We understand what life is like as a weekend warrior. On Friday night, you load up your gear, hit the road, and start your adventure. Saturday is jam-packed with outdoor activities and sightseeing. Sundays are reserved for your last attraction on the itinerary before hitting the road to head back home. You are constantly on the move and love to get the most out of your time.
Still, there is nothing like relaxing by the fire after a long day. One of the best additions to unwinding at night at your campsite is the perfect camping cocktail. Your adventure van is likely assembled based on your exact standards, and most do not have room for a full bar cart.
Check out these recipes for easy cocktails that are both delicious and space-efficient:
Camping Cocktail Recipes: The Basics
We have curated this list to be totally camper friendly. No blender or shaker is needed for any of these recipes — less thing to add to your packing list. Other techniques, like using your reusable metal straw as a stir stick, will make good use of the things you have to pack.
If the kitchen in your van is on the smaller side, you can still make all of these cocktails. We recommend packing a camper folding table so you can make your drinks without worrying about a lack of space during your next camping trip.
Many of these cocktails have fruit at the center. This means that you can take advantage of the fresh fruit sold in the summer and change up the cocktails to reflect what fruit is most abundant in your area. Or, even better, hit up local farmers’ markets on your trip.
Lastly, any of the liquors in these cocktails can be skipped or exchanged for a non-alcoholic spirit to make an exciting and refreshing mocktail.
1. Blackberry Citrus Old Fashioned Cocktail
Our first recommendation is a spin on a classic cocktail. The Blackberry Citrus Old Fashioned Cocktail doesn’t require ice, which is an excellent option if you don’t have any on hand at your campsite. Plus, this cocktail uses oranges and blackberries, which is convenient because oranges don’t spoil or bruise, and you can toss the rinds right into your campfire if safety permits.
This recipe requires sugar, so feel free to get a few packets at a gas station or any pit stop when you are on your way to the campsite.
To make this cocktail:
- Dissolve one teaspoon of sugar in a glass with a splash of water.
- Add in four blackberries and 2 ½-inch thick half-moon slices of orange and muddle them with the back of a spoon.
- Once you’re done, pour in 1.5 oz of whiskey and two dashes of bitters. If you have ice on hand, add a few cubes, which is optional.
2. Campfire Cocktail
This is the quintessential campfire cocktail, inspired by a classic s’more. It may seem a little complicated, but doing some prep at home ahead of your trip will make the process much easier and quicker (and we promise the drink is worth it).
To make this cocktail, you first have to make your simple syrup. If you would rather, you can buy simple syrup at the store, but we will tell you how to make a marshmallow simple syrup, which will enhance your cocktail.
Start by heating one cup of water and one cup of sugar in a saucepan on low to medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Then, add eight to ten marshmallows and increase the heat to medium-high.
Stir the marshmallows frequently until they’re dissolved (about five minutes). Strain the marshmallow simple syrup into an airtight container, and refrigerate it until you’re ready to use it on your trip.
Once ready to make the drink, add six ounces of Rye Whiskey and two ounces of marshmallow simple syrup. Add a toasted marshmallow garnish, and you are ready!
Enjoy this drink next to a fire (s’mores optional). If your campsite doesn’t have a fire pit, pack a portable option.
3. Mason Jar Sangria
Mason Jar Sangria is a fantastic option for camping because you can make it ahead of time, store it in a fridge in your van and drink it over a few days. Sangria is a crowd pleaser and is the perfect sweet drink for a summer evening.
Another great feature of this drink is that it’s customizable. Our instructions call for red wine, but you can exchange it for white or rose. Additionally, we recommend using lemonade for the perfect summer drink, but you can exchange it for orange juice if you prefer
To make this drink, start by pouring one bottle of red wine, one cup of lemonade, and ¼ cup of whiskey into a pitcher. Cut up six ounces of blackberries, five large strawberries, and one granny smith apple and distribute them between six mason jars.
Pour the liquids into the mason jars, muddle the fruit slightly, and store them in the fridge for at least four hours before drinking. Once you are ready to enjoy one, top it off with some sparkling water and enjoy.
If your van lacks a fridge or storage space for your ingredients, install a galley for your van. This will give you all the space you need.
4. Blueberry Mojito Summer Smash
The blueberry mojito summer smash screams summertime since it’s sweet and uses fresh fruit.
To start, tear up two to three mint leaves and put them at the bottom of your cup or glass. Add a small handful of blueberries or whatever berry is freshest in your area, and muddle the leaves and berries together.
Add a little bit of lemon or lime juice and 1.5 ounces of bourbon, and stir it. You can also top it with sparkling water if you want something not as strong. Or you can avoid the alcohol altogether and replace the bourbon with flavored sparkling water.
Our last recommendation, the Paloma, is a classic cocktail that can be customized to fit your preferences. It is also a relatively easy recipe to whip them up quickly inside your van.
The recipe usually uses grapefruit juice, but feel free to exchange it for the juice of your favorite fruit. This drink is effortless to turn into a mocktail. Just swap the tequila for plain or flavored sparkling water, and you have a lovely drink on your hands!
Start by adding grapefruit juice to the rim of your glass and dipping it in a small plate of salt. Then you can add two ounces of tequila, ½ ounce of lime juice, ½ ounce of grapefruit juice, a teaspoon of agave (or another sweetener of your choice), and fill with sparkling water to the top. Stir your drink with a spoon or your reusable straw, and enjoy!
A Toast to the Adventures Ahead
Now that you have the recipes for the five best camping cocktails, you are ready for your next summer weekend. Feel free to customize these recipes to fit your taste preferences or whatever you have on hand in your van. For non-alcoholic beverages, camping favorites include kombucha, ginger beer, apple cider, and hot chocolate.
Drinking (responsibly) can be a great way to unwind at the end of a busy day and share a fun night with your fellow weekend warriors.