5 Fun Cocktails to Make on Your Next Camping Trip

Hiking and Camping Expert Jessica LaPolla gives five fun, easy cocktail recipes for you to sip around the fire on your next camping trip!

Someone pours alcohol from a container into a cup. There is a campfire in the background.

Photo by Bradley Dunn

Sharing a flask of whiskey around a crackling fire with friends can be deeply cathartic. Breaking open a cold beer is oh-so-satisfying at the end of a long day of hiking and exploring. But what if you could take those feelings to the next level?

I’m going to share with you some of my favorite camping cocktails to make on your next adventure. These are fun and easy to make with friends and will be sure to spark some interesting campfire stories.

Hot Toddy With a Twist

A drink with a teabag in it sits on a table with a book in the background.

Photo by Svitlana

Let’s start with a twist on a great classic: the hot toddy, which is the perfect drink to make as the sun is setting and the air is cooling. Cozy up with this warm beverage and a good book before turning in to your tent for the night. The best thing about this recipe is that it is completely customizable based on your preferences and what you have in your kitchen.

Ingredients

(Yields 1 serving)

  • 6 oz boiling water
  • 1 teabag of herbal or black tea
  • 2 oz of your favorite scotch, whiskey, rye, bourbon, cognac, or dark rum
  • 1 oz of honey, agave, or maple syrup.
  • 1 lemon peel
  • 1 cinnamon stick and whole star anise for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Boil water over the campfire or on your camp stove.
  2. Place your mug or cup by the fire so that it becomes warm.
  3. Add 2 oz of your spirit of choice. I usually use an Irish whiskey, like Jameson. (For reference, most shot glasses are about 1.5 oz.)
  4. Add in your sweetener. I prefer to use agave because it's less messy.
  5. Pour the boiling water into your mug or cup of choice and stir briefly until the sweetener is dissolved.
  6. Add the tea bag and let steep for about 30 seconds (longer for a bolder taste). I like to use chamomile tea or Irish tea for a stronger flavor.
  7. Garnish with a lemon peel, cinnamon stick, and star anise. This part is optional but really brings the drink to the next level.

Summer Shandy

A woman holds a beer in front of her. There are lights in the background.

Photo by Brittani Burns

The definition of refreshing, this recipe is simple, easy, and highly customizable. The summer shandy is the perfect post-hike beverage, leaving you cool and relaxed after a day of adventuring. Take your beer to the next level with this fizzy drink.

Ingredients

(Yields 4 servings)

  • 1 cup of lemonade
  • 1 cup of water
  • ½ cup of sparkling water or tonic
  • 4 (12 oz) bottles of your favorite light beer
  • Lemon slices and mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine the sparkling water or tonic and lemonade.
  2. Pour the beer into individual glasses or cups and top off with a generous splash of the lemonade mixture.
  3. Garnish with lemon slices and mint.
  4. If you prefer lime over lemons, add a lime slice. The garnishes are optional, but mint leaves make this shandy even more refreshing.

Backcountry Blackberry G&T

A drink in a wine glass with blackberries and mint.

Photo by Melissa Walkerhorn

Quench your thirst with this subtly sweet and delicious twist on a gin and tonic. This G&T is one of my all-time favorites and is so easy to make. Pre-mix and pack ingredients to make serving them up at camp a breeze. Not into blackberries? Sub strawberries, raspberries, or even peaches for an equally yummy masterpiece.

Ingredients

(Yields 1 serving)

  • 3-4 fresh blackberries
  • 4 mint leaves
  • The juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 oz gin
  • Splash of simple syrup or agave
  • Tonic water

Directions

  1. Place blackberries and mint into the bottom of your glass, cup, or favorite camping mug.
  2. Use a fork, spoon, or whatever you have handy to muddle them together.
  3. Pour the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker and fill with ice.
  4. Shake well and pour into glasses, over ice for best results.
  5. Top with tonic water and lightly stir.

S’mores Martini

Smores sit on a cutting board.

Photo by Jessica Ruscello

This decadent dessert drink is simply to die for and is tons of fun to make on a camping trip. Embrace your inner child and use your best marshmallow roasting skills for this one. Believe me, you’ll never look at s’mores the same way again.

Ingredients

(Yields 1 serving)

  • 1 oz dark or milk-chocolate liqueur
  • ½ oz marshmallow or vanilla vodka
  • ½ oz heavy cream or half and half
  • Chocolate syrup or melted chocolate for drizzle
  • Crushed graham crackers
  • 1 roasted marshmallow
  • 1 small bamboo stick or skewer

Directions

(Note: If you want to get crazy, before adding the liquid, dip the rim of your glass in the chocolate syrup and roll in crushed graham crackers.) 1. Slowly pour the chocolate liqueur into the glass. 2. Mix together the cream and vodka in a separate container. 3. Pour the vodka mixture into your glass. If you want to create a cool layer effect, pour over an upside-down spoon, very slowly. 4. Drizzle chocolate syrup or melted chocolate over the top. 5. Sprinkle crushed graham crackers over the top. 6. Roast your marshmallow to the desired level of toastiness and place it on a small skewer over top of your drink. For the tastiest results, gently stir everything together after you take some Insta-worthy pics.

Mulled Apple Cider

A drink sits on a table with a cinnamon stick in it. There are apples and flowers on the table.

Photo by Jill Wellington

The best recipe for large groups of backpackers and campers, mulled apple cider can be enjoyed anytime on cool summer nights and chilly fall afternoons. You’ll feel like a real pioneer while brewing up a batch of this for your friends while sitting around the fire. Or, use a cauldron to embrace your inner witch.

Ingredients

(Yields 15-20 servings)

  • 1 gallon of apple cider
  • 3 apples
  • 1 orange
  • ¾ cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon of allspice berries or 1 teaspoon of allspice powder
  • 5-6 cinnamon sticks
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of brandy

Directions

  1. Pour the apple cider into a large pot (or cauldron) and set over medium-high heat. You can place your pot over the fire to simmer or use a camp stove. If using your campfire, do not place the pot directly in the flames. Elevate it using a stick or other device.
  2. Dice the apples (no need to peel) and throw them into the cider.
  3. Peel the rind off of the orange in large chunks and toss that in, too. Add in the orange slices for some extra citrus flavor.
  4. Add the cranberries, allspice, and cinnamon.
  5. Add the sugar and stir until it is completely dissolved.
  6. Bring the mixture to a low boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 45 minutes.
  7. Add the brandy and simmer for 10 more minutes. Alternatively, you can pour about 1 ½ to 2 oz of brandy into your cup and top off with the cider mixture. Best served warm.

If you’re looking for some gear to help create these cocktails, check out a few of my favorite tumblers to try on your next camping trip:

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to make some of these camping cocktails on my next trip. The best thing about these recipes is that you can customize them or adjust them as needed, making them as simple or sophisticated as you’d like. If you have any questions or want help finding cocktail gear, give me or another Camping & Hiking Expert a shout! Now, get outside and try some of these delectable drinks, and if you do, snap a pic and let us see how they turned out. Cheers!

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Written By
Jessica LaPolla
Jessica LaPolla
Camping & Hiking Expert
Hi there! I have always had a deep love for the outdoors, having grown up on my family's horse farm in New Jersey. I began hiking and camping at a young age and started backpacking as a young adult. I now enjoy taking weekend backpacking trips with my dogs and rock climbing with my partner. This yea...
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