Welcome to Travel Non-Essentials, where T+L editors Mark Orwoll and Nikki Ekstein sound off on a different breed of travel product—sometimes ingenious, sometimes just plain odd.

By Nikki Ekstein and Mark Orwoll Mark Orwoll and Nikki Ekstein
June 23, 2015
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Carry On Cocktail Kit

What It Does: The Carry On Cocktail Kit ($24) gives an air passenger everything needed for two cocktails, except the alcohol, which you purchase during your flight’s beverage service. Current mixes include Gin & Tonic and Old Fashioned. Orwoll and Ekstein check it out to decide if it’s a must-have, or just a nice-to-have.

NE: This is a Carry On Cocktail Kit, which advertises “Cocktails at 30,000 Feet.” It seems to me to be a non-essential, but definitely a really, really good conversation starter. Then again, I don’t know that everyone wants to start a conversation with a seatmate.

MO: Especially one who puts so much emphasis on how they drink their alcohol!

NE: So here we have a little metal box, maybe the size of a deck of cards, and inside we’ve got a little canvas satchel that holds a canvas, branded cocktail napkin, a teeny-tiny bottle of bitters, two little sleeves of cane sugar, and even a little cocktail spoon, along with a recipe card that recommends that we “procure” a mini bottle of bourbon, a cup of ice, and one empty cup. The question that I have immediately, depending on the flight that you’re on, is whether procuring a mini bottle of bourbon and a cup of ice is more of a challenge than it seems.

MO: When the flight attendants are coming down the aisle pushing the drinks cart, I guess that would be the time to get it.

NE: But do they have bourbon? A lot of airlines have pared down their beverage offerings to just wine and vodka—at least in the back of the plane.

MO: They should still have the little tiny bottles of hard liquor, if that’s what you want.

NE: I’ll admit I’ve never ordered miniature bottles of hard liquor on a flight. Not sure what that says about me?

MO: You gotta cut loose!

NE: Now I’m going to pay attention. Hey, I’m a white wine drinker.

MO: Either way, this is packaged really well. It’s well made, well put together. The branding with the airplane on the little napkin…

NE: And this little detail on the inside of the tin that says, “Wheels up!” It’s just so darling.

MO: It would make a really cute going-away present for somebody. It would be a nice thing to get, too! My concern is that this costs $24 plus your $7 bottle of whisky; that’s going to be the most expensive cocktail you’ve had in some time.

NE: Well, this does make two drinks, and I think you’d have some bitters left over, if you were looking to make a third. In that case the prices at 30,000 feet might hew a little closer to what we’re used to on the ground. And I believe they’re soon-to-launch other varieties, like some gin- and vodka-based drink kits.

MO: I think this is what we would file as a nice-to-have, but definitely not a must-have.

NE: Definitely not a must-have. But it’s a really cute gift.

VERDICT: Nice to have, but not a must.