Three Classic Cocktail Recipes—With a Camp Twist


There’s something special about relaxing outside your tent at camp, sipping a cocktail worthy of a swanky lounge. A campground isn’t the traditional setting for a fancy mixed drink, but that’s part of what makes a camp cocktail so fun.

“It’s such a different idea,” says avid camper and REI Co-op Member Bryan Dayton, who founded the Colorado chapter of the U.S. Bartenders’ Guild and who co-owns and directs the beverage programs at critically acclaimed eateries, including OAK at Fourteenth in Boulder. “Instead of just, ‘Hey, let’s crack open a beer or a bottle of wine,’ if you can make a simple cocktail, you’re really bringing those creature comforts to the woods,” Dayton says.

Classic cocktails date back to the late 1800s, when American bartender included them in his Bar-Tender’s Guide. But you don’t need to be a bartender to make these longtime libations. They’re great options for mixing in the outdoors because they’re easy to make, requiring little prep and just a few readily available ingredients and tools. Cocktails are also a delicious alternative to sipping full-strength spirits from a flask.

Gear Up for Cocktail (or Mocktail) Making

Much like having the right gear can enhance your time outside, using the proper barware can elevate a standard mixed drink to a truly great classic cocktail. With margaritas, bucks and other citrus-forward blends, for example, the shaking process is vital for adding vibrancy, Dayton says. Pour the spirit, sweetener and citrus into a shaker, then give it the OutKast treatment and shake it like a Polaroid picture to allow the flavors to fully meld.

Dayton personally likes the YETI Rambler Cocktail Shaker when mixing up a batch of Bourbon Bucks (see his recipe below). The Rambler shaker’s puncture- and rust-resistant, stainless-steel construction easily stands up to rocks, logs and other campsite hazards. Its double-wall insulation ensures consistently cold drinks, and a leak-protective lid helps prevent spills. The shaker’s lid with the built-in strainer is compatible with other Rambler styles from YETI, so you can easily turn those containers into cocktail shakers too. “Having that simple, really cool, fun tool in your camping kit is awesome,” Dayton says.

Another pro tip: Don’t forget the garnish. We taste with our eyes first, next with our nose and finally with our mouths, Dayton explains. If a drink looks good and smells good, it’s going to be even more palate-pleasing. Consider adding a twill of citrus rind, a sprig of rosemary or even something eye-catching (and known to be nontoxic) from around the campsite. (Just make sure to follow the Leave No Trace principles.) “You can use things from Mother Nature at the same time,” Dayton says, noting that pine needles, lavender, sage and juniper all work well. “Obviously, harvest in an eco-friendly way and always be sensitive to allergies.”

Ready to bring your bar to the backcountry? Read on for a trio of classic cocktails with a camp twist, including one tasty nonalcoholic option. All are inspired by the wild and sure to kick your camping game up a delicious notch.


Flannel Poncho

This is a woodsy twist on the classic shaken margarita.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 3/4 ounce maple syrup
  • 1/2 ounce triple sec
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • Ice

Directions

Combine ingredients in a YETI Rambler Cocktail Shaker filled with ice. Shake and pour into your favorite camp cup.

MIXOLOGIST: Robert Björn Taylor


Bourbon Buck

This variation of the classic buck cocktail is for those who need a stronger kick.

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1/2 ounces bourbon
  • 1/2 ounces orange liquor
  • 3/4 ounce ginger syrup
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/4 ounce grenadine
  • 2 dashes bitters
  • Ice

Directions

Combine ingredients in a YETI Rambler Cocktail Shaker filled with ice. Shake and pour into your favorite camp cup. Garnish with lemon peel.

MIXOLOGIST: Bryan Dayton


Full-On Foliage

This all-American cocktail is made to be alcohol-free and shaken like a leaf on a tree.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces Seedlip Garden nonalcoholic spirit
  • 2 ounces apple juice
  • 3/4 ounce cinnamon syrup
  • 1/4 ounce lemon juice
  • Ice

Directions

Combine ingredients in a YETI Rambler Cocktail Shaker filled with ice. Shake and pour into your favorite camp cup.

MIXOLOGIST: Robert Bjorn Taylor





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