‘Thirsty Dudes’ drink up beverages from all over the world

Tired of drinking the same old stuff? Three Thirsty Dudes are on a liquid journey to taste test the world’s refreshments, one beverage at a time. Together, the team of Buffalo natives has reviewed over 1,200 drinks, ranging from mass produced soda pop and iced tea to more obscure drinks that fall into categories such as ‘chunky drinks’ and ‘elixir.’ They’re like foodies, except they steer clear of solids.

“I love when I go into what appears to be a run down corner store and it ends up being a beverage Mecca,” writes beverage buff Jason Draper on a recent review of Jarritos Pineapple, a soft drink from Mexico. Along with friends Mike Literman and Derek Neuland, the team has tackled drinks from six continents.

Some of my favorite reads were of Wonderfarm White Fungus Bird’s Nest Drink, a strange liquid described as “what the water looks like after you spit out a loogie while brushing your teeth,” and Taiwan’s Hey Song Shaking Jelly Soda, a half liquid, half gel concoction. “It’s like someone poured a nice half glass of sparkling white grape juice, then they filled the rest with unflavored Jell-O that wasn’t completely solidified yet,” writes Draper, with Literman (who pried open his can with a pair of pliers to get to the good stuff) adding: “Now I have a cup of just amber colored sludge and I’m loving it.”

Whether they are gagging on vinegar drinks or sipping down a refreshing workout drink, reviews by the Thirsty Dudes are written with humor and honesty. Check their website to see if they’ve reviewed your favorite regional drink – and if not, send the boys a care package and they’ll be more than happy to give it a go. The only think these Thirsty Dudes don’t throw down the hatch is alcohol; this trio of daring, drink devouring fellas is completely straight edge.

[Photo courtesy the Thirsty Dudes]

Photo of the Day – 51 Irish coffees for St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! If you’re celebrating today in America, you’re probably planning to drink green beer or a nice pint of Guinness, but why not warm up with an Irish coffee, spiked with whiskey (Irish, of course)? In today’s Photo of the Day, Flickr user jrodmanjr snapped these 51 coffees in action at San Francisco‘s Buena Vista Cafe, which claims to have brought the drink to the United States from Ireland’s Shannon Airport and holds the Guinness World Record for most Irish coffees served. A fun photo bonus: another Flickr user caught the same coffees (and jrodmanjr) at the Buena Vista.

Take any pics of your favorite beverages while traveling? Upload them to the Gadling Flickr pool and we may use it as a future Photo of the Day.

Galley Gossip: 5 reasons flight attendants don’t serve first class predeparture beverages

You’ve boarded a flight and you’re feeling pretty relaxed sitting in that big comfy first class seat. Sucka, you think to yourself as a couple of passengers check you out on their way to coach. Glancing at your watch, you wonder where the heck the flight attendant is because you’re dying of thirst and shouldn’t she be offering drinks right about now!

Predepartures. That’s what flight attendants call the drinks that are served before takeoff to passengers seated in business and first class. If there’s time flight attendants will walk through the aisle and take individual orders, but time is the keyword here. With so many full flights staffed with minimum crew, there’s usually not enough time to check the emergency equipment, set up the galley, hang all the coats, get passengers situated AND serve predeparture beverages. This is why flight attendants might choose to do a one shot service and offer passengers Champagne (if we have it), orange juice, and water- or nothing at all. Because it’s more important to get flights out on time than it is to serve drinks before takeoff.

What most passengers don’t realize is that it’s against FAA regulations for an agent to shut an aircraft door until all the overhead bins have been closed. If the agent can’t close the aircraft door on time, the flight will be delayed. If the flight is delayed (even by a few minutes) someone will have to take the blame. This means someone will get written up. If an airline employee is written up too many times for causing a delayed departure they might very well lose their job. On time departures are a big deal in the airline industry. So that gin and tonic the passenger in 3A is crying about is not a concern if passenger 23D refuses to sit down and passenger 14E can’t get her suitcase inside an overhead bin and the flight attendant working in the back is calling up front to let someone know there are seven bags on their way up that need to be checked.

Here are a few other reasons flight attendants might not serve you a drink before takeoff….

1. DELAYED BOARDING: Boarding is even more chaotic when a flight is delayed. If passengers are blocking the aisles waiting to get to their seats, flight attendants aren’t going to jump over them in order to serve drinks.

2. NO CATERING: Everyone is seated and the flight attendants don’t look very busy. Why aren’t they serving drinks? If the catering truck hasn’t come to swap out the carts they have nothing to serve.

3. THE GALLEY ISN’T SET UP: The catering carts do not come on board ready to go. Flight attendants have to organize them first. If we don’t do this during boarding, the service during the flight will be delayed. Besides organizing the carts, we also have to break up several bags of ice, count the meals, load the ovens, and make sure we have everything we might need for the service in flight. The one time I didn’t do this we took off without dinner plates and I had to serve first class passengers their entrees on cookie plates.

4. MINIMUM CREW: Nowadays most narrowbody aircraft (one aisle) are staffed with minimum crew. This means if we’re not greeting passengers at the door, we’re busy setting up a galley. In the past we used to have extra flight attendants on board to lend a hand to passengers who might need it during boarding and help serve food and drinks in first class. Not the case anymore.

5. DRY FLIGHTS: Some countries do not allow flight attendants to unlock the liquor carts until after takeoff. There are even a few cities in the U.S. where it’s against the law to serve an adult beverage on Sunday before noon.

Photo courtesy of Kevin H

United Airlines flight attendants create new cocktails – passengers pick the best

Last week, United airlines held an event for their most important passengers, and presented them with ten different cocktails, all designed by flight attendants. In total, United crew members submitted 64 different cocktails, and the top ten entries ended up on a table at Trader Vic’s in Chicago.

The ten finalists:

  1. Sunset-Sunrise : Finlandia Vodka, cranberry apple cocktail, splash of orange juice, lime wedge
  2. Sky High Delight : Finlandia Vodka, orange juice, cranberry apple cocktail, sprite, lime wedge
  3. Friendly Skies Spritzer : Finlandia Vodka, ginger ale, orange juice, cranberry apple cocktail, seltzer, lime wedge
  4. Cloud 9 Cosmo : Finlandia Vodka, Sprite, cranberry apple cocktail, lime wedge
  5. Jack and the Bean Stock : Jack Daniels, Ginger Ale
  6. My Style High : Courvoisier VSOP Cognac, orange juice, cranberry apple cocktail, sprite
  7. Bon Voyage! : Bacardi Rum, orange juice, cranberry apple cocktail
  8. Flirty Smile : Finlandia Vodka, cranberry apple cocktail, ginger ale, lime wedge
  9. Island Dream : Bacardi Rum, cranberry apple cocktail, ginger ale, lime wedge
  10. Gin Buck : Tanqueray Gin, ginger ale, lime wedge

The event was very casual and was attended by several members of the United Airlines management in charge of the in-flight service. As for the drinks, I actually managed to try all ten of them, and found it very hard to pick a favorite. The lime wedge was a very nice touch, and made for delightful drinks.

The winning cocktail will end up on all United Airlines flights with full beverage service towards the end of the year. In addition to drinks, United also served some of the newest food choices from their coast to coast P.S. service.

The winning drink as picked by members of Flyertalk.com and the United Fliers Community is drink number 1 – Sunset Sunrise. If you’d like to make one of these for yourself, here are the instructions:

  • Pour 25 ml Finlandia vodka over ice
  • Fill glass with Minute Maid Cranberry Apple Cocktail
  • Add a splash of Orange Juice
  • Finish with a Lime wedge

Sunset-Sunrise was created by LAX based flight attendant Tita Martin. Events like this show a new thinking within United Airlines, and I have to say that I’m quite impressed by the time and effort put into listening to their customers. Granted, the event was not really open to everyone, but an airline that is open to ideas from its customers is one that deserves a pat on the back, especially if it involves serving free cocktails.

Bring a collapsible cooler for easy dining out – Packing tip

An investment of a few dollars saves countless travel bucks!

A collapsible fabric cooler takes basically no room in your luggage, since it flattens when packed. Easy-to-carry coolers have shoulder straps, and some may even double as backpacks. Many coolers store wine upright; half of the top flips up to accommodate the taller bottle. Expensive snack items and beverages bite into travel funds, but one trip to the hotel ice machine and one stop at the local convenience store add up to extra cash. These coolers can turn an ordinary picnic lunch into a wonderful travel memory.

Bonus: you can use it as a dirty clothes hamper at the end of your trip!