There’s something inherently creative about camping. You need to select where you’ll go camping, what activities you’ll do there, and how to make the most out of it, which lends itself to the process of invention. And, if you’ve ever spent a long day hiking, fishing, or mountain biking, you know that it’s also nice to cap it off with a drink when it’s all said and done.
So, we think camp cocktails are the perfect mixture of relaxation and creativity. You’re taking a mundane (and enjoyable) moment and turning it into an activity that involves the whole group—yes, even children if you want to go with the mocktail route.
So, as we move towards the second half of summer, we thought it’d be the prime opportunity to offer a primer on how to make camp cocktails. Sure, it takes a little extra effort, but there’s nothing quite like sipping on a cold drink outside your tent, listening to the sounds of nature.
Cheers to that.
How to Make Camp Cocktails
In a bit, we’ll run through some basic recipes for camp cocktails, but even more importantly than what is how you’re going to go about making them. Here are a few tips.
Packing for Camp Cocktails
As you’re planning your food list for your camping or backpacking trip, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re going to need to take extra care when packing. Things are going to get jumbled around and exposed to the elements, so we’d recommend keeping your dry ingredients in our airtight, insulated, and waterproof Food Jars and keeping wet ingredients in our airtight, insulated, and waterproof Water Bottles. You may be tempted to bring liquor in its original bottle, but you’ll regret that decision when someone drops the backpack and you hear that unmistakable shattering noise. Party’s over at that point.
And, when it comes to actually drinking your camp cocktails, go with something that’s insulated, durable, and reusable like our Classic Tumblers. This will keep your drinks cold, reduce trash, and will stand up to the rigors of the outdoors.
Keeping Ingredients Fresh
Another form of protecting your ingredients is keeping them fresh. Liquor should be fine in most cases, but many cocktail recipes also involve fruit and herbs, which you’ll want to keep cool and undamaged, not to mention ice. Once again, our Food Jars are a great option for storing ingredients like mint or limes, and you can store ice in just about any of our products, from Water Bottles to Tumblers. Use them alongside your main cooler to keep food-safe ice separated from the rest of your ice. Lastly, if you’re unable to keep ice for the duration of your trip and are near cold water (like mountain streams), you can also soak your Iron Flask to keep your ingredients fresh.
Keeping it Simple
While we love a little creativity on our camping trips, this is not the time to go full-on gastropub. Leave the smoke and mirrors at home and try to keep recipes simple and easily accessible for everyone on your trip. As we said, this could be a great group activity and you don’t want to have to worry about packing special tools and ingredients that no one knows how to use.
And, when you’re thinking about ingredients, think about camp-friendly ingredients. For example, recipes that involve water or dry mixes are preferable to canned tonic and soda. Or, you can even think about using dried fruits and rehydrating them for happy hour, or even something like powdered lime if you’re concerned about weight on a backcountry trip.
Go Wild, Literally
The best use of your creativity happens once you’re actually out in nature. While we have a few recipes listed below, this is the perfect opportunity to invent your own cocktail, and why not use nature as your grocery store? You’ll want to do plenty of research about what foods you can and can’t eat, but once you do, you’ll learn that edible ingredients are everywhere. For example, berries like strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries are common in alpine environments, as well as mint, another great cocktail ingredient.
Once again, be safe and do your research, but camp cocktails are at their best when they’re a little wild. You can get a store-bought cocktail anywhere, so we’d suggest trying something a little different.
Best Camp Cocktails
As we said, there are limitless possibilities for creativity when it comes to camp cocktails, but there are also some tried and true recipes.
Margaritas are great because they’re easy to make in advance. For longer trips where keeping ingredients fresh may be difficult, try making the mixture in advance and then serving them over ice. Even if you don’t have a blender, you can crush up ice to imitate a frozen margarita or, if you’re in an alpine environment, you could even use fresh snow! This recipe is incredibly simple, but you could also spice it up with some habanero or jalapeño tincture along with some simple syrup for an added kick.
- 1 1/2 ounces tequila
- 1 ounce orange liqueur (Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec)
- 3/4 ounce freshly-squeezed lime juice
- fresh lime wedges and coarse salt for rimming your tumbler
- Mix your tequila, liqueur, and lime juice together.
- That literally is it! Store in your favorite Iron Flask container.
Note: This is for a single serving, so simply multiply this recipe for groups and store it in our One Gallon Water Bottle.
A lemon drop is the perfect cocktail for improvisation. It’s super simple, so packing should be easy, and you can mix and match this one with any fresh ingredients you find on the trail! Just about any edible berries would be great in this recipe.
- Fresh berries of your choice
- 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- 2 ounces vodka
- In your tumbler, muddle your berries.
- Add your lemon juice, simple syrup, and vodka.
- Add ice, cover your tumbler, and shake vigorously for a minute or so.
- Using a strainer or simply cracking the lid, pour your mixture into a clean glass.
Obviously, it can get a little chilly when you’re camping, so a hot toddy is the perfect way to warm up before hitting the sleeping bag. And, as one of the few water-based cocktails, this one is really easy to do right if you have a campfire or camp stove handy.
- 3/4 cup hot water
- 1 1/2 ounces whiskey
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 wedge of fresh lemon
- Cinnamon stick (optional)
- Heat up your water over a fire or stove until hot.
- Add your whiskey and honey, stir until dissolved.
- Garnish with lemon and cinnamon.
- Enjoy the warm and fuzzies.