Let’s start this whole story by just saying, I’m a beer guy. But, sometimes when I’m in the woods, especially traveling by foot or bicycle, cocktails are definitely the way to go. Lugging cans in and out of the woods is taxing and often times messy. When you bring a little hooch along, it’s a much different story.
Secondly, I like drinking whiskey neat, it’s about the only hard alcohol that I can tolerate/enjoy without anything else. So naturally my go-to is whiskey but I can get down with a little gin from time to time as well.
Third, while car camping is a lot of fun, there’s a lot of things you have to haul with you. If you’re limited on space and/or on budget, you may want to opt for simple car camping cocktails. Don’t let the name fool you. Simple cocktails don’t to be a bore. You can make easy and affordable cocktails that are delicious to down, without taking up too much room in the cooler or breaking the bank.
If you need a little adult beverage after a long day of mountain biking or trekking through the forest, here are 4 of my favorite “cocktails” to drink while camping.
CHEAP CAR CAMPING COCKTAIL RECIPES
The Good Ole Kentucky Mule. (Fancy Name For Whiskey Ginger IMO)
- Ginger Beer
- Whiskey (or bourbon)
In a traditional Kentucky Mule recipe, the copper mug will be the first ingredient. In my opinion, it seems a little bougie to reserve this drink for one vessel, especially since it doesn’t even keep the drink cold. I like to bring along the Stanley Adventure Happy Hour Cocktail Shaker Set for all my camping adventures. My favorite feature about this cocktail shaker is the removable reamer to juice your lime. I start by juicing, then add the ginger beer, and lastly the whiskey/bourbon to taste. No need to shake this one, I add ice to the cup or go sans ice. (I’m a fan of pre-chilling the shaker in the cooler) I find the pouring the drink back through the lid with the reamer still in the shaker helps by adding even more lime flavor and strains out the extra pulp. Voila, a fancy cocktail in the woods.
- Simple Syrup
Gimlets are simple and to the point. No need to beat around the bush late at night around the fire, just pour up a little gin mixed with simple syrup (in my case I just use sugar and a stick/knife to mix) and garnish with a lime. These are usually my go-to later in the evening, quick and easy.
Whiskey & Skratch
- Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix
This one might throw some of you for a loop but I dare you to try it. When you’re out in the wilderness it's tough to carry much. I discovered my “love” for this when I was on a 4-day bike-packing trip through remote Idaho. We had whiskey and we’d stopped for a few beers whenever refueling but in the middle of BFE between Stanley and McCall, there’s not much. That said, who in their right mind sits in a hot spring after 100 miles in the saddle without a bevy. So we opened up the whiskey. As it got colder that evening, a nice hot drink sounded right. Experimentation began. Whiskey and hot water? Meh. Whiskey and hot Skratch Labs? We were on to something. This trip we had apple cinnamon Skratch and sadly they seem to have done away with that flavor. Since then I’ve moved on to the orange flavor. It hits the spot just the same but if anyone reading this has a bulk stash of apple cinnamon, please call me. Next time you’re planning to be really out there, bring along some Skratch and Whiskey, you won't regret it.
“Black Butte Amuse” Coffee And Black Butte Porter
- Porter beer
I told you at the beginning that I’m a beer guy. I’ve been known to have a little beer with breakfast when camping and this drink makes the perfect excuse to. Not only is it bomb, but it’ll help you get rid of those last few dark beers in the cooler/fridge that no one seems to pick first. I usually do 2 parts black butte and 1 part coffee. Deschutes recipe will call for cold brew but I enjoy this hot. If you bring along a Stein (the Go Stein with Ceramivac is my personal favorite) then you can fit a whole black butte and top it off with coffee. Try it your next morning in the woods, you’ll thank me later.
These are my favorite simple car camping cocktail recipes. You can definitely get a whole lot fancier but these should facilitate good conversation by the fire for hours!
Need more cocktail ideas, try one of our 3 refreshing whiskey cocktails for summer.