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High spirits: Airlines offering better cocktails, craft beers

on 07/02/15 at 10:21 am

Booze News

imagesAlaska, Delta and Virgin offering more specialty and better drinks, with some locavore ingredients.

Flying, at least for non-millionaires, has gotten grimmer in recent years. But things are looking up on the drinks cart.

“You can actually get a decent drink,” says Anthony Caporale, director of beverage studies at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. “I started a few years back seeing small-batch bourbons on flights. Now I think it’s uncommon for me to get on a major airline that doesn’t have some sort of craft American whiskey.”

Virgin America, for example, offers a cucumber vodka mojito from the Austin Cocktails premixed line. Delta is launching a “Jack and Joe” specialty cocktail (Jack Daniels, Bailey’s Irish Cream and coffee, hot or iced) this February. And Alaska Airlines took a crafty approach, teaming with local distilleries Sun Liquor in Seattle and Bendistillery in Oregon.

All three airlines also are tapping into the craft beer trend, along with JetBlue and Southwest Airlines, which recently introduced rotating seasonal beers from Leinenkugel’s in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.