We tried Delta’s new onboard cocktails — here’s what we thought

Apr 29, 2021

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Here’s something to toast: Travel is starting to show signs of returning to normal.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is still very much a concern, of course, but the success of the vaccine campaign here in the U.S. has meant things can start getting back to the way they were in the “before” days.

One thing that’s meant — aside from fuller flights — is that airlines are resuming onboard food and beverage service, which had been suspended for much of the pandemic in order to minimize interactions between customers and flight attendants.

Some carriers are using this as an opportunity to tweak their inflight offerings. Delta, for instance, rolled out several new items, including canned, ready-to-drink cocktails made by Atlanta-based Tip Top Proper Cocktails.

I’m no mixologist, but I consider myself to be a bit of a cocktail aficionado (I even say so in my TPG bio). So, naturally, I wanted to see how the canned concoctions stacked up.

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Tip Top makes a wide variety of cocktails, although Delta offers only the Old-Fashioned and the margarita. So, TPG asked the airline for a few samples and held a taste test, comparing the canned cocktails to the real thing. For the sake of standardization, we followed the recipes posted on The New York Times’ website. We also tried each of the canned cocktails on the rocks.

The short version is: the drinks are good. Very good.

The Old-Fashioned hit the spot, with a nice boozy bite coming through at the front, offset nicely by the sweetness of sugar and complemented by a hint of orange bitters. My only complaint was that I usually prefer a bit more bitters in my Old-Fashioned.

But when we followed the recipe from the Times to the letter, it was quite similar. I suppose when I make them myself, I add an extra dash or two. I do hope Delta finds a way to add a dried or candied orange as a garnish when serving the cocktail, but I can certainly live without it.

Related: Inflight service is back — here’s what food and drinks you can expect on your next flight

While we enjoyed the Old-Fashioned, we’re not sure it can beat the margarita.

These are dangerous. At once tangy and sweet, I can imagine downing one of these in about three seconds when I’m feeling parched at 35,000 feet. While it’s a bit juicier and sourer than the ones we made following the recipe from the Times, it was nevertheless just about perfect and I’m certain I’ll be ordering one (or a few) of these this summer.

Related: The FAA doubles down on fines — again — for bringing booze on board and messing with flight attendants

Overall, I’m quite pleased to have these options available on Delta, especially since, as a Platinum Medallion, I have drink vouchers waiting to be spent. I’ve enjoyed the Old-Fashioned on United, and it’s great to see the trend spreading.

Just remember not to bring your own alcohol and drink it on a plane, and definitely don’t have too many and become disruptive, or you could face tens of thousands of dollars in fines from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).


Featured image by Mia Yakel courtesy of Tip Top Proper Cocktails

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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