These Are the Airlines That Offer the Best Cocktails and Beverage Service
Whether you’re an anxious flyer in need of a drink or just want to kick back and relax at the beginning or end of a vacation, having a cocktail in hand shortly after takeoff can be a welcome way to begin a flight. The Travel Channel reports that airlines have traditionally offered beer, wine, and name-brand liquor for their passengers. But a cocktail menu is a relatively new addition to the beverage service.
Read on to find out which airlines offer the best cocktails and beverage service on their flights.
1. Alaska Airlines
If you find yourself on an Alaska Airlines flight, you’re in luck. Food & Wine counts Alaska as one of the airlines that offer cocktails perfectly suited to their routes. “Nothing can brighten a gloomy flight from Seattle to your next Alaskan destination quite like a Ginger Sunrise, this airline’s twist on the more traditional Gin-Orange Buck,” the publication notes. The drink features Hedge Trimmer Gin from Seattle’s Sun Liquor Distillery, mixed with orange juice and ginger ale.
Next: This airline offers some excellent whiskey.
2. American Airlines
Cocktail aficionados don’t typically laud American Airlines’ beverage service. But GQ reports that there’s at least one thing to love about American’s drink menu. “American Airlines, somewhat shockingly, serves Woodford Reserve Bourbon now, which is good enough to drink neat or on the rocks.” Not exactly a cocktail, but close enough if you’ve just had a harrowing experience with airport security.
Next: This airline offers a variety of champagne cocktails.
3. British Airways
If you fly in first class with British Airways, then the airline will break out the champagne for you. According to The Travel Channel, first-class passengers can choose from a variety of champagne cocktails. One notable option is the Kir Royale, which features creme de cassis. And don’t forget about the Buck’s Fizz, which features dry champagne and orange juice.
Next: You can order seasonal cocktails from this airline.
4. Delta Airlines
The Travel Channel reports that on some Delta flights between Atlanta and destinations in Europe, passengers can sip signature cocktails created by Atlanta chef Linton Hopkins. The cocktail menu is seasonal, so there’s always something new to discover. The drinks on offer have included favorites like Southern Lemonade, with Firefly vodka and lemonade, and the Blue Chair Bay Island Punch.
Next: This airline has an actual bar onboard some of its planes.
A great cocktail menu is one thing, but an actual bar you can visit during the flight is another. But that’s exactly what Emirates (and a few other airlines) offers, according to God Save the Points. You can experience it for yourself if you fly in first or business class on one of Emirates’ A380 aircraft. The publication notes that the airline offers a circular bar in the center of the plane. And though it has only a few seats, God Save the Points promises that “it’s incredibly chic and social.”
Next: This airline also has a cocktail bar.
6. Etihad Airways
According to God Save the Points, Etihad Airways offers “the most unique bar in the sky.” The bar, accessible to Residence, First Apartment, and business class passengers on A380 flights, looks like a round table. There, you can socialize with fellow passengers in Etihad’s premium classes. You can order among a range of cocktails. And you can also enjoy an extensive wine list.
Next: You can order fruity cocktails from this airline.
7. Hawaiian Airlines
Hawaiian Airlines has partnered with On the Rocks Specialty Cocktails, a maker of bottled cocktails, to offer a curated selection of cocktails on its flights to Hawaii. The Travel Channel reports that these drinks even include fresh fruit garnishes. A few favorites? The Lychee Vodka Martini with lychee and lime, the Li Hing Vodka Gimlet with lime and preserved plum, and the classic Mai Tai with dark rum, pineapple, and coconut.
Next: This airline has a notable signature drink.
The Travel Channel reports that on JetBlue, you can have a cocktail in hand before the flight even takes off. You’ll just have to fly in MINT, the airline’s new premium class service. There, flight attendants will serve you JetBlue’s Mint Signature RefreshMint. The Travel Channel characterizes the beverage as a honey-infused limeade with fresh mint. You can even have it made with or without vodka.
Next: This airline has a full bar.
