First Call: Vodka-Cranberry at a Comfortable Cruising Altitude

No drinking space is as contradictory as an airplane.

The Watering Hole: United Flight 6273, with service from Spokane. The Atmosphere: No drinking space has a more contradictory ambience than an airplane. Travelers are excited about arriving at their destination, which may offer a chance to visit rarely seen family members or a night of casual sex at a business conference. But they're also exhausted after surviving long lines at check-in (if they're dim enough to tote more than a carry-on) and the groping hands of a TSA agent. That's why few places are more likely to elicit the phrase "God, I need a drink" than the interior of a plane. The Barkeep: Katie and Donna are the day's flight attendants. With several open seats and no kids on a Thursday hop from Spokane to Seattle, they have a little more time to chat with passengers about favorite in-flight beverages. Katie gets the First Call treatment first. Unfortunately she doesn't drink, so hasn't given the cocktail service much thought. Meanwhile, Donna claims not to drink much either, but confesses to enjoying a gin and tonic—"but I don't have lemons or limes on this plane; it's too small." Damn. She ponders the request a little longer. The Drink: "Maybe a vodka and cranberry," Donna decides. It's holiday-appropriate, she has all necessary components on board, and it has booze in it, essential for any in-flight beverage. The Verdict: Donna returns with a mini-bottle of Finlandia and a can of cranberry juice. I pour the entire bottle and a splash of the sugary juice into a plastic cup filled with ice and take a sip. It isn't what you might call tasty, as most airplane liquor isn't top-shelf. Finlandia has the distinctly Windexy taste of the vodkas that go on sale for $15 a liter at your local liquor store. But it does its very important job: making the seat back ahead of me feel not quite so uncomfortably close and the perfume of the woman behind just a little more tolerable. Combined with the cranberry, it even inspires a little holiday cheer. food@seattleweekly.com

 
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