Photo by Chris Casella

Booze Traveler

Cocktail anyone? I can thank the Boy Scouts of America for teaching me two things – the smell of the campfire will always mask the smell of the cigarettes you smuggled in your first aid kit, and the scout motto: Be Prepared.

For me, travel has always been equal parts romance and anxiety. What if there’s no way to charge my phone? Are we going out to a fancy restaurant? Do I need a tie? Do I need a passport to get into Florida? You can’t predict what might go wrong and in what situation you may find yourself, but no matter what happens, access to a cocktail – a good cocktail – will help you weather that storm.

Why not start with the definition of a cocktail: spirit, sugar, water, bitters…The Old Fashioned. It doesn’t get any simpler (or more satisfying) than this drink – not to mention this is more of a template than a strict recipe. Feel free to replace the whiskey with brandy, tequila, gin, or any spirit you get your hands on, and you’ll find yourself with a perfectly balanced cocktail when you need it most. Here’s what you’ll need:

Angostura and Orange bitters in dropper bottles – You don’t need much, so keep them small to avoid the TSA liquid restrictions.

Sugar cube – Drop one in the bottom of your glass, and saturate with a few dashes each of your Ango and orange bitters. Next, use the bottom of one of your dropper bottles to muddle the sugar. (A dash of water or club soda helps to dissolve the sugar but can be left out in a pinch.)

1.5-2 oz. of booze – You can pack this yourself in a small bottle, raid the hotel mini bar, or flirt with your flight attendant until they slip you one from the bar cart. Pour this over your muddled sugar and bitters.

Ice – While the drink can be enjoyed without it (stranded in the desert?), stirring with ice not only cools down your cocktail, it provides proper dilution.

Toothpicks Assuming you’ve found some ice, you’re gonna want to add it to your glass and stir with a toothpick. This may be an emergency, but airplanes and hotels are full of germs. No need to stir with your finger. Plus, you can use it to spear a cherry from the stupid kid eating fruit salad in the seat next to you. Just don’t muddle the cherry. Garnish only.

Pro tip Replace the Angostura bitters with Peychaud’s, and the orange bitters with absinthe or pastis. Now add rye whiskey, and you’ve got yourself a Sazerac.