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One of the very best perks of elite frequent flyer status or scoring a great business or first class deal is airport lounge access. Away from the increasing crowds, lounges are on the up and up, offering refined wines, spirits, beers hot food and even occasionally some showers to refresh! While some lounges offer nifty cocktail bars, others leave a help yourself shelf to make your own magic. Here’s how to take your lounge cocktail experience to the next level!

The Espresso Martini

Virtually every lounge offers an espresso machine and some decent vodka – the two key components of a great espresso martini. Here’s how to refine the art and create something excitingly drinkable. There are many ways to play with this recipe to add a little bit more or less sharpness. If you want something creamy and decadent, adding a little baileys certainly won’t hurt! This is a fantastic way to start the day, or end the night.


Double Espresso, Plain Vodka (or Vanilla), Sugar.

Optional: Cinnamon, Frangelico, Baileys.

Step 1: Take a cup or glass and fill it up with Ice. Pour sugar on top, dash Cinnamon. 

Step 2: Place cup in espresso machine and dispense double espresso into cup. Let chill.

Step 3: Stir double espresso, sugar, cinnamon mixture and then pour into new glass, sans ice. 

Step 4: With another new glass, pour preferred amount of vodka over Ice into new glass. 

Step 5: Pour espresso mix into glass with vodka on ice. Stir vigorously.

Step 6: Add Baileys or Frangelico to taste (optional).

“Old Fashioned”

Lounges are a great place to find whiskey. It’s often poured less aggressively than other spirits, which allows airlines to bring in some premium stuff. Lounges are also known to carry fruit for passing guests, and of course – sugar. By request, you can almost always find some bitters as well. If you love an Old Fashioned, they’re extremely easy to make. Rum can make a nice twist.


Rye, Bourbon, Scotch or Rum, 1 Orange, Sugar packet, Water.

Optional: Soda Water.

Step 1: Grab a sugar packet and open it into preferred low ball glass. 

Step 2: Grab (or request) Angostura (or similar) bitters. Dash bitters over sugar. 

Step 3: Use cutlery from lounge to press down on sugar, releasing bitters into sugar.

Step 4: Add dash of water or soda water to slightly dissolve sugar.

Step 5: Use knife, fork or hands to peel large skin section of orange. 

Step 6: Twist orange peel and rub around rim of glass, place inside glass after twist.

Step 7: Add ice as desired and pour preferred spirit over cube. Stir as desired. 

French 75

It’s zingy, sharp, herbal and refreshing with crisp Champagne or Prosecco to top it all off. This one is good at any time of day and for a very refined drink, it’s totally doable. Yep, even for a novice cocktail maker. You may look a bit crazy at first with all the glasses and pouring, but it’s worth it in the end. We promise.


Champagne or prosecco, gin, lemon, sugar, water.

Optional: aromatic bitters.

Step 1: Open 2 packets of sugar into coffee mug. Pour minimal hot water over to dissolve.

Step 2: Grab another cup, fill with ice. Once sugar dissolves, pour mixture into ice cup.

Step 3: Squeeze 2 or 3 lemon wedges into champagne glass or similar. 

Step 4: Pour sugar syrup (without the ice) over lemon juice in glass. 

Step 5: Add one measure of preferred gin (chill before adding). Stir mixture vigorously.

Step 6: Fill to top with Champagne or Prosecco. Garnish with lemon (optional). 


Cuban Sidecar

If you’re headed to or from a sunny destination, there’s nothing like ingraining the memory of sunshine with some proper rum. Throw in citrus and aromatics from lime, orange and cointreau and you’ve got a captivating and complex way to pass some time waiting for flights. Cointreau can be found at many airport lounges, making this a surprisingly easy delight!


Dark or light rum, limes (or lime wedges), cointreau.

Optional: Orange, Cherry Brandy or Pineapple.

Step 1: Squeeze 2/3/4 lime wedges into glass. Push skins down with cutlery to release zest. 

Step 2: Add ice to glass, swirl around to release lime zesty aromas. 

Step 3: Add equal parts Cointreau, Rum. 

Step 4: Fill separate glass with ice, transfer mixture back and forth between two glasses.

Step 5: Optional garnish or squeeze fresh orange, pineapple or dash cherry brandy. 


Obviously, making drinks is exciting and the more you experiment, the better you get. With that said, keep it within reason with your new airport mixology skills. Nothing will kill your buzz quite like being tasered or duct taped to your seat, shall your destructive alter ego kick in at 33,000 feet. Airlines put up with drunk idiots every day and it ruins it for everyone else who can handle their booze. Be smart, be safe – and enjoy!

Which of these cocktails will you test out?

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