Every year, for at least one weekend, you decide to forgo your comfy, soft bed for the cold, hard ground. Camping is an essential activity of summer. A great excuse to be outside, stare at the stars, build a fire and cook over an open flame – plus there’s smores. It’s also a fantastic reason to have a few drinks, and those drinks are going to be a necessity when it finally comes time to try and fall asleep after realizing you pitched your tent on top of some very uncomfortable rocks.
What you wind up drinking on your next camping trip depends greatly on how you actually plan to camp. If you’re simply parking an RV at the nearest power station, you’re not actually camping, and in that case, you can bring along almost any beverage you’d normally choose to consume – you’re also a cheater. But if you’re hiking in and hiking out, or you’re parking a car and pitching a tent in order to sleep on the ground, you’re actually doing some camping, so here’s the perfect drinks to bring along in order to supplement the activity.
If you happen to be camping at one of those campsites that allows you to basically pull right up to where you’ll pitch your tent, you have a bit more options than the person hiking to their camping location. The most notable option will be the ability to bring heavier things, including glass bottles and a cooler and that means you can drink white wine. While bringing along potable ice would be a waste of cooler space, a few bottles of your favorite white won’t take up too much space. Go with whites that don’t need to be cold to be enjoyable, but instead are great cool, like Chablis, Pinot Gris, and Chenin Blanc.
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In addition to having the ability to bring white wine you also can bring along a few mixed drinks. We’d recommend making a batch or two ahead of time and storing them in one of those sealable pitchers. Then, once you finally get the tent pitched and the fire started, you can serve a round of martinis, because nothing is more civilized than having a martini by the fire. When it comes to cocktails, go simple and again go with things that can be served up, and only need to be cool, not cold. Drinks like martinis, manhattans and gimlets can be mixed ahead of time and thrown in the cooler, allowing you to pour these cool drinks into your glass as the sun sets.
Those who choose instead to hike to their camp site will be a bit more limited in options, but obviously will get cred for being more outdoorsy than the rest of us. When you’re hiking, it’s all about the amount of weight you’re carrying on your back. The lighter, the better, which means pre-mixed cocktails are definitely out – if you’re in the need of liquor, bring a flask – bourbon straight is a wonderful thing.
When it comes to beer, it’s highly unlikely the brew in your bag is going to be cool, since you probably don’t want to lug around a cooler, so bring cans. When you come upon a stream and feel like it’s a good place for a rest, or to set up camp, dunk the cans in the water and let them sit on the bed of the stream with the water rushing over the tops. They’ll be cool in no time.
For wine, bring something with a screwcap, and go with a red that’s light, as opposed to something oaky and heavy. A Pinot Noir or Gamay would be a great choice. Refreshing after a long day, without the need to be chilled in order to enjoy it. Just remember to pack out all cans and bottles!