As you walk down the jet bridge and onto the plane, taking a left at the door as you board and drift into your seat, you’re welcomed by an unexceptional choice of water, orange juice or champagne. While somewhat dull and dreary, some Oneworld airlines have stepped up and taken a lead towards creating innovative signature cocktails that remain in the minds of travellers long after they have left the plane.
Below is a list of Oneworld airlines that have taken it upon themselves to redefine their drink selections by offering unique signature drinks, one drink at a time.
Bucks Fizz & Kir Royal
Photo Credits: ThePointsGuy
Ingredients: Champagne with either Orange Juice (for Bucks Fizz) or Kir (for Kir Royal).
In Business and First class, you can sample the British Airways signature drinks of either Bucks Fizz or Kir Royal. It is usually served as a welcome drink or post-departure aperitif.
The choice of champagne used will depend on how far forward you are in the plane – in Club World you will get Canard-Duchêne and in First, it would be Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle.
These drinks are pretty simple to make but do add a nice touch to the flight.
Expanded further in this article on airline speciality beer, Speedbird 100 was launched to celebrate the airline’s 100 years.
‘Speedbird’ being the carrier’s domestic callsign.
Cathay Delight & Oriental Breeze
Cathay Delight Ingredients: 60ml Kiwi Juice, 35ml Fresh Milk, 5ml Coconut Milk
Oriental Breeze Ingredients: sour plum tea, cranberry juice, lemon juice, rose tea and honey
Garnish: Baby Mint
When travelling in Business and First class, you can sample the Cathay Pacific’s two signature Cocktails Cathay Delight and Oriental Breeze however not on the same flight.
This is because Cathay Delight is only served on even number months and Oriental Breeze on odd-numbered ones.
If you do manage to find yourself in a Cathay Pacific Lounge, you will find Cathay Delight on the menu so well worth a treat if you’re there.
Cathay has invested quite a bit of time in its beverage options.
Not only does the airline have signature cocktails under its belt but also a signature beer called Betsy – named after its first plane.
Sky Time Kiwi / Grape
Ingredients: As a premixed drink, simply turn the carton over and the ingredients are quite commonplace. While iterations of the drink have different ingredients, the newest edition is made with 3% Kiwi Juice and is fortified with vitamin C and Royal Jelly.
Unlike many signature drinks which are relegated to the realms of business and first-class, Japan Airlines’ signature drink is Sky Time which was available to all cabins and was the 3rd most consumed drink on JAL flights after beer and wine.
The original drink was served between 1992 and 2004. While invented to be a unique selling point for the airline, it was originally made to promote hydration methods during longer flights. As such, it was originally (and still is) a 1-litre premix drink fortified with vitamin C and royal jelly.
the drink is similar to that of Aromatic Kabosu – the signature drink of rival All Nippon Airways.
From 1992 to 2004 the original Kiwi flavour was served to customers and from 2004 onwards a citrus Yuzu flavour was commonplace until 2013 when it was replaced with a sparkling version of a similar taste (Shikwasa or Okinawa lemon). This didn’t do so well and a year later was rebooted and reformulated back to its original flavour.
Japan Airlines created its own original Cuvee wine that it will begin serving in its premium economy and economy class cabins from August 2018.
JAL is producing its own branded wine, created by wine consultants Kenichi Ohashi MW and Motohiro Okoshi — and aiming it at premium economy and economy class customers.
The new Double “O” wines comprise both red and white variants.
The wines were created in time for Japonismes 2018, a celebration of 160 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and France.
As the Runway Girl Network put it:
As any regular visitor to Japan will know, wine tastes are markedly different to Western and South American tastes as expressed in wines produced in and popular in Europe, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, and so on.
To (perhaps over-)simplify, relatively dry whites and reds that are the big sellers in these regions are not widely popular among Japanese palates. Similarly, the sweeter varietals and blends that sell well in Japan don’t match the expectations of international drinkers used to a dry Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, to a tannic Cabernet or Bordeaux-style blend, or even a softer Merlot.
Both the Double “O” white and red are blends, cleverly selected and blended to appeal at the same time to international and Japanese palates, with both (according to the label) “sourcing the finest five kinds of grapes from France”.
Ingredients: pineapple juice, soda water, pandan syrup and a touch of lime.
Garnish: Baby Mint
In Business and First class, you can sample the airlines signature cocktail Wau Emas. Its usually served as a non-alcoholic welcome drink (While Malaysian Airlines is a Muslim airline, the airline is not a dry-carrier).
The drink is balanced well for the Asian climate with the tart pineapple juice cutting through the floral sweetness of the pandan syrup; the carbonated soda water lifts the drink adding the refreshing element to the drink.
FINNAIR Blue Sky
Ingredients: one part Lapponia Blueberry Liqueur to eight parts Joseph Perrier Cuvée Royale Brut.
Finnair’s signature drink is the Blue Sky, was introduced blueberry juice as its signature drink in 2014, created as part of the airlines’ A350 launch as a way to promote its “Nordic heritage” and to bring in a “new era” for the airline, although it’s now served on all long-haul business class flights.
Since then, nearly one million litres of blueberry juice has been served on Finnair flights every year.
The drink is familiar in many ways to a blueberry mimosa in that the champagne lifts the flavour of the blueberry liqueur in the same way in a mimosa.
In fact, you can actually purchase the non-alcoholic version of the drink (in Finland) and can be found in a selection of K-Group’s over 300 grocery stores in Finland, starting in December 2021. This launch continues the success of the carrier’s recent launch of its ‘Taste of Finnair’ ready-made meals that launched in October 2021.
Ingredients: while no recipe of the drink has ever been published – the drink itself is popular in Arabic culture and mainly consists of lemon, sugar, water chopped mint and water.
Garnish: Baby Mint
In Business and First class, you can sample the Qatar Airways signature Cocktail Lemon Mint. Its usually served as a non-alcoholic welcome drink (While Qatar Airways is a Muslim airline, the airline is not a dry-carrier).
The drink is common across Arabic countries (so not to hard to find a recipie) and is served cold to counter the sweltering heat of the region.
While refreshing and definitely worth a try, those who are not accustomed to seriously minty or tart lemon flavours may want to give this a miss.
Photo Credits: SimplyFlying
In 2014 the carrier did a run on DIY cocktail making mid-air.
It partnered with Seattle based Sun Liquor for three cocktails that could be made. There was a:
On top of being able to be made mid-air the carrier put a focus on making the drinks at home and providing the recipes online.
“You are limited on a flight, not just with ingredients but also with time. This is a very cool way to add that third dimension of flavour on an airline.” said the carrier.