These are the best cocktails to order on a flight

When you’re looking to enjoy a drink, particularly on a long-haul flight that allows you to relax for a bit, there are a few things that you’ll want to keep in mind. Most people are aware that their taste buds are altered while up in the air. According to a study commissioned by Lufthansa, the low humidity levels experienced on a plane can lower their sense of taste and smell by up to 30%. With this logic alone, it could make sense to try something a little sweeter than you’d usually like. While up in the air, a cocktail or drink you’ve never been inclined to try before could hit just the right spots.

Airline policies are another element you want to consider. These will likely dictate the type of drinks that are available on a plane. Some airlines still allow passengers to board with their own drinks, which they can then consume on the journey. Other airlines like Qantas have a policy that any drink they serve has to be ready in less than six moves or 45 seconds. This limits their drink availability significantly. These types of policies are one of the main reasons why pre-made cocktails have become a popular staple on airliners. Knowing all of this, here are some of the best drinks to have on board a plane.


Boozy Refreshing Classic Margarita Cocktail with Salt and Lime
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Brent Hofacker

There are two main reasons why these drinks are on the rise for air travelers. On land, many people may think that they are too sweet. However, when your taste buds have diminished their capacity by 30%, your opinion can change. Also, many companies now produce pre-made cocktails of the drink. If you’re not too fond of the lemon flavor, try another type of margarita that could feature orange or strawberry as the main companion to the tequila.

Bloody Mary and the Rise of Tomato Juice

Bloody or virgin mary cocktail served in a cup with celery sticks and cherry tomatoes.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Marian Weyo

The Bloody Mary has always been a staple of air travel – that’s one of the reasons it remains on the drink menu for many airlines. It still brings that sense of “status”, or it can even remind folks of the old days. At the same time, tomato juice is one of the more popular mixers used by airlines. The drink is usually more favorable than orange juice or other popular mixers, and you could even add salt and pepper to help with the taste buds issue. Tomato juice in the air is typically less thick, which is one of the turn-offs about this drink on land.

Gins With Citrus Flavors

Five colorful gin tonic cocktails in wine glasses on bar counter in pup or restaurant.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Marian Weyo

If you’re not going to pair vodka with a strong mixer like tomato juice, it could be best to stay off it while in the air. Even a high-quality vodka can taste dull when your taste buds are compromised. One of the best ways to avoid a dull drink is to choose a citrus-flavored gin. That added natural taste can really help the drink hold up while you’re several thousand feet in the air. The natural flavor of the gin can also help mask the fact that flight attendants probably won’t have the time to get too creative with the other elements they mix into cocktails. They’ll probably have some rather stale orange peels that they can add but don’t expect too much help from them.

Hard Seltzers

Hard seltzer cocktail with orange, cranberry and mint in glasses on the table.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Rui Elena

Many airlines now carry the popular White Claws and other brands of hard seltzer. People have really taken a liking to these drinks in the past few years, so many of the top beer brands now offer their own line of hard seltzers. This is great for airlines because these are drinks people already like, and all they have to do is hand these cans out to passengers. If you order your favorite hard seltzer on a plane, though, be ready for a milder experience.

Whiskey & Tea Bags

Two glass of whiskey cocktail in a bar
Image Credit: Shutterstock / sssubinpark

This is a tip from seasoned travelers that could go a long way. If you really don’t want to have a dull drink while mid-air, this could be the best way to solve the issue. Order a whiskey on the rocks or maybe even some vodka. Then, have a flight attendant show you the line-up of tea flavors they have available, and soak the bag in your drink for a while. Some of these combinations may not taste great, but if you find one that works for you, it could be like striking gold.

Forget About Light Beers

Light foamy beer in a glass and barley ears on natural background.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Viacheslav Rubel

Light beers have also exploded in popularity over the last few years. On land, they provide the familiar taste of beer while allowing you to feel less bloated after drinking a few. The problem with light beers on a plane is that the flavor is going to feel even more watered down. This can lead to a person feeling dehydrated because of the alcohol without getting a chance to even experience the beer flavor they like. That’s why it could be a good idea to avoid them altogether while on a plane.

Mario Perez

Author: Mario Perez


Mario is a seasoned journalist who’s worked with multiple publications over the years. He has a passion for looking for that story within the story itself. When he’s not actively looking for breaking news, he enjoys playing and watching sports.

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