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| Travel |

Aviation Perfection: Floating on a Blimp With a Gin Cocktail

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A flying cucumber and gin don't necessarily go together. But consider Hendrick's Gin, which just so happens to be cucumber-infused. It only makes sense, then, that Hendrick's would offer an all-seeing cucumber that cruises at a civilized speed of 35 mph at a 1,000-foot altitude. It provides a totally different perspective of your city from above.

That's pretty much the gist of an activation that launched on the West Coast in April and took flight this past weekend from Palm Beach. Next up: New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Ann Arbor, and the grand finale in Chicago in August.

So if you happen to see the 130-foot-long, 44-foot-tall soaring vegetable with a giant eye in the sky, know that it's not a plane or a bird but the Hendrick's Air flagship.

"Every year we have these brainstorming workshops where everyone from the company gets together for like a week straight," says the company's national brand ambassador, Jim Ryan. "They split us up to work with different people and come up with totally out-of-the-box ideas, and every year the group that I'm on comes back saying we should do a flying cucumber." Long story short, the powers that be finally listened to Ryan and gave the guy what he wanted.

New Times had the chance to ride the Flying Cucumber this past weekend. Upon arrival to Lantana Airport, we were shuttled to the middle of the landing field, where a makeshift lounge of vintage furniture and bar had been set up. Ryan mixed gin cocktails to a soundtrack of 1930s jazz. We sipped the classic Hendrick's tonic with slices of cucumber and chatted with Ryan and the crew, who gave us instructions on boarding the Flying Cucumber. Turns out blimps are rather delicate vehicles, and weight must be evenly distributed. Even the slightest change can cause it to rise unexpectedly. Because of that, one person must disembark before another boards There's also a strict weight/person capacity. If it's a really good day, the stars might just align for a third rider, but rule of thumb is typically no more than two plus the captain.

The ride was low and slow. And with the perfect in-flight Lady Grace Drummond-Hay cocktail — gin, Chardonnay, orange bitters, and simple syrup — that Ryan whipped up just before takeoff, it was smooth flying.

If you happen to find yourself in any of the remaining cities of Hendrick's Air's first cross-country flight, post via social media to win your very own voyage on the Flying Cucumber.

Follow Carla on Twitter and Facebook.

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