The name “Airmail” sounds kind of old-timey now, but it’s important to remember that this cocktail was invented around 1941, when sending letters via a giant mechanical bird was still a novel concept. But, unlike air travel and the postal service, this sparkling rum drink is still pretty exciting. It’s great for when you want to assure someone that you have immaculate taste in cocktails and also know something about the year 1941, and you can even adapt the recipe to make a big punch bowl. We’ll tell you how to do that, but first let’s get into a standard Airmail.
How It Tastes: Strong, Fizzy, Luxurious
- .5 ounce lime juice
- .5 ounce honey syrup
- 1.25 ounce rum
- 3 ounces sparkling wine
- Lime wheel for garnish
Step 1: Lime Juice
So many great cocktails start with fresh lime juice. This one is no exception. Put half an ounce straight into your shaker.
Step 2: Honey Syrup
Why honey syrup? Because honey on its own isn’t really going to dissolve in your cocktail. So take equal parts honey and (very) hot water, then stir until your honey is dissolved. It’s that easy. Just be sure to actually measure equal parts honey and hot water (and not just eyeball it), or the ratio is going to be off, and your cocktail won’t taste right. Add .5 ounce honey syrup to your shaker.
Step 3: Rum
For an Airmail, we like any good, amber-colored rum with a little bit of age on it. Unlike a white rum, it’ll bring some spicy/carmely notes to the table - but if you just have dark rum, that works too. Put 1.25 ounces in your shaker.
Step 4: Shake
Next, you’re just going to give everything a good shake. 10 seconds should be perfect. Yes, that’s a little shorter than usual, but we’re going to be topping this drink with sparkling wine, so we don’t actually want this rum mixture to be too waterlogged. The flavor should still come through in the final cocktail.
Step 5: Sparkling Wine
After you shake, pour the contents of your shaker into a highball filled to the rim with ice. You should have room for about 3 more ounces of liquid (give or take an ounce) in your glass - and that’s where the sparkling wine comes in. We prefer Champagne because it’s one of the most delicious things on earth - but any dry sparkling wine like prosecco or cava will be great as well. Now, top everything with your sparkling wine, give your cocktail a brief stir with your bar spoon, and garnish with a lime wheel.
How to make an airmail punch bowl
Punch bowls are perfect for when you’re hosting an event (which will happen again one day), and the thought of making everyone an individual cocktail makes you want to climb up a tree and live there. And, when a cocktail (like an Airmail) calls for sparkling wine, that usually means it’s easy to convert into a punch bowl. Here’s how to do it.
Step One: Math
For this punch bowl, you’re just going to need to multiply your standard rum, lime juice, and honey syrup measurements by a factor of 8. That gives you 10 ounces of rum, 4 ounces of lime juice, and 4 ounces of honey syrup. Pour all that into a punch bowl filled with ice. We aren’t going to bother with shaking, because A) that sounds exhausting, and B) this punch bowl is going to sit out for a while, and nature will take care of the dilution you’d normally get from shaking.
Step Two: Sparkling Wine
Dump a bottle of dry sparkling wine into your punch bowl, then give everything a gentle stir. Once again, Champagne is technically ideal - but Champagne is also pricier than other sparkling wine, and we don’t really see ourselves dumping out a whole bottle of Champagne for some party guests who might just be using you for free finger sandwiches. So just use a dry prosecco. And float a bunch of lime wheels on top for garnish.
Step Three: Ladle
Put a ladle in your punch bowl. And tell everyone to serve themselves. That’s why you made a punch bowl.