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The Top 5 Pre-flight Cocktails to Order at Airport Bars

Let’s face it: Airports are not the most cheerful of places. No matter how bountifully blissful your destination, the process of getting there often entails waking at some ungodly hour to rush to the airport, only to face an hours-long wait for a delayed flight that leaves you crumpled near an outlet attempting to charge your dying phone battery in a desperate search for some respite from the boredom and stress. Take a look at this list of five of the best pre-flight cocktails to get at airport bars. There is also a recipe on how to prepare one.

Enter the airport lounge. As it is in the outside world, the lounge or bar of an airport is like a safe haven from the restless tension and palpable anxiety that lies beyond its walls. It’s also a great place to meet new people—or not, if you’re looking for a break from awkward airport socializing. Another great thing about airport bars is you probably won’t ever see your fellow patrons again, so you can feel free to imbibe whatever you please at any hour of the day. After all, the airport is the perfect place to remember it really is always 5 o’clock somewhere. Read on for some of the best pre-flight cocktails to order before your next trip.

By the way, since we’re talking about drinks you should definitely give it a try to a Colombian Michelada.

Airport Bars

Best Pre-flight Cocktails to Order at Airport Bars

Screwdriver or Greyhound

In an interview with Forbes, Tiffanie Barriere, bartender at One Flew South, a fine-dining establishment in Hartsfield-Jackson’s Concourse E, advises travelers to choose something light, aromatic and bright, like a cocktail made with fresh juice. Citrus is a particularly smart choice, as the scent is energizing and many of the best and simplest cocktails are made with some form of the citrus mixer.

One of our favorite freshly squeezed cocktails is the classic screwdriver, usually made simply with orange juice and vodka. For a tart twist, try the greyhound, which replaces the orange with grapefruit.

Related Read: Are Airport Lounges Worth It?

Mimosa or Poinsettia

Barriere also lists champagne as a nice pre-flight option, as the effervescence, as the bright notes of fresh juice, will help to keep you alert without giving you an overdose of sugar.

For a nice mixture of the two, try a mimosa or poinsettia—made with champagne and orange juice, or champagne and cranberry juice, respectively.


Another refreshing option is the margarita. A nice mixture of salty, tart, and sweet, the margarita is typically made with agave, tequila, and lime and has a salted rim.

Just be sure to ask for the straight, non-frozen variety. Some bars serve their frozen margaritas from a pre-mix akin to a Slurpee. These generally contain a lot more sugar—not a great option when you’re about to ascend several thousand feet in the air—and, consequently, many more calories.

Tom Collins

A Tom Collins takes the distinct bitter-pine taste of gin and mixes it with a fresh twist of lemon, a bit of sugar, and some soda water for a concoction resembling a delicious juniper-flavored alcoholic lemonade.

Juniper berries were once used in Medieval healing practices, so you don’t have to feel bad about knocking back a couple at any time of the day—it’s for your health!

Bloody Mary

If you’re more of a fan of spicy than sweet, try a Bloody Mary. Not only a classic breakfast cocktail and lauded hangover cure, but the Bloody Mary also has just the right amount of kick to pry your weary mind from the drab darkness of a no-human-should-be-awake-right-now red eye. For an extra bite, try this sriracha Bloody Mary.

Sriracha Bloody Mary, serves one.


  • Bloody Mary mix
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Sriracha
  • Lime
  • Liquid Smoke


In a tall glass, mix Bloody Mary mix, vodka, a splash of Worcestershire sauce, juice of half a lime, and two drops of liquid smoke. For a mild spice, add 1/2 teaspoon of sriracha. For medium spice, add 1 teaspoon of sriracha. For a very spicy beverage, add 2 teaspoons.

Have a preferred pre-flight beverage of your own, or a favorite airport bar? Share in the comments!

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