From hot to cold, boozy to alcohol-free, here are some thirst quenchers to order when flying through Changi Airport
In 2017, Changi Airport registered a record 62.2 million passenger movements. It’s an impressive figure that also translates as an awful lot of in-flight drinks. The growing range of crafted beverages and special drinks on offer has never been more impressive – or enticing. Renowned mixologists, legendary bars and artisanal ingredients have all come together to produce drinks that make pre-batch Bloody Marys from a packet a dim and distant memory. Here are some of the best signature airline drinks and creations on board flights when flying to and from Changi Airport. And if there’s not enough, you can always head to one of the city’s bars for a pre- or post-flight drink.
Singapore Airlines’ Singapore Sling
Whether you’re a fan or not, there’s no denying that the Singapore Sling is the country’s most well-known tipple. It’s a must-drink for countless visitors heading to the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel since its invention in 1915.
With the Long Bar closed for restoration until late 2018, some fans have had to head to the pop-up Long Bar at 3 Seah Street. But one of many other options includes sipping one in-flight aboard Singapore Airlines. Surprisingly – and in contrast with many carriers – the cocktail is available on all routes and on all classes of travel.
Singapore Airlines’ version pays homage to the original with a mix of dry gin, Benedictine, orange liqueur and cherry brandy. This is shaken with lime and pineapple juice, a dash of Angostura bitters and Grenadine.
Given the limited cabin space and hundreds of potential customers, the drink is obviously pre-mixed before being served.
British Airways’ Gin
Launched in November 2016, the specially-made British Airways Gin is only available to the airline’s First customers.
The award-winning Cambridge Distillery is behind the blend. Concocting this signature airline drink followed extensive taste tests at British Airways’ Concorde Room bar at Heathrow Airport. The person responsible for crafting it was, apparently, ‘The world’s first gin tailor’.
It fuses botanicals including basil, rosemary and thyme, each individually distilled before being blended. Each label then gets a wax seal and the British Airways Speedmarque – the swoosh seen on its logo.
If you’re flying at the most exclusive end of the plane, order a classic Gin & Tonic. It’s one of the most popular alcoholic drinks served on British Airways, with a cool three million sipped annually. But only a very lucky few get to enjoy the airline’s own brand gin. Given its exclusivity, there are serious bragging rights when it comes to sipping one. So be sure to post it on social media to the envy of your friends.
Emirates’ Hennessy Paradis Imperial
The Dubai-based carrier has long been known for its in-flight catering prowess. It recently refreshed its offering of spirits across all classes, adding a range of premium brands to its trolleys and famed bar.
The one tipple turning the most heads, isn’t a signature cocktail. Instead, what the airline serves is the ultra-exclusive Hennessy Paradis Imperial, only available in First Class on certain routes. Made from a blend of 19th and 20th century eaux-de-vie, it costs US$3,000 (S$3,900) a bottle. Once again, more bragging rights to be had.
Qatar Airways’ So Jennie
Doha-based giant Qatar Airways has won numerous plaudits for its onboard food and beverages, especially in the pointy end. There’s an impressive selection of award-winning wines and Champagnes. It claimed a first, however, in serving the world’s first luxurious non-alcoholic sparking drink in its First and Business Class cabins.
The intriguingly-named So Jennie is a rose-coloured sparkling drink made from grapes – but without any sugars added. It’s inspired by the classic Champagne production process, or Methode Champenoise. It’s even served in Champagne flutes. There’s a natural sharpness to it, in a good way.
Air New Zealand’s Hummingbird Blend
New Zealand’s national carrier is known for its innovative approach. Just look at its countless game-changing safety videos that also serve as brilliant viral marketing.
It’s also hardly surprising that Air New Zealand offers a great selection of wines onboard, given its commitment to showcasing the country’s wines and role as the nation’s single largest server. But aside from fruit of the vines, it’s also proud of its coffee programme. As any visitor to New Zealand will have realised, coffee is taken extremely seriously and the same goes at 40,000 feet.
Kiwi coffee roaster Hummingbird provides the organic, fairtrade blends served across Business Premier and Premium Economy cabins. All cups promise to improve the lives of the coffee growers, while minimising the impact on the environment.
The airline even allows customers to choose their coffee preferences on its mobile app, which remembers their orders and then serves that order when they enter the lounge. With almost three million orders placed to date, it seems like an idea that’s set to grow.
Etihad Airways’ Mint Lemonade
Coffee is also a draw onboard Abu-Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, notably in its renowned ultra-luxurious product, The Residence. That’s where fliers get 100 per cent Single Origin Arabic coffee, paired with rose water and saffron and served from a traditional dallah pot, along with dates.
There’s also the Cognac service, where those in First Class will receive a welcome XO Cognac served in glasses by Normann Copenhagen.
For those not needing a caffeine jolt or some alcohol to soothe nerves, another option is Mint Lemonade, a drink that again showcases the brand’s Arabian heritage. The non-alcoholic signature is only available on flights from Abu Dhabi, pairing freshly-squeezed lemon and mint juice with a touch of honey. Perfectly refreshing either at the beginning or end of the day.