There’s nothing quite like spending time in nature, breathing in the fresh air, and enjoying the beauty of the wilderness. And when it comes to unwinding after a day of hiking or exploring, there’s no better way to kick back than with a refreshing camp cocktail in hand.
But let’s be honest; nobody wants to lug around an entire bar’s worth of ingredients and equipment. And, oh boy, can you even call it a cocktail if it’s warm like tea? Disclaimer: you don’t need to.
We’re here to guide you through the art of campsite mixology with easy-to-make recipes and helpful tips to elevate your camping experience.
- Tips for preparing camp cocktails
- Camp cocktail recipes
- Campfire pairings
- Non-alcoholic camp mocktails
- Responsible camping and drinking
Tips for preparing camp cocktails
Before we dive into the delicious recipes, let’s cover some essential tips for making camp cocktails. These will ensure you’re fully prepared to mix and sip your way through your outdoor adventure.
Packing essentials for camp cocktail-making
Suggested tools and equipment: You don’t need to pack your entire kitchen to create tasty camp cocktails. Stick to the basics like a portable shaker or a mason jar with a lid (which can double as a storage container), a measuring tool like a jigger or small measuring cup, a long spoon or stirrer, and a compact cutting board and knife for garnishes.
Pre-measuring and storing ingredients: To save space and minimize mess, pre-measure your cocktail ingredients into small containers or resealable plastic bags. This will make it easier to mix drinks at your campsite without having to carry around full-size bottles.
Choosing the right spirits and mixers
Versatile options: Opt for spirits and mixers that can be used in multiple recipes. For example, a simple combination of whiskey, vodka, gin, soda water, and a few flavored mixers (like fruit juice or tonic water) can create several different cocktails.
Lightweight and easy-to-carry choices: Consider bringing spirits in plastic bottles or transferring them into lightweight containers, as glass bottles can be heavy and breakable. Powdered drink mixes and dehydrated fruits can also save weight and space.
Tips for keeping drinks cold without ice
Cooling methods: Chill your drinks with natural water sources like streams or lakes. Place your sealed containers or beverages in a waterproof bag and submerge them in the water for a while, letting nature cool them down.
Insulated containers: Insulated bottles or thermoses can help keep your drinks cool for longer. They’re perfect for premixing cocktails and storing them until you can enjoy them.
Camp cocktail recipes
Now that you’re equipped with the know-how, it’s time to mix up some tasty camp cocktails. Here are five simple yet delightful recipes that’ll have you sipping in style at your campsite.
- 2 oz vodka
- 4 oz ginger beer
- 1/2 oz lime juice
- Lime wedge and mint sprig for garnish
In a mason jar or shaker, combine vodka and lime juice. Add ginger beer and gently stir to mix. Pour the mixture into a cup, and garnish with a lime wedge and a mint sprig.
Our second camp cocktail is the refreshing and effervescent Forest Fizz. The combination of gin, lemon, and sparkling water makes this drink a delightful companion while sitting around the campfire. It’s the perfect beverage to cool you down after a long day of hiking and exploring.
- 2 oz gin
- 1 oz fresh lemon juice
- 1 oz simple syrup (or honey)
- Sparkling water
- Lemon wheel for garnish
Muddle the cucumber slices and mint leaves together in a glass or camping mug to release their flavors. Add the gin, lime juice, and simple syrup to the muddled mixture. Stir well to combine. Top off with soda water and give it a gentle stir. Garnish with a mint sprig and enjoy this effervescent cocktail’s refreshing flavors.
As the sun sets and the temperature drops, the Campfire Cider is here to warm you up. This hot cocktail, made with spiced rum, apple cider, and a touch of cinnamon, will have you feeling cozy in no time.
- 2 oz spiced rum
- 6 oz apple cider
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Optional: orange slice and whole cloves for garnish
Heat apple cider in a camping pot or pan over your camp stove or campfire. Once the cider is hot, remove it from the heat, and pour it into a heatproof camping mug. Stir in the spiced rum with a cinnamon stick. If desired, garnish with an orange slice studded with whole cloves. Enjoy the warmth of your Campfire Cider!
No list of cocktails would be complete without a margarita, and the Moonlit Margarita is a camp-friendly twist on the classic. This tequila-based concoction is both tangy and sweet, making it an excellent choice for a fun-filled camping night.
