Camping is all about winding down and relaxing, so bring on the cocktails! The great thing about car camping is that you can bring all your favorite beverages with you for some fun times around the campfire. Beer and boxed wine are great to have on hand, but a few cocktails for variety will really make things a party. Making cocktails in the great outdoors does require a little advanced planning, but it’s certainly doable. Here are our top nine favorite cocktails for camping.
The Greyhound is a super easy and classic cocktail that’s perfect for when you get back to camp after a hot afternoon hike. Start with some refreshing grapefruit juice, add a shot of vodka, and top it off with a splash of seltzer for some fizz. A slice of fresh lime makes the perfect garnish for this drink.
Let’s face it, there’s bound to be a cloudy, stormy afternoon or evening at some point during your trip. The Dark and Stormy is perfect for any time there’s a slight chill in the air. It’s another classic that’s easy to mix up at the campsite. Start by combining a ginger beer with a shot of dark rum. Add a twist of lime, and you’ll have the perfect sweet and spicy cocktail to ride out that summer storm.
If you like a little whiskey with your campfire, why not warm up those chilly nights with a Hot Toddy? They’re really easy to make and absolutely delicious. Boil some water over the campfire and pour it in your camp cup. Add a healthy shot of whiskey or bourbon and stir in some honey (or sugar) to taste. A dash of lemonade is perfect in this drink, but if you don’t have any, a squeeze of lemon juice works, too.
Mulled wine is another great drink to sip by the campfire in the evening, especially if you have a group. Combine an entire bottle of red wine with a bit of brandy, slices of orange, some cinnamon sticks, and cloves. Stir in some sugar to taste and simmer it over the fire for at least 15 minutes. Strain and enjoy.
If you love a good margarita, stirring up a Paloma at the campsite is a great way to get your fix without all the complicated mixing and blending. Start with a can of fizzy grapefruit soda and add a shot of your favorite tequila for that classic margarita flavor. Top it off with a squeeze of lime, kick back, and enjoy!
Hot afternoons by the lake call for delicious, cold, summertime classics like the John Daly. Combine sweet tea and tart lemonade, then stir in a shot of vodka. Garnish with a slice of lemon for the perfect summertime drink.
You brought along some maple syrup for your morning pancakes, right? All you need to make a Maple Leaf is a shot or two of bourbon and a pour of lemonade. Top it off with a drizzle of maple syrup and give it a stir.
Mexican hot chocolate is a creamy, spicy, hot cocktail that’ perfect for a cozy evening by the fire. Mix up some hot chocolate add tequila to your taste and throw in a pinch of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper. Let it simmer for a few minutes to mingle the flavors. Pour and sip for instant warm, fuzzy feelings in a cup.
Bloody Mary’s are delicious any time of day. Don’t worry about bringing a separate mixer with you, just use vegetable juice from the cooler and add a healthy shot of vodka. Spice it up with a dash of hot sauce and add some olives for garnish. A celery stick will make the perfect stirring stick.
If you’re car camping you could bring a full bar if you wanted to, but you’re much better off keeping things simple. Choose a few bottles of your favorite alcohol that are versatile and can be combined to make different cocktails or be sipped straight, such as bourbon, whiskey, and vodka. For even more versatility, bring mixers that can be enjoyed by themselves, too, like iced-tea, cider, vegetable juice, lemonade, fruit juice, and soda.
Stick to drinks that can be stirred or bring along a Nalgene bottle for shaking and you can enjoy your drink right out of the bottle. Skip drinks like daiquiris that need to be served ice cold and go for something like a Manhattan. You can chill drinks in your cooler but remember that you probably won’t have a lot of extra ice on hand.
Sometimes a slice of lemon or orange can really liven up a drink, and they don’t require refrigeration. Garnishes like olives, pickled peppers, or cheese cubes can be packed in zip-top bags in your cooler and won’t take up much space. Hot drinks like coffee, cocoa, and cider can all be kicked up with a splash of booze and left to simmer over the campfire.
If you are backpacking into your campsite, you don’t have to go without cocktails. But, you are going to want to lighten the load as much as possible. Go for miniature bottles of alcohol and bring powdered drink concentrates to use as mixers. Don’t forget to pack in a Nalgene bottle that can be used for mixing and drinking your cocktails.