So you’re bivouacked at 12,000 feet with gale-force winds coming in? Or camped out with a rain storm lashing your tent? Or wearily panting atop the summit of a fourteener? Great! Time for some camp cocktails!
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 but don’t feel like cutting lemon twists and/or sugaring the rim of your daiquiri glass.
The secret to making great camp cocktails is the same trick to achieving military victory: keep it simple. There is no Camp Long Island Iced Tea, e.g. But that also doesn’t mean you have to stick with straight whiskey when roughing it. (Not that sticking with whiskey is settling, or anything. And not that I don’t think sticking with whiskey is often a great idea, or anything.)
Make sure to fill your flask with enough liquor for two stiff drinks so you and a partner can share in that weary but proud 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.
Quick note: make sure you are properly hydrated before you start boozing out there in the wilderness. If you’re like most hikers/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 good goddamn that you were drunk when you fell over, it’s still going to give you grief.
OK, first things first: you should bring a lemon. Just one or maybe two juicy lemons, that’s the only sort of heavy addition to your pack. (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
A classic daiquiri consists of three ingredients: rum, simple syrup, and lime juice. You, on the other hand, have sugar, lemons, and the rum in your flask. Good enough for the mountains, man.
- Prepare about an ounce and a half of simple syrup (a shot’s worth, e.g.), which is simply equal parts water and sugar stirred (and boiled if needed) until fully dissolved.
- 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)
- 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.
No snow? Start drinking anyway. Your mountain daiquiri is done.
THE OUTDOORSMAN’S HOT TODDY
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, cold 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.
- Bring two ounces of water to a full, rolling boil.
- Toss in about a teaspoon of sugar (sure, use honey if you have it or you’re so skilled an apiarist you can collect it in the wild)
- Remove the water from the heat and mix in two ounces of bourbon.
- 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
Now here, dear friends, we have on 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 along the vodka.
- Make sure you have a packet of dried cranberry juice powder. Great. Now use it to make cranberry juice. You’ll need about four ounces.
- Mix those four ounces of juice with about three ounces of vodka.
- Squeeze in a dash of fresh citrus juice and, if possible, add some snow.
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!
- Make a cup of hot chocolate, keeping it sweet and thick by using less water than normal.
- Roast a marshmallow until it gets quite a fine char on it. Don’t be afraid to let that sumbitch catch on fire. Now float the marshmallow atop the cocoa.
- Pour in a decent dram of liquor, and mix it all but bobbing the marshmallow up and down.
Tasty and restorative, no?
The Straight Whiskey
This one requires whiskey in the flask. Scotch, bourbon, rye — your choice.
- Pour the whiskey (or whisky, if it’s Scotch) into a cup and drink it.
- Or sip it straight from the flask.