Into the woods

It's still camping season!  (In fact, if you're a crazy person like plenty of the people who live around here, even midwinter when it's below zero can be camping season.  You just need the right sleeping bag.  And maybe a dogsled team...)  And, one of the great joys of camping is warming up your innards with a simple cocktail at the end of the day.  

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We sat down with our friend Jake Boyce, who also happens to be the founder of the super amazing adventure guiding company Daytripper of Duluth, and we asked him for his favorite tips for making cocktails when you're out camping and working with a limited supply of (easily portable) ingredients. Unsurprisingly, he had plenty of advice based on his experience.  So, bring a flask or Nalgene of your favorite spirit and use one of these simple mixer ideas.

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Lemonade or lemon-lime electrolyte drink:  “Crystal Light lemonade is pretty much standard on all our trips, but any water enhancer/electrolyte mix is good,” says Boyce.  Just add some gin or aquavit to your lemonade once you’ve mixed it up, and there’s a drink right there.  If you have powdered ice tea with you as well, you can combine half lemonade and half iced tea with some vodka for a spiked Arnold Palmer.  Another option would be to smash some berries you pick along the trail with gin and add lemonade for a spiked berry lemonade delight!  If you use whiskey in place of the aquavit or gin, you have a trail whiskey sour.

Coffee:  You have coffee with you anyway, so you should certainly try using some for a cocktail.  Add some whiskey and brown sugar to a mug of coffee, and voila! Sort of Irish Coffee!  Use aquavit instead of whiskey and you’ll have a Norwegian Coffee.

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Sugar or Maple Syrup:  It’s not a camping trip without supplies for oatmeal and pancake breakfasts, which means you probably have some brown sugar or maple syrup with you.  Maybe both.  Mix a little of either with some whiskey and a spoonful of water, and you have something that’s almost an old fashioned.  If you have some clementine’s packed with you for healthy snacking, so much the better.  You can use a bit of clementine peel as garnish.  Now you’re fancy! 

And for those cool evenings, Boyce says, “how about a hot toddy with whiskey or gin?”  Smash some berries with sugar.  Add a shot of your preferred spirit, and top it up with some hot water.  “Perfect star watching drink.”

Hot cocoa:  Never forget to bring packets of Hot Chocolate mix with you when camping!  The only thing more relaxing than sipping cocoa by your campfire in the evening while listening for loon calls, is sipping cocoa with an added splash of aquavit or whiskey while listening for loon calls. Bliss.

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