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BYO Drinks: Sip & Sail

Are you organising a BYO charter? Here is your essential shopping list plus easy and delicious cocktail recipes for amateur mixologists to rustle up whilst sailing in to the sunset… No shaking or stirring required.


A wide range of boats in Sydney now offer a BYO drinks option, a great way to save money and make sure you have your favourite tipple in stock whilst you cruise round the harbour on your private yacht living the dream. Here are a few key things to remember to bring on your BYO charter, plus some simple recipes to put together fuss free cocktails on board.

  • ALCOHOL: Most types are allowed! Always double check as to whether spirits and glass bottles are ok on your particular boat. Cans are usually preferred to bottles where possible. Quantities will vary from one group to another of course, but the “average person” is likely to drink 2 glasses during the first hour and 1 drink per hour past that. This might sound a small amount for you and your guests… but… that’s the average!
  • WATER: Drinking water is usually available on boats, but we would recommend to bring your own bottled water too for ease of drinking. Remember that we tend to feel the effect of the alcohol more on a boat because of the sea motion & the sun, so get some water, it might be a life saver for those who get intoxicated quickly.
  • CUPS: Check if these are provided by the boat before your cruise; quite a few boat include glasses as part of their BYO fees, but not all of them. If you need to bring your own, party shops, Kmart etc have an array of handsome paper cups that will look great in your photographs afterwards.
  • ICE: Check if the boat provides ice for you, or if you need to bring some with you. Usually you will need to do it yourself and we would recommend at least 1 standard size bag of ice per 10 guests, sometimes more if you’re luck with a hot day ahead. Make sure to purchase your drinks pre-chilled, prior to your cruise, so they are ready to serve as soon as you get onboard.
  • FOOD: Yes, food, is a requirement to comply with RSA laws in NSW, so if you don’t get any catering directly from the boat, it is paramount that you bring substantial food to match the amount of alcohol you are bringing for your guests. Failure to do so might lead to an early termination of your cruise, and no refund will be provided. More details on this in our next blog, but most skippers will cook a BBQ for you if you like, so even if on a budget, get a couple of affordable food items to throw on the barbie this way you are totally safe and ready for a great cruise!


With Sydney’s unpredictable weather, not every charter is ‘champagne sailing’ but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be champagne cocktails! Here are some simple but fiendishly more-ish cocktail recipes with minimal ingredients, super easy to make on board, no shaking or stirring required…

  • APEROL SPRITZ: 1 part Aperol, 1 part prosecco, and a dash of soda. Serve on the rocks, add a slice of orange to keep things fruity. Bittersweet and refreshing, this is an Italian favourite.
  • SPICY STORM: 1 part Captain Morgan or Sailor Jerry rum, 2 parts ginger beer or ginger ale, fresh lime squeezed on top. Rocks optional. Not just nautical, ginger is even medicinal for the Seasick Steve of your group.
  • MIMOSA: 1 part Sparkling wine / Champagne, 1 part orange or mango juice. Pour in to a flute, et voila! This classic ‘brunch cocktail’ is perfect for early start cruises.
  • THE GODFATHER: 1 part whiskey, 1 part Amaretto, splash over the rocks. Strong enough to warm up even the toughest sailors on rough seas.
  • ESPRESSO MARTINI: 1 part espresso, 1 part vodka, 1 part Kahlua or milk (optional). A little pick me up is always welcome after lunchtime drinking or sun baking on the deck. Prepare a pre-chilled bottle of espresso coffee to bring on board for this one.