- 2 oz tequila
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- 1 oz triple sec (or orange juice for a lighter option)
- Coarse salt (optional, for rimming your glass)
- Lime wedge for garnish
If you want a salted rim, wet the rim of your camping cup or mug with a lime wedge, then dip it in coarse salt. Combine tequila, lime juice, and triple sec in a shaker or water bottle. Shake well. Pour the mixture into your prepared camping cup or mug. Garnish with a lime wedge, and savor your Moonlit Margarita under the moonlight.
A refreshing and bubbly delight that’s perfect for sipping as the sun sets over your campsite.
- 2 oz Aperol or Campari
- 3 oz sparkling wine or champagne (mini bottles are great for camping)
- 1 oz soda water
- Orange slice, for garnish
Pour Aperol or Campari into a glass or camping mug. Slowly add the sparkling wine, followed by the soda water. Gently stir to combine. Garnish with an orange slice and enjoy the beautiful sunset while sipping your spritz.
Twilight Tequila Sunrise
A vibrant and fruity cocktail that brings a burst of color to your campsite.
- 2 oz tequila
- 4 oz orange juice
- 1/2 oz grenadine
- Orange slice and cherry, for garnish
Pour the tequila and orange juice into a glass or camping mug, and stir well to combine. Slowly drizzle the grenadine into the glass, allowing it to sink to the bottom and create a gradient effect. Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry, then sit back and enjoy the beauty of a twilight tequila sunrise at your campsite.
Bonfire Bourbon Smash
A warming and slightly spicy concoction that’s perfect for sipping around the campfire.
- 2 oz bourbon
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- 1/2 oz lemon juice
- 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
- 2 slices jalapeño (optional, for a spicy kick)
- Lemon wheel, for garnish
Combine the bourbon, simple syrup, lemon juice, and Angostura bitters in a glass or camping mug. Stir well to mix. If you prefer a spicy kick, add the jalapeño slices and give the mixture another quick stir. Garnish with a lemon wheel, and enjoy the complex flavors of this bonfire bourbon smash.
A classic and refreshing cocktail that’s perfect for a night of star-gazing.
2 oz gin
1 oz lime juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
Lime wheel, for garnish
Combine the gin, lime juice, and simple syrup in a glass or camping mug. Stir well to mix the ingredients. Garnish with a lime wheel, and sip on this star-gazing gimlet as you take in the wonders of the night sky.
Woodland Whiskey Sour
A tangy and smooth cocktail that captures the essence of the great outdoors.
- 2 oz whiskey
- 1 oz lemon juice
- 3/4 oz maple syrup
- Maraschino cherry and lemon wheel, for garnish
Pour the whiskey, lemon juice, and maple syrup into a glass or camping mug. Stir well to combine the ingredients. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and a lemon wheel, and enjoy the balance of flavors in this woodland whiskey sour.
Starry Night Sangria
A deliciously fruity concoction that’s perfect for sipping under a canopy of stars.
- 1 bottle of red wine (750 ml)
- 1/4 cup brandy or orange liqueur
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup simple syrup or honey
- 1 apple, sliced
- 1 orange, sliced
- 1 lemon, sliced
Combine the red wine, brandy or orange liqueur, orange juice, and simple syrup or honey in a large container or pitcher. Stir well to mix. Add the sliced apples, oranges, and lemons, ensuring they’re submerged in the liquid.
Cover the container and let it sit for a few hours, or overnight, to allow the flavors to meld. When you’re ready to serve, pour the sangria into glasses or camping mugs, including some of the fruit.
Now that you’ve sorted your camp cocktails, let’s discuss some tasty campfire snacks and meals to pair with these outdoor libations.
Some snacks to get you fueled
Cheese and charcuterie board: Pair your cocktails with a selection of cheeses, cured meats, crackers, and dried fruits.
Grilled veggie skewers: A healthy and delicious option that complements your camp cocktails, especially the Forest Fizz and Lakeside Lemonade.
S’mores: A campfire classic that goes well with the Campfire Old Fashioned and Sunset Spritz.
Foil packet dinners: Create your own camping foil packet meals with your choice of protein, veggies, and seasoning. Pair with the Lakeside Lemonade or Forest Fizz for a delightful dining experience.
Campfire chili: Enjoy a warm bowl of chili with a side of cornbread, best enjoyed alongside a Campfire Old Fashioned.
