History In Your Glass



I received a lot of emails about my previous blog installment on the Pan American Clipper and the golden age of air travel. Many of you would have liked a taste of that bygone age — so I’m going to give you one. A little bit of history, right here in your glass…

A lot of drinking goes on in the air these days, but it’s become nothing more than a way to knock yourself out on long haul fights. Plastic cups stuffed full of ice, little bottles of major brand liquor, and a can of soda, or god forbid some horrible pre-made mix. This dose of oblivion is sloshed together by a bored steward with a plastic food service cart. And more often than not, they have no idea how to mix a proper drink.

It wasn’t always like this.

There once was a time when cocktails were a ritual. A toast to end the day. A way to unwind and shift into “home” gear after the hard slog of the office. An ice cold icebreaker for every possible social occasion.

In the early days of aviation, that ritual inevitably took to the skies. And when the height of luxury was represented by Pan Am’s fleet of flying boats, this ritual took place with clockwork regularity in a dedicated cocktail lounge.

Clipper flights between Miami and Havana even featured their very own signature drink, mixed with ceremony and respect in a silver shaker.

Here’s how you can shake up your own taste of history. For my first Road Wisdom video blog, I present a tutorial on the Clipper Cocktail:



Here are the measurements again, for your convenience:

Clipper Cocktail

1 1/2 oz golden rum

1/2 oz dry vermouth

1 tsp grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

I invite you to raise a toast with me: To the golden age of air travel!

And please remember to drink it cold…



About the author

Ryan Murdock

Author of A Sunny Place for Shady People and Vagabond Dreams: Road Wisdom from Central America. Host of Personal Landscapes podcast. Editor-at-Large (Europe) for Canada's Outpost magazine. Writer at The Shift. Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.


  • Sounds delicious. I feel conflicted that the cocktail tutorial is so compelling. Must be still recovering.
    Keep them coming.

  • Nice cocktail but I also saw a version that was Cachaca, Tequila, Lime and bar syrup. I wish I knew where I saw it. Would also like to know the version that you mentioned w/ the CHINA Clipper flights on the West Coast!
    Thanks for the cocktail!
    Paul/ Las Vegas


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