9. Korean Air
God Save the Points reports that Korean Air offers a full “celestial bar” on its A380. There, first class and business class passengers can stretch their legs and enjoy a drink. The publication reports that if you visit, you’ll feel “like you’re on a spaceship of the future, where people chill out drinking Absolut vodka and make their own cocktails.” Plus, the bar typically gets under-utilized, so you’ll likely have plenty of space to spread out.
Next: You can order a variety of cocktails on this airline’s flights.
The beverage service on Lufthansa flights features the airline’s own “Lufthansa Cocktail” brand, according to The Travel Channel. You can choose among six cocktails, including a Pear Gimlet, a White Manhattan, an Old-Fashioned, and a Negroni. And if you find something you love, you can also order the airline’s signature cocktails at Lufthansa first class lounges in Germany.
Next: The beverage service on this airline includes a bar.
11. Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways numbers among the airlines with an actual bar on some of its aircraft, according to God Save the Points. (You can experience it yourself if you fly in first or business class on A380 flights.) The publication characterizes the bar as “large enough to exist on the ground, with refinements you’d be lucky to find in a five-star hotel. The couches are utterly swanky, the lighting is attractive, and the canapés, cocktails, and champagne always go down with ease.”
Next: You can get a free drink on this airline, even in economy.
12. Singapore Airlines
Food & Wine reports that Singapore Airlines offers at least one notable cocktail: the Singapore Sling. This classic cocktail “may have been created at the infamous Raffles hotel,” the publication notes, “but the combination of gin, Cointreau, and grenadine is just as delicious 30,000 feet in the air as it is in the city-state itself.” Another factor that sweetens the deal? You can get a Singapore Sling for free even in the airline’s economy class.
Next: This airline keeps things simple.
13. Southwest Airlines
If you prefer classic cocktails, then Southwest Airlines may be the carrier for you. The Travel Channel reports that Southwest’s beverage service doesn’t feature a line of curated cocktails. (At least not yet.) Instead, the carrier offers a range of classic cocktails. You could order a traditional gin and tonic, a Baileys and coffee, a Bloody Mary, a Jack and Coke, or a Rum-Rita.
Next: This airline offers a delicious version of a classic drink.
14. United Airlines
United Airlines may not offer quite as many cocktails as other airlines’ beverage service. (Even though it does offer more than 20 cocktails in its Polaris lounges on the ground.) But Food & Wine enthusiastically recommends United’s Moscow Mule, which you can order on domestic flights to New York or California. (Both states are where the classic drink took off originally.) United’s version of the drink — which includes vodka, ginger beer, lime juice, and cane sugar — comes in a bottle from Crafthouse Cocktails by mixologist Charles Joly.
Next: This airline offers a variety of unique cocktails.
15. Virgin America
The Travel Channel reports that if you fly to or from Hawaii with Virgin America, you can order from a selection of excellent cocktails. One you won’t want to miss is the POG, which includes passion fruit, orange, and guava juices. Passengers also love the airline’s mimosa. And if you fly in the first class cabin, you can order the Makena, which combines rum, club soda, grenadine, and passion fruit, orange, and guava juices. Food & Wine also recommends the Calimocho, which includes the unusual pairing of “red wine, fizzed Coca-Cola, and a twist of lemon.”
Next: You can kick back at the bar on this airline’s flights.
16. Virgin Atlantic
God Save the Points characterizes Virgin Atlantic as “the only airline in the sky where you’re guaranteed to have a bar on the plane.” (However, you do need to have a business class ticket to check it out.) The publication notes that “You may only find four or so chairs, but once there it’s hard not to love the ample cocktails, champagne, and crisps (that’s potato chip in American) to pass the time.”
Next: This airline also offers a full bar on some of its flights.
17. Virgin Australia
If you find yourself on one of Virgin Australia’s Boeing 777s, then you’re in luck. The airline recently upped its game by equipping the Boeing 777 with a full-service bar. God Save the Points reports that you can expect a “modern, hotel-lobby-styled layout.” The bar isn’t the largest one you could see in the sky. But considering how long it takes to fly between Australia and the United States, we’re going to assume that you’ll welcome the distraction.
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