So you pack a flask of bourbon or a bag of wine—case closed right? Well, not really. I love a nice bourbon or scotch (don’t forget to pack a stainless mug or tumbler for proper sipping) but sometimes you want something a little less potent and a little more creative.
I built up my home bar up about four years ago and started experimenting with cocktails for bikepacking sometime last winter. The biggest barrier to cocktails while bikepacking is temperature. Straight liquor just isn’t that palatable when it’s not cooled and on the rocks. (excluding the aforementioned bourbon & scotch, of course) Finding nuanced concoctions that tickle the tastebuds with the right balance of bitter, sweet, and floral while masking the liquor’s potency is pretty tricky. Aside from the snow slushy, the cocktails below are designed to be sipped at camp temperature.
Obviously you don’t want to be carrying a 750ml glass bottle through the backcountry so what do you transfer your ingredients into? I prefer to use platypus style bags for all my liquids while camping. I either pre-mix a big batch or just transfer the alcohol into the bags. If you do end up re-using Platypus type bags I find they retain too much of the previous contents’ flavor, so label them well and don’t switch it up. And for the love of God don’t accidentally drink your denatured alcohol!
For bitters, simple syrups, and shrubs I use small plastic dripper bottles I got at Tap Plastics. They’re great for the camp bar or kitchen. You may also want to explore the wild ingredients near your camp, I’ve paired juniper berries with aquavit, spruce tips with gin, currants with vodka, and mint with Campari. These are just a few ideas, experiment and let us know what you concoct!
Of course if you’d rather just have me hand you a cold drink after a long day of riding, you can check out our guided trip offerings on Limberlost.co.
A vague affair. Let’s be honest, it’s a slushy: they’re delicious and if you’ve lugged your bike up a mountain to the snowline you’re probably not going to measure this one out. That’s fine, you’ll have the ratios down pat by the *hic* third try. I’m usually not a big Campari fan, but it’s refreshing in the sun and the extra cold temperature of this drink tempers its sweet bitterness.
2oz Union Gin 1oz Simple syrup (or tsp muddled sugar) 1oz Campari Wild mint for garnish/muddling if available
Fill mug with fresh snow, the more granular the better. Add ingredients, mix, and try to avoid brain freeze.
A camper’s take on the classic Old Fashioned. Not as good as it would be fresh and cold, but this is a pretty easy way to spruce up some whiskey. Next batch I want to steep the orange slices in sugar and bitters first and then dehydrate. Maybe each spiced and dried slice will pack enough punch to flavor an Old Fashioned? We’ll see.
2oz of your favorite bourbon or rye (I like Corner Creek) .25oz Simple syrup or tsp muddled sugar 3 dashes Angostura Splash cold spring water Dehydrated orange slice (or 2 dashes orange bitters)
If you have the time, rehydrate the orange slice in the water for 15mins first. Then muddle everything minus the booze in your camp mug before adding the bourbon.
This is my favorite of the bunch and is the only one you’ll find served at room temperature in your favorite cocktail lounge. I eliminated the complexity of a flamed orange peel and Angostura mist, so it works quite well as a pre-mixed large batch, aged in your favorite Platypus.
1oz Mezcal 1oz Sotol (in the Mezcal family) .5oz Averna .5oz Harlequin orange liqueur .25oz Salers or 3 dashes of Angostura
Multiply into a bigger batch and pre-mix at home. Bring extra, your riding buddies will thank you.