7 Hacks for Making Fancy DIY Cocktails on Your Next Flight (On the Cheap, Right in Your Seat)

7 Hacks for Making Fancy DIY Cocktails on Your Next Flight (On the Cheap, Right in Your Seat)

You might get a high five from TSA — or possibly a stern warning.

By Tamara Palmer

Your next long flight could be more bearable if you take some time to treat yourself to a nice drink made to your exact flavor cravings... yes, even in coach. Sound dreamy but unattainable? Actually, it's easier than you might think, but you might have to go into mini stealth mode. Allow us to explain, as we lay out seven useful facts and tips you'll want to know before making your own in-flight cocktails:

1. You can pack mini bottles of alcohol in your carry-on.

The typical tiny alcohol bottle is 1.7 ounces and travelers are allowed to bring as many 3.4 ounce bottles of liquid (including alcohol) that will fit in a quart-sized plastic bag in their carry-ons as they like, according to the TSA blog. Sound too good to be true? There's definitely a catch...

2. It's technically illegal to drink your own alcohol onboard, though.

The TSA also points out that there are FAA regulations prohibiting passengers from actually consuming alcohol on board a flight unless it was served to them by the "certificate holder operating the aircraft." In other words, that is not you, so if you're going to do this, do be at least minimally discreet when you're putting your cocktail together — or consider alcohol-free versions. Having your own bespoke drink will be cool (and kill some time in a fun way on a long flight) no matter what.

3. Pack a container for your ingredients.

Your liquids have to be packed in a plastic bag, but pack a small Tupperware or multi-compartmented bento box so you can get your mise en place — a.k.a. your staging area with all the ingredients you need — rocking on that tray table.

4. Shakers come in adorably small sizes.

Unless you have an empty bottle to sneak it in, you're probably going to be drinking your concoction out of a teeny tiny airline cup. If you want to be silly and have a decently mixed drink — and an ideal Instagram opp — you might want to consider a lil shaker (such as Tablecraft's four-ounce plastic variety) as well. Don't forget to ask for a cup of ice if you're making something cool!

5. Free airline beverages can be inspiring mixers.

When conceptualizing your cocktail at home before you go, keep in mind that you'll have access to free potential mixers such as coffee, black tea, cranberry juice, ginger ale, and sweeteners. For example, Lifehacker recommends pouring up a Death of a Ladies' Man, a sophisticated mix of Jack Daniels, Scotch, brown sugar, and black tea.

6. Forage additional ingredients from bars and restaurants near your gate.

Lauryn, a business development professional who splits her time between Boston and NYC, loves to make elaborate cocktails in the sky, which she hashtags #gourmetcocktailsnackpack on Instagram.

"It started as a joke with an elaborate Bloody Mary," she told Jet Set. "My dad bought me the mini bottles of vodka and I prepared a lunch bag filled with garnishes of bacon and celery. I foraged Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, and hot sauce from a Legal Seafood and salt and pepper packets from a McDonalds, both at Logan Airport. It became a fun game for me."

7. What starts in the kitchen may lead to magic.

Lauryn's beverages have gotten progressively more elaborate since making her first in-flight Bloody Mary. She now takes the time to survey her refrigerator (and the grocery store, if needed) to kick it up a notch. "Since then I've made everything from Manhattans to Gin Fizzes en route to SXSW, raw egg and all. One time I put a cucumber in its own TSA bin." Beyond making her flight more fun, she's bonded with airport bartenders and patrons while waiting for a plane — and might have even had a makeout session with an onboard neighbor. Talk about the friendly skies.

For more cocktail hacks, check out five delicious recipes below. 

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