Spice up Friday's "drinks o'clock" at the airport lounge

By John Walton, July 20 2012
Spice up Friday's

It's Friday, and Friday evening means it's time for a week-ending glass of something. Of course, if you're on the road, your options might be limited: bad airline wine, a severely limited bottom-shelf liquor selection or just the mixers. (FYI, you might find those called "soft drinks".)

But adding a small, 100ml-compatible bottle of something to your hand luggage can make your Friday evening -- or any other evening that requires a stiff something.

Now, of course you'll want to figure out whether your particular flight or lounge has restrictions on pouring your own alcohol and abide by all local laws.

But there's not usually a restriction on carrying alcohol in your carry-on, especially if it's marked.

What should you pop into your bag, your carry-on or -- if you're already ahead of us -- your hipflask?


Crême de Cassis is a blackcurrant liqueur produced mainly in France, sort of like alcoholic Ribena.

You can either enjoy it over ice, or add a slug it to white wine to make a Kir, or to sparkling wine to make a Kir Royal.

If blackcurrant isn't your think, you can make an equally delicious drink by substituting Chambord (raspberry) or Crême de Mûre (blackberry).


Va bene... Campari's an Italian aperitif in the bitters family with an unusual taste.

Add it to soda to make a Campari Soda -- or make this year's breakout cocktail, a Spritz: Campari, white wine, and soda water, with an orange floating in it.

But if the Spritz is your bag, consider its cousin Aperol -- it's less red and more orange in colour, and with a slightly different flavour.

Long Island Iced Tea liquor mix

If you've access to a decent liquor cabinet, mix yourself up some Long Island Iced Tea. Vodka, gin, tequila, rum...and a splash of triple sec. Add it to a Coke with a splash of squeezed lemon or lime en route and you're golden -- with the added frisson of enjoyment that comes from drinking a prohibition drink.

Whisky (or whiskey, or bourbon)

Add it to coffee, drink it neat with a dash of water, add it to ice for an on the rocks, splash it into some Coke, or infuse it with some mint to prepare yourself a pre-made Mint Julep: all you need is sugar and ice for that.

Angostura bitters

If you'd prefer to carry a smaller bottle with you, try a tiny container of Angostura bitters: perfect by the drop to flavour thing sup.

Make it classic with a champagne cocktail. You'll need a couple of drops of Angostura bitters, a sugar cube and some sparkling wine. Drip the bitters onto the sugar cube until it starts to dissolve, then add the bubbles.

Alternatively, add a few dashes of bitters to a gin & tonic to make the thoroughly British pink gin.

If you have the ingredients to hand in a lounge, try adding a few drops to a 5:2 ratio of rye/bourbon/whisky and vermouth to make a Manhattan.

Bitters are also great for a DIY stomach-settler or indigestion remedy: mix a good couple of pinches of salt with bitters, then add sparkling water. Watch out for the fizzing and drink it straight down.

Peach juice

Here's a bonus option: if you're not keen on bringing liquor with you, get your hands on some peach juice.

If you get a good thick one, it's a good substitute for the peach purée that you'd find in a Bellini. Just add sparkling wine and pretend you're in Harry's Bar in Venice.

Cheers from the Australian Business Traveller team!

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

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