Whether taking a puddle-jumper or a transatlantic red-eye, there's no reason to settle for (ho-hum) airplane G&Ts when -- with a little foresight and some pre/ post-security prep work -- you can mix bar-quality libations in the comfort of seat 18E. Here are three tips to making top-flight cocktails at altitude, along with four easy drinks that require no more than a few basic ingredients.
Tip #1: Pack mini bottles
It's a little-known fact that the TSA allows you to bring sealed mini-bottles of booze through security; you're just not technically permitted by the airlines to drink them onboard. So, you'll need to be cool. That said, if you want to take your mid-air mixology up a notch, stop by your local liquor store for a few secondary ingredients, i.e. Kahlua, Jägermeister, Vermouth, etc. Just make sure they're smaller than 3.4oz (100ml) and you put them into your single, one-quart Ziplock bag to run through security.
Tip #2: Raid the fridge
Take two minutes and throw some essentials in there, too: mini bitters, hot sauce, simple syrup -- a 2oz medicine bottle/ dropper works well if you only have normal-sized bottles at home -- and a bag of lemon/ lime slices, olives, pearl onions, orange rind, celery sticks -- whatever your favorite drink calls for. Seriously, it takes five seconds to slice a lime and throw it in your carry-on; it'll make all the difference.
Tip #3: Final grab from the food court
Channel your inner-McGuyver (who will later meet your inner-James Bond) and filch packets of sugar and pepper, then buy a can of Red Bull, a pint of chocolate milk, etc. Don't forget to snag a large cup, lid, and straw from the closest fast food joint if you're mixing something traditionally served in a highball.
With the basics in hand, here are a few simple starter recipes to get your in-flight bartending career off the ground: