The Story Behind The Air Mail

Whether you call it a supercharged Daiquiri or a tropical twist on a French 75, the Air Mail is a blend of gold rum (preferably Cuban), lime juice, and honey syrup topped off with Champagne or sparkling wine.

The cocktail first appeared in a Bacardí promotional pamphlet back in 1930. The booklet offered no explanation for the drink’s name, but it seems like more than a mere coincidence that Cuba’s air-mail services also launched that year. Bacardí’s recipe even calls for a postage stamp as the drink’s garnish, which is to be stuck on the outer rim of the glass.

Unsurprisingly, the “airmail” theme sparked an onslaught of puns and grabs at low-hanging fruit regarding the cocktail’s ability to make drinkers take flight — i.e., its desired effects set in quickly. Author W.C. Whitfield wrote that the Air Mail “ought to make you fly high” in his plywood-bound 1941 book “Here’s How.” Whitfield’s recipe also recommends serving the cocktail in a highball glass, as “misguided folk who serve it straight-up in a coupe or flute are taking a flight of fancy.”

To that, we ask: “What’s wrong with being a little fancy?” and suggest serving it in a flute as a nod to its French 75 ancestry. As for the choice of gold rum, reach for Bacardí as per the original recipe. For those who have never had an Air Mail, it’s time to get acquainted. The drink holds a spot on the list of the world’s 50 most popular cocktails. Now, read more about the other 49.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ ounces gold rum
  • ¾ ounce fresh lime juice
  • ¾ ounce honey syrup (2:1)
  • 2 ounces Champagne or sparkling wine to top
  • Garnish: lime wedge

Directions

  1. Add rum, lime juice, and honey syrup to a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Shake until chilled.
  3. Strain into a chilled Champagne flute.
  4. Top with Champagne or sparkling wine.
  5. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Rate This Recipe:

(57 votes)

Yield: 1
Calories: 217
Updated: 2024-04-23

The Air Mail