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6 easy camping cocktails to shake your post-hike thirst

Bring all these ingredients to quench your thirst in the wild

Whiskey on a rock outside near a fire
Thomas Park / Unsplash

So you’re camped out in your best tent for too long? Or wearily panting atop the summit of a fourteener? Perfect! Time for some easy cocktails to make everything better. Yes, that’s right, when you’ve got the 4-1-1 behind these easy-to-make, tasty adult libations, you can enjoy a fine drink on a mountain, at the campsite, or when you’re home and don’t feel like cutting lemon twists or adding sugar to the rim of your cocktail glass.

The secret to making great camp cocktails is the same trick to achieving military victory: Keep it simple. There’s no camp-friendly version of the Long Island iced tea, but that doesn’t mean you have to stick with cheap whiskey when roughing it.

Fill your camping flask with enough liquor for two stiff drinks, so you and a partner can share in that post-trek toast. I recommend a classic six-ounce flask for these camping cocktail recipes, which you’ll notice are not that concerned with the specifics of the ratios.

Also, make sure you are properly hydrated before you start boozing out there in the wilderness. If you’re like most hikers and climbers, you are probably not properly hydrated most of the time. And keep things in the fairway, because your twisted ankle or broken wrist doesn’t give a care in the world that you were drunk when you fell over — it’s still going to give you grief.

And one more thing: Bring a lemon or two. That’s the only sort of heavy addition to your pack that these camp cocktails require. (And if you don’t count bringing along fruit as adding weight to your gear, you, sir, don’t do much backpacking or mountaineering.) Also, bring about a half cup of sugar. Powdered sugar dissolves right quick and is a fine hack, FYI.

The mountain daiquiri

The Mountain Daiquiri
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A classic daiquiri consists of three ingredients: Rum, simple syrup, and lime juice. You, on the other hand, have sugar and lemons in your pack and rum in your flask. Good enough for the mountains, man.

Method

  1. Prepare about 1 1/2 ounces of simple syrup (a shot’s worth), which is simply equal parts water and sugar stirred (and boiled if needed) until fully dissolved.
  2. Squeeze the juice from one half of a lemon into a cup (and the other half into your hiking buddy’s cup, you selfish heel).
  3. Mix about half of the simple syrup into the lemon juice, empty about half the rum from your flask into the blend and, if possible, stick in a few spoonfuls of snow.

The Outdoorsmen hot toddy

Outdoorsman's Hot Toddy
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Here’s a man’s drink that will bring the warmth back to your chest and might just leave a little more hair there, too. It’s hard to beat a hot, stiff drink after a long day in the wilderness. Good thing it’s quite easy to make a fine toddy even when you’re far afield. Have whiskey in the flask for this one.

Method

  1. Bring 2 ounces of water to a full, rolling boil.
  2. Toss in about a teaspoon of sugar (sure, you can use honey if you have it or you’re so skilled an apiarist that you can collect it in the wild).
  3. Remove the water from the heat and mix in two ounces of bourbon.
  4. Drop in a thick slice of lemon and sip to your health. (If you brought some cinnamon, yes, sprinkle it over the top.)

Camp Cape Codder

Cape Codder cocktail
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Now here, dear friends, we have one of the easiest-to-make camp cocktails that will be, for all intents and purposes, nearly identical when prepared on a mountain or back down on land, as I like to say. Pack it along with your best top-shelf vodka.

Method

  1. Make sure you have a packet of dried cranberry juice powder. Great, now use it to make cranberry juice. You’ll need about 4ounces.
  2. Mix those 4 ounces of juice with about three ounces of vodka.
  3. Squeeze in a dash of fresh citrus juice and, if possible, add some snow.

Irish cocoa

Irish cocoa
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Hey, you didn’t forget to bring along powder to make hot chocolate, did you? Great, because nothing makes hot chocolate better than adding rum, bourbon, or brandy! Now, if you want to make a truly tasty, memorable mountain drink, just add one unique twist: A toasted marshmallow!

Method

  1. Make a cup of hot chocolate, keeping it sweet and thick by using less water than normal.
  2. Roast a marshmallow until it gets quite a fine char on it. Don’t be afraid to let that sucker catch fire. Now float the marshmallow on the cocoa.
  3. Pour in a decent dram of liquor and mix it all by bobbing the marshmallow up and down.

Campfire cider

Blue enamel cup of hot steaming coffee sitting on an old log by an outdoor campfire. Extreme shallow depth of field with selective focus on mug.
Stephanie Frey / Adobe Stock

Make sure when you bring the hot cocoa packets, you also bring the hot apple cider packets.

Method

  1. Make a mug of hot apple cider over your campfire by heating the water and then mixing a cider packet in the hot water.
  2. Add a splash (or two or three) of your favorite camping whiskey, bourbon, or rum to your mug.
  3. If you happen to have some cinnamon sticks, throw one in for the extra kick of spice.

Straight whiskey

The straight whiskey
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This one requires whiskey in the flask. Scotch, bourbon, rye whiskey — your choice.

Method

  1. Pour the whiskey (or whisky, if it’s Scotch) into a cup and drink it.
  2. Or sip it straight from the flask.

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Steven John
Steven John is a writer and journalist living just outside New York City, by way of 12 years in Los Angeles, by way of…
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