ll only get their Trader Vic’s cocktails if you’re headed to areas in and around the Pacific. Besides special Polynesian meals there will also be plenty of Mai Tais to help kick off that vacation to Hawaii a little bit early. Sure Mai Tais are available on other airlines, but United’s offerings are as close to authentic as they come. Things are a little more pricey at $8 than a simple rum and coke, but it’s probably worth the extra few bucks—and calories.

· Layover With Lufthansa
For those heading overseas, there’s always the need for a little in-flight relaxation. Lufthansa has you covered with all kinds of wines and spirits, but it’s their Lufthansa Cocktail that you won’t find anywhere else. It’s an orange and apricot liqueur, and it can easily be enjoyed on the rocks. However, if you want to be a little classier it makes a great mixer, or you can add it to some sparkling wine in case the in-flight champagne is lacking in the flavor department.

This will be a running series, so be sure to let us know below (or send an email) and divulge your favorite drinks in the sky!

Related Stories:
· How to Chase the Green Fairy On Virgin America [Jaunted]
· LAN Calls On South America's Top Nose To Pick The In-Flight Wines [Jaunted]
· In-Flight Drinks coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo of in-flight Mai Tais: Sarah Ackerman & in-flight Absinthe set: Jaunted]

Archived Comments:


How could you omit the Singapore Sling! This sweet, but powerful cocktail is served on all Singapore Airlines flights. Their impeccable flight staff will make sure your glass is never empty.

Good One!

We were thinking about including the Singapore Sling in a follow-up, but the cat is out of the bag now. It should have been mentioned due to the service.

Thanks for the recommendation!

Now I'm Thirsty

Good to know that there are tasty options to calm my frazzled nerves when traveling by plane. Thanks for the recommendations!

Elderflower based cocktails.

There is a wonderful floral elderflower (a hedgerow shrub)drink available in two versions - both non alcoholic but that can be soon fixed :) Elderflower cordial is a concentrate that mixes spendidly with cava and the like where as the more exclusive elderflower champagne is phenomenal with gin and vodka creating an Elderflower Explosion. Recently my partner and I took a cheeky bottle of the champers and had a lot of fun during our flight to Mumbai from the UK experimenting with martini's and other inflight cocktails. Cheers!


A rather original way of spending leisure time and improving your mood.

Singapore again

Besides the Singapore Slings they serve on the flight (which is the only place I will drink that concoction BTW), they make a variant called the Silver Kris Sling and a very good Campari Orange too.

Nice point of view.

Agree - he's a master in that field! Nice receipt=)

It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere

I ordered It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere on a Delta flight from Atlanta to Chicago. The flight attendant just handed me a glass of ice, a small bottle of rum, orange juice, and cranapple juice and had me mix it myself. I was disappointed as I was expecting an actual mixed drink rather than a bunch of ingredients. Phil