A Genius Cocktail Tip for Parents on Vacation

updated May 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Erin Wengrovius)

When you’re traveling with kids, you’re at the whim of little-people schedules. Days revolve around meal times and activities that allow the kids to run around and burn off energy. By the time your mini-mes (finally!) nod off, you’re probably ready for some grown-up time — and by grown-up time, I mean nice, cold cocktail time. The day is done, it’s time to relax, and that drink is your oh-so-deserved reward.

But, here’s the dilemma: How can you enjoy a proper cocktail while still keeping an eye (and ear) on the little ones?

While you can definitely raid the minibar, I usually prefer a mixed drink like a Negroni or a gin and tonic. Minibars may have the base spirits, but they rarely have the mixers like Campari, tonic water, or fresh citrus, that turn alcohol into a delicious cocktail.

A few years ago, my husband and I figured out how to solve this dilemma and have happily employed this trick on every subsequent vacation. Here’s what we do.

Go to the hotel bar before the kids go to bed and order the cocktail you want without ice. Bring it back upstairs, stash it in the fridge, and make sure your ice bucket is full. After the kids are in bed, change into your PJs, add ice to your drink, and sip away like a boss.

Doing this always reminds me that grown-ups get to enjoy vacation too. Having an after-dinner drink, especially without paying for a babysitter, is one of my favorite travel activities, and this is the best way to do it.

Not a cocktail person? Do the same thing with wine, as I guarantee the wine-by-the-glass selection at the hotel bar is loads better than what’s stocked in your room.

Do you have a favorite drink while traveling? Any other tips for feeling like you’re pampered even while traveling with kids?