Whether you're flying for business or pleasure, airline travel should never be a drag. Sure, there are luggage fees and long lines and you somehow always end up in the last zone to board. But once you're settled in your seat, you are flying 20,000 ft in the air. And while the in-flight meal seems to have gone the way of airline peanuts and flight attendants who wear those little hats, that doesn't mean you should have to drink poorly while you cruise at altitude.
So, what should you get? Overpriced mini-bottles of mediocre California red blend? An $11 macrolager? Of course not. If you're wise, you can turn out a perfectly respectable cocktail for the price of a single miniature. With a few complementary items from the drinks cart, you can make a fine Old Fashioned that honestly doesn't cost more than a comparable cocktail from your neighborhood bar.
So sit back, relax, and actually enjoy your flight.
If you're not already aware, cocktail bitters are aromatic infusions that are used to give mixed drinks an incredible depth of flavor. Think of them as the spice cabinet for your home bar. Many of the standard flavors - Angostura, Peychaud's - originated as tonics to settle stomachs and cure sickness.
If you're also not aware, artisinal bitters have exploded on the cocktail and home mixology scene, and all the cool kids are mixing up their own. These make an awesome weekend project, as well as a great gift to give to your friends as favors or holiday gifts.
You may not know it yet, but the Negroni is your new favorite cocktail. It's strong, balanced, absolutely delicious, and makes a perfect pre-dinner cocktail that'll match nearly anything you're eating during the warm months.
The drink was supposedly invented in Florence in the 1920s, when Count Negroni asked the bartender to pump up his Americano (equal parts sweet vermouth and Campari, served tall with soda water) with gin.
And if you're brave enough to flame an orange peel, it's totally worth it. The toastiness of the orange oils mixed with the bitters and the spices of gin is a very fine thing indeed.