BBQ chicken: Grilled BBQ chicken is a versatile option that pairs well with any of the featured camp cocktails. See more campfire chicken recipes.
Find more recipes for every time of the day, every taste:
- Vegan camping food
- Vegetarian camping food
- Campfire dinner recipes
- Campfire lunch recipes
- Pie iron camping recipes
- Camping desserts
Non-alcoholic camp mocktails
Don’t worry; we haven’t forgotten about those who prefer alcohol-free options. Here are two delicious and refreshing mocktails everyone can enjoy at the campsite.
Mountain Berry Cooler
A fruity and thirst-quenching mocktail with a vibrant mix of berries.
- 1 cup mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
- 1/2 cup lemonade
- 1/2 cup soda water
- Mint leaves, for garnish
Muddle the mixed berries in a glass or camping mug to release their juices. Add the lemonade and stir to combine. Top off with soda water and gently stir. Garnish with mint leaves and enjoy this refreshing cooler.
A non-alcoholic twist on the classic piña colada, perfect for sipping around the campfire.
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup coconut milk or cream
- 1/4 cup soda water
- Pineapple wedge, for garnish
Combine the pineapple juice and coconut milk or cream in a glass or camping mug. Stir well to ensure the coconut milk is fully incorporated. Add the soda water and give it a gentle stir. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and transport yourself to a tropical paradise, even in the great outdoors.
Citrus Sunset Mocktail
A zesty and invigorating non-alcoholic drink that showcases the vibrant flavors of fresh citrus fruits.
- 1/2 grapefruit, juiced
- 1/2 orange, juiced
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 1/2 cup sparkling water
- Agave syrup or honey, to taste (optional)
- Citrus slices, for garnish
Combine the grapefruit, orange, lemon, and lime juices in a glass or camping mug. Add agave syrup or honey to taste if you prefer a sweeter mocktail. Stir well to mix the juices and sweetener.
Top off with sparkling water and give it a gentle stir. Garnish with citrus slices and enjoy this revitalizing mocktail as you watch the sun dip below the horizon.
Sparkling Apple Cider Spritzer
A crisp and effervescent mocktail that captures the essence of autumn in a glass.
- 1 cup sparkling apple cider
- 1/2 cup ginger ale
- 1/4 cup cranberry juice
- Apple slices, for garnish
- Fresh cranberries, for garnish
Combine sparkling apple cider, ginger ale, and cranberry juice in a glass or camping mug. Stir gently to mix the liquids without losing their effervescence.
Garnish with apple slices and a few fresh cranberries, then enjoy this fizzy and refreshing mocktail by the campfire.
Trailblazer’s Tropical Punch
A vibrant and exotic non-alcoholic punch that brings the taste of the tropics to your campsite.
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup mango juice
- 1/4 cup grenadine syrup
- 1 cup ginger ale or club soda
- Pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry, for garnish
In a large container or pitcher, combine the pineapple juice, orange juice, mango juice, and grenadine syrup. Stir well to blend the flavors. Add the ginger ale or club soda to the mixture and give it a gentle stir.
When you’re ready to serve, pour the punch into glasses or camping mugs and garnish with a pineapple wedge and a maraschino cherry. Enjoy this colorful and refreshing mocktail while soaking in the great outdoors.
Responsible camping and drinking
Camping safety first! Let’s ensure that you have time while enjoying your camp cocktails without any mishaps.
Tips for staying safe and responsible
- Know your limits: It’s important to be aware of your alcohol tolerance, especially when you’re in an unfamiliar environment.
- Stay hydrated: Make sure to drink plenty of water alongside your camp cocktails, as alcohol can lead to dehydration.
- Designate a sober camper: If your group plans to explore or engage in any activities that require focus and coordination, ensure that someone stays sober.
- Be cautious around the campfire: Alcohol can impair your judgment and coordination, so exercise caution when tending to the fire or cooking.
Leave no trace and proper waste disposal
While enjoying your camp cocktails, don’t forget to follow the leave no trace principles to minimize your impact on the environment.
- Pack out all trash, including bottle caps, corks, and any other packaging.
- If using citrus fruits or other perishable garnishes, dispose of them properly in a sealed bag or container and pack them out.
- Avoid contaminating water sources by cleaning your cocktail equipment at least 200 feet away from lakes, rivers, or streams.