“Think about streamlining so you’re not bringing the full bar,” she recommends. “You can pack brown sugar, citrus, and herbs—things that are very easy to transportt. Remember that sugar and limes go with just about anything.”
She also says to think about the kind of drinker you are and what you prefer at home. If you know you like more bitter, boozy, stirred cocktails, those are great examples of things you can pre-batch in a thermos beforehand.
“You can’t exactly camp with bottles of whiskey, Luxardo, vermouth, and sherry clinking around,” she says. “But if you want to make a Trident or a Negroni, you can make them at home undiluted and they will be stable for months.”
Other tips include avoiding citrus juice and dairy since the flavors won’t hold up and will get affected by changing temperatures. She says, instead, bring whole citrus and cut it fresh, or look for garnishes in nature like spruce tips or lilac. But you don’t have to be too fancy.
“I love beautiful barware in a bar. But, if you’re camping, you don’t need that all of that,” she says. “Leave the silver stirring spoon and crystal carafe at home. Your cocktails can still be special and exceptional in your camping cup.”
Vikre says, over the years, she’s had so many great memories of enjoying drinks in the great outdoors. There was the time she and her husband popped a bottle of Dom Perignon while hiking the Presidential mountain range in New Hampshire. Or a camping trip in Western Massachusetts where the menu consisted of pulled pork, fresh coleslaw, and Old Fashioneds by the fire. “A far cry from my dad and soy nuts,” she laughs.
But Vikre insists there is no right or wrong way to enjoy camping and drinks with friends. “Both being in nature and drinking cocktails have this celebratory element to them,” she says. “At their best, they’re about pulling you into a particular place in time to be deeply present.”
Next time you’re planning a camping trip, consider making one of these campfire cocktails.