Air Mail: The Elegant Champagne Drink That You Need To Know

Air Mail cocktail with mint
Air Mail cocktail with mint - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

If you're someone who delights in a cocktail with a story, then gather 'round — this one's for you. Long before the days when our thumbs were sore from pressing "buy now" on Amazon Prime's two-day delivery service, there was a time when the delivery of a letter within only a couple of days was a revolutionary concept. Dubbed "air mail," this technology was first seen in 1911, and Cuba followed suit in 1930, creating its own air mail service on the island. Shortly afterward, Cuba's famous Bacardi rum released a postage-sealed advertisement pamphlet depicting a commemorative Air Mail cocktail, a humble mixture of Bacardi, lime juice, honey syrup, and champagne.

As to whether Bacardi created the recipe for the drink themselves or caught wind of it at Havana nightclubs and bars remains a mystery. What we do know, however, is that during the prohibition epoch of the United States, Americans were only allowed to obtain and consume alcohol in foreign countries. With flights readily available from Key West to Havana, Cuba became a prominent cradle in the culture of bars and cocktails. More than likely, this is how the United States picked up the Air Mail cocktail, which reached its apex of popularity in the 1940s.

In 1941, the champagne drink was featured in W.C. Whitfield's "Here's How," a wood-bound mixology book detailing numerous old-school style cocktails and highballs. Of the Air Mail cocktail, Whitfield simply wrote, "It ought to make you fly high."

Read more: The 40 Absolute Best Cocktails That Feature Only 2 Ingredients

You've Got Mail: The Decline Of The Air Mail

Traditional Air Mail Cuban cocktail with lime and mint
Traditional Air Mail Cuban cocktail with lime and mint - Candice Bell/Shutterstock

In the decades following the 1940s, the Air Mail cocktail began to slow down in popularity — as did its namesake, which was discontinued by the U.S. Postal Service in 1977. This is likely why you won't see the beverage listed on the menu at your local pub or bar, but with ingredients as simple and attainable as this drink has, creating it yourself is a breeze.

In order to keep the "spirit" of this drink alive, reach for a Cuban-style rum. Different recipes call for varieties of rum brands and styles, but sticking to classic Cuban flavors keeps things authentic. Traditionally, this cocktail is recommended to be served in a highball glass over ice and is often garnished with lime and/or fresh mint. Alternatively, instead of champagne, a dry sparkling wine can be used. As far as the honey goes, creating honey syrup is as easy as heating one part honey and one part water over the stove until the honey is dissolved.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.