If you are an avid camper, you probably already have a go-to drink for sharing stories around the campfire. Whether you prefer a strong cup of tea or coffee, rich hot chocolate or something a little stronger, drinks are part of the campfire experience.
You may not want to pack a martini shaker or a mortar and pestle for your next excursion, but there is still a lot you can do to shake up your campfire drinks menu! Whether you are looking for some fresh ideas for an upcoming trip or a recipe for a special occasion, here are some tips:
Use what you have on hand. Because coffee at the campsite is an absolute must for me, I always camp with a French press (Bodum) with a plastic (not glass) body. In the mornings, I empty a small pre-measured ziplock bag of ground coffee into it and add a kettle of hot water. But during the day, a French press doubles as a pitcher for hot or cold tea, and can be used to get creative! Try marinating apples, oranges, berries or grapes in wine for the day for a delicious sangria. Or use the French Press to make a sun tea (add tea bags to a pitcher of cold water and let them steep in the sun for a few hours).
The addition of fresh fruit makes any drink feel fancy. Bring frozen or fresh fruits in your cooler and add them to your favourite campfire cocktails. Try fresh, frozen or thawed raspberries with soda water and vodka or whiskey. Add a few slices of lemon or cucumber to your water pitcher for a gourmet twist. Or make the most of a soft peach by letting it soak in liqueur for the afternoon, then use the French press as a sieve to create a strained fruit infusion. Add a splash of canned seltzer and a sprig of mint and call it eau de camping.
Although it may seem silly to bring a milk frother to your campsite, a little extra attention can elevate your hot drink. A small battery-powered whisk creates a foamy topping for coffees and chocolates, and takes up less room than a roll of toilet paper. Use it to whip up heated milk or cream before blending it with a fresh cup of coffee. Add melted chocolate, cinnamon or Irish whiskey for a real treat. Mint extract or cayenne makes a quick and easy addition to hot chocolate. The possibilities are endless when you have some creativity, and lots of time to sit around a campfire reading, playing games or just trying to stay warm.
Whether or not you choose to try your hand at fancy cocktails, it is important to have a few cold drinks on hand to restore you. If you don’t have room for juice, consider bringing a frozen juice concentrate or two in your cooler. These can help keep things cold, and you only need a tablespoon or two each time you mix up a drink! If you are hiking and keeping things lightweight, consider finding a powdered drink mix you like. While some people may prefer iced tea, lemonade of Crystal-Light type powder, I always carry a few small pouches of Emergen-C drink mix. Just empty one into your water bottle for an easy electrolyte boost.
What are your favourite campfire concoctions?