The sun starts to dip in the western sky and your shadows start to grow noticeably longer. It feels like you’ve been walking all day. You’ve got a 50-pound pack on your back that you’ve lugged 8 miles and 2,500 vertical feet before finally reaching your alpine lake campsite. You set down your pack, untie your boots, take a seat on the bank of the lake and dip your feet in the icy waters. The only thing that could make this moment better is a frosty, adult beverage.
Cold beer and wine is tough to come by when you’re in the backcountry. In addition to the hassle that the extra space and weight of low-proof alcohol presents, it’s tough to keep a large volume of anything cold when you’re tens of miles from the nearest gas station ice machine.
Fret not -- there’s an easy solution to this problem: Flasks!
Flasks can be one of the most handy pieces of gear that you own if you know how to use it properly. Most people limit their flask contents to a good sipping whiskey or bourbon, but for a true backcountry cocktail MacGyver, the options are endless. Don’t get us wrong -- a swig of good whiskey while sitting around a campfire is tough to beat. But what about late afternoon, post-hike cocktails when you want something a bit more refreshing? That’s where a flask really comes to shine.
Filling your flask with a solid base mixing alcohol like vodka or white rum/tequila/whiskey opens up all kinds of new possibilities for refreshments in the woods. GSI has a ton of different flasks available, from beautiful stainless ones you will want to show off to handy soft ones that provide all the benefits of a flask in a lighter package. View all of them RIGHT HERE.
Now onto the fun part! Backcountry cocktails!
Backcountry Berry Mojito
This one (and most of these recipes) can be customized depending on what region you are in and what local fruit or berries might be in season.
- Bring along a plastic bag to keep in your pocket while you’re hiking into your campsite. As you hike, keep an eye out for whatever local, edible berries are native to whatever region you’re hiking in. Fill bag with said berries.
- Once you’ve reached your campsite, fill your camp cup about a quarter of the way with berries and add some white rum to cover them.
- Muddle! Whatever camping utensils you have usually work pretty well, or if you want the most authentic backcountry bartending experience possible, find a stick and whittle it to strip the bark and make a smooth, blunt end. Mash those berries and rum together until they’re a smooth consistency, kind of like runny jelly.
- Add some icy-cold fresh water filtered out of a nearby stream or lake.
Water Bottle Daiquiri
Similar to the Backcountry Berry Mojito, this one relies on some local berries to concoct.
- Take some berries and fill your water bottle about ⅓ full.
- Add some white rum to cover those berries.
- Since blenders aren’t exactly common in the backcountry, here’s where you need to get a little creative. Grab a few smooth, cold rocks from a stream or the edge of a lake, give them a quick scrub and drop them in your water bottle. Now shake. You don’t have to go crazy, but give them enough shaking to pulverize those berries.
- Once they’re good and broken up, add a bit more cool water filtered from a lake or stream, give it another shake, spoon out the rocks and then pour into cups.
Pro tip: We love the Glacier Stainless Dukjug because the stainless steel construction won’t impart flavors from your cocktails the next time you fill it up with water.
If you’re visiting an area where local fruit isn’t readily the most reliable option, you can always count on a good old Emergen-C® Margarita
- Add about two shots of tequila into your camp cup
- Mix in a packet of Emergen-C® -- citrus provides the closes flavor to an authentic margarita but don’t limit yourself
- Stir and enjoy!
- If you’re hiking in an area that has patches of snow within a short distance, stash that bag of berries and your flask under a foot of snow for an hour or so to get them nice and cold.
- If snow isn’t an option, submerging your flask and/or bag of berries in alpine lakes and streams does a nice job of cooling them down.
Next time you hike into the woods for a backcountry trip, don’t forget the flask and some research on local fruit. You’ll be cooler than MacGuyver escaping to safety on a jet ski.