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
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.