Another Round

Mixing with the best: how to craft your own cocktails on a plane

Become your very own mile-high mixologist with these helpful hacks to make fancy cocktails mid-flight

23 May 2019 - 00:00
A little less snakes on a plane, a little more sozzled.
A little less snakes on a plane, a little more sozzled.
Image: 123RF/fesenko

Fifteen plus hours on a plane is a lot of time to kill and, as great as the in-flight entertainment is, sometimes you need something more exciting to do to pass the time. So why not pack your very own mini bar kit  — with an emphasis on mini — and mix up some of your favourite cocktails mid-flight?

With a tiny bit of planning, five minutes of kitchen prep and A LOT of charm, it's entirely possible to be a mile-high mixologist — we did the fieldwork to prove it. We managed to mix up a classic mojito, michelada (Mexican bloody mary), old fashioned and even a fancy G&T on a flight between Joburg and Paris.

What did we need the charm for? For the air hostess, of course. You're going to be a fairly demanding passenger with all your requests from the on-board drinks trolley.

BEFORE YOU FLY: ASSEMBLE YOUR MINI BAR KIT

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

1 lime

1 orange

Tiny plastic containers with lids

Fresh mint leaves

Celery tops

Bitters

Tiny empty bottle

A bottle of Tabasco sauce

A little bit of prep goes a long way.
A little bit of prep goes a long way.
Image: Sylvia McKeown

HOW TO PREP IT:

Cut the limes and oranges into skinny wedges and pack them in separate containers so as to not mix up the flavours. Make sure to capture all the stray bits of juice; you’re going need it later.

Bruise the mint leaves to release their scent and pack them in the same container as the celery tops to save space.

Decant some bitters into the tiny empty bottle, you only need a few drops so don’t get too heavy handed.

Put all of the above, along with a bottle of Tabasco sauce, in a plastic ziploc bag to make going through security fool-proof.

HOW TO MAKE DIY COCKTAILS ON THE PLANE

MOJITO

Talk about a party of one, nothing says laid back (albeit reclined) quite like a mojito. You’re not always going to have the perfect provisions on board a flight, in this case we were given dark rum and Perrier instead of soda water, neither of which is ideal, but by using extra lime juice and tad more sugar we got more than favourable results.

The mojito we mixed up on a plane; it's a little darker than our usual cocktail, but delicious nonetheless.
The mojito we mixed up on a plane; it's a little darker than our usual cocktail, but delicious nonetheless.
Image: Sylvia McKeown

You will need:

From the air hostess:

Plastic cup

Ice

Sugar

Coffee Stirrer

Rum

Soda water

From your mini bar kit:

Lime wedges

Mint leaves

Method:

  1. Squeeze the juice from the lime wedges into the cup. Add the lime rinds and whatever juice is left in the container.
  2. Add the ice, sugar and mint leaves to the cup. 
  3. Use the coffee stirrer and ice as a muddler, beat and stir everything together
  4. Add the rum and top off with soda water.

MICHELADA (MEXICAN BLOODY MARY)

We're sure you’ve made the most basic of versions of a bloody mary on a plane at some point, but we assure you going the extra mile of adding orange juice and beer makes this classic cocktails astoundingly better.

The Mexican bloody mary we mixed up on a plane; the beer lightens (and livens) up this sometimes dense breakfast wonder.
The Mexican bloody mary we mixed up on a plane; the beer lightens (and livens) up this sometimes dense breakfast wonder.
Image: Sylvia McKeown

You will need:

From the air hostess:

Plastic cup

Tomato juice

Beer

Vodka or Tequila

Salt and pepper

Coffee Stirrer

From your mini bar kit:

Orange wedges

Tabasco sauce

Celery tops

Method:

  1. Pour some tomato juice into the cup, top it up with beer and then spike it with your preferred hard tack.
  2. Squeeze the juice from your orange wedges into the cup to add an extra depth of flavour. Add the rinds too.
  3. Season with the salt, pepper and a couple of drops of Tabasco sauce and stir with the coffee stirrer.
  4. Garnish with celery tops. 

OLD FASHIONED

The simplest cocktail of the lot, but by far the most fashionable, the old fashioned is making a mighty comeback across the globe, so you may as well enjoy it while you cross it.

The old fashioned we stirred up on a plane.
The old fashioned we stirred up on a plane.
Image: Sylvia McKeown

You will need:

From the air hostess:

Plastic cup

Still water

Sugar

Coffee stirrer

Ice

Rum, bourbon or whiskey

From your mini bar kit:

Bitters

Orange wedges

Method:

  1. Add some sugar, a dash of water and few dashes of bitters to the plastic cup. Using the coffee stirrer, muddle a little until the sugar has dissolved. 
  2. Add the ice and your preferred hard liquor of choice.
  3. Garnish with an orange wedge, squeezing in a little of the juice in, if you like.

TEA, ORANGE AND BLACK PEPPER G&T

Yes, yes, we know a G&T is literally just gin and tonic and anyone can pull this off on a plane with zero effort, but you have hours and hours to kill, so why not be fancy about it and give those Bree Street kids a run for their money.

It’s a proven fact that planes dulls your taste buds and the pepper in this cocktail is there to bring out the flavours of the gin, a neat trick that works at any altitude.

The G it's been given a fancy upgrade, just like you wish you had been when checking in for your flight.
The G&T we mixed up on a plane; it's been given a fancy upgrade, just like you wish you had been when checking in for your flight.
Image: Sylvia McKeown

You will need:

From the air hostess:

Plastic cup

Black tea

Gin

Ice

Tonic

Pepper

From your mini bar kit:

Orange wedges

Mint

Method:

  1. Pour some hot tea into the plastic cup.
  2. Squeeze in some juice from your orange wedges into the cup. Add the orange rinds, mint and some gin. Let the flavours infuse while you wait for the tea to cool down.
  3. Once sufficiently cooled and infused, add the ice, tonic and pepper. 

OTHER TIPS:

  • Be warned, your fellow passengers will notice what you're up to — even those sitting behind you. Sharing is caring and it makes the world a nicer place, so always pack some extra ingredients in your mini bar kit so you can whip up a cocktail for some of them. Just get them to request their own booze from the air hostess.
  • By packing your own tiny bottles of alcohol in your mini bar kit, you'll not only guarantee you'll have your tipple of choice for your cocktail, but you'll also annoy your air hostess less. (As mentioned above, you're already going to be a fairly demanding passenger with all your requests from the on-board drinks trolley.)
  • With this mini bar kit you can also make a Negroni, a pink G&T and a Dark and Stormy, but there were only so many cocktails we could taste test on one flight without starting to sing Dancing Queen out loud.
  • If you'll be pre-booking your seat, opt for the one next to the emergency exit. That way, you'll have a little more space to mix up your cocktails.

• We would like to thank the staff of Air France flight AF0995 from Joburg to Paris for their many cups of ice, sugar packets etc, and most of all for their patience. 

• This article is adapted from one published on Business Day's Wanted. Read the original article here. To get the best in luxury lifestyle news, visit wantedonline.co.za


X