So you snuck your favorite spirits onto your cruise, you crafty thing. But you're not one for throwing back shots. No, you want to do it up right with civilized cocktails. So what's a cruiser/aspiring bartender to do? Plenty! You have resources at the ready — if you're willing to carry out an under-the-radar mission at the buffet or enlist unwitting room service assistance:
1. Bring the right tools.
Mason jars are inconspicuous enough that you can get them by security easily. - Photo by Jeff Wasserman
We know, your suitcase is already over the weight limit. Lose the stack of books (you can borrow a novel onboard) and pack an onboard cocktail kit. This could raise some eyebrows in a random luggage search, so be savvy. You'll want something to measure mixers with: A mason jar comes with measuring lines and can also serve as a drinking vessel. Since it’s better to measure high-proof spirits than to eyeball them, drop a 1.5-ounce jigger in your toiletries bag. A hard straw will work as a stirrer, and one of those plastic to-go cups with a lid can pull double duty as your mixer and shaker. Bring cocktail toothpicks if you plan to garnish your creations.
2. Take advantage of room service.
Screwdrivers or Irish coffees are easy to make with a standard room service breakfast. - Photo by GoodMood Photo
If you're especially daring, get room service to deliver your ingredients. You can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning, so order a carafe of coffee with sugar on the side and a pitcher of cream. Mix yourself an Irish coffee by combining a jigger of whiskey with 4 ounces of coffee and a splash of cream. Plan ahead by adding orange juice, tomato juice, and cranberry juice to your order; then stash these mixers in your fridge.
3. Be creative.
Ingredients can be limited, so you might have to improvise. - Photo by Rob D
Like sour mix in your drinks? Stock up on lemon and lime wedges and sugar packets. Then get some hot water (for tea; wink, wink) with your room-service breakfast. In your handy mason jar, combine one part sugar and one part hot water until the sugar dissolves. Then squeeze in one part lemon juice and one-half part lime juice. Voila! You're ready to make, say, a whiskey sour. Just mix two parts whiskey with one part sour and pour over ice.
4. Raid the buffet.
Juice bars are your friend. - Photo by Kryvenok Anastasiia
Head to the salad bar for a smorgasbord of bloody mary fixings. Combine a half cup of tomato juice with a jigger of vodka and a splash of hot sauce, and then go wild with the garnishes. Think celery, olives, cocktail shrimp, pickles, or whatever else catches your fancy. Mix your liquids, pour over ice, and then load up a cocktail toothpick with your salad bar scores. Not a savory cocktail fan? Many buffets also have free fountains of lemonade — an ideal mixer — and some, like Disney, offer sodas as well.
5. Learn the classics.
Apps can help make the most of your limited ingredients. - Photo by Mixology
You could study up on cocktail preparations before the trip so you'll be ready to innovate on the fly. But since this is your vacation and not a college class, we suggest loading a free app, like Mixology, on your phone before you go. Enter your main ingredient (orange juice, for example) and select your concoction from the handy list it returns (sunkiss anyone?). Cheers!