Drinking is a deeply ingrained ritual that eases the discomfort of being strapped to a narrow chair for a 10 or 12-hour slog. But ever wonder why certain drinks taste better in flight? Your taste buds react to food and drink a little differently. Also, not all cocktails are made alike when you're in the sky.
According to Chicago nutritionist Lauren Grosskopf, MS, LDN, "Generally flying causes a combination of things that reduces our sensory experience. She added that the dry air, cabin pressure, and even the noise on the plane can make your drinking experience dull or unpleasant. Thus, food tastes bad and drinks taste bland.
Between two and four alcoholic beverages seems to be the sweet spot when boarding.
Here's what to order 36,000 feet above:
1.Two ingredient cocktail, spirit and mixer drinks
"When it comes to cocktails, the classics are always best," said a Alaska Airlines flight attendant. While you can order a well version of most basic liquor-and-mixer combinations, juices won't be fresh, so it's better to order something with soda or tonic.
Budget carriers like Southwest and Spirit often still carry "premium well" options like Tanqueray gin.
2. Scotch and soda
The smokiness and bitterness of this drink might actually taste just as good in the air as it does on the ground. Scoth can make a delicious addition to any cocktail. A simple scotch and soda is made with a few shots of scotch and a some soda water.
Throwing ice into a glass, adding some scotch and topping with seltzer may produce a drinkable cocktail, but there are simple techniques that can ensure you have the best Scotch & Soda.
The ratios in a Scotch & Soda can dramatically change the drink's flavor. Highballs with Scotch whisky can vary anywhere between one and two ounces. The scotch you choose for your Highball has everything to do with the flavor of the drink.
3. Bloody Mary
They say a Bloody Mary tastes better when you're cruising at 30,000 feet.
Refreshments may taste blander, but the good news is that some drinks, like Bloody Marys, are a great choice to counteract that.
According to Professor Barry Smith, founder of the Centre for the Study of the Senses at the University of London, the taste of the vodka and tomato juice cocktail is enhanced when flying in the air. Umami-rich ingredients are used, which is the fifth basic taste after sweetness, sourness, bitterness and saltiness. Umami is unaffected by loud background noise.
Dehydration can make you prone to air sickness and increases you chances of experiencing jet lag. Also, it leaves you prone to altitude headaches and makes you more likely to get sick in the days after your flight.
The mocktail of seltzer water and cranberry juice is hydrating and gives you some vitamin C.
5. Straight whiskey
Aim for drinks with the highest alcohol content if you're looking to get tipsy: straight spirits. Neat whiskey tastes delicious without ice. Some airlines even offer premium options for long-haul flights at no cost. Also, skipping ice is a good way to exercise precaution when it comes to your health.