Happy Hour

Drinks For Camping

It’s finally spring, and not a moment too soon. With this new season comes the start of another one as well: camping season! Whether this means escaping city life for a few days, going on a scenic summer vacation or attending a music festival, pitching a tent presents us with the perfect opportunity to try some new flavors around the campfire. Here are my picks for drinks to bring on your next adventure.

Whiskey is an obvious choice for camping. It works great in a flask, is good enough to drink on its own, mixes well with sodas and even can be helpful for cleaning wounds. There is also something magical about passing a bottle around the campfire with your friends. For camping trips, I like whiskey with a little more power. Skip the Canadian and Irish whiskeys, which can be lighter in style, and go for American whiskeys or bourbon. Knob Creek does a killer rye whiskey that will wrap around you like a warm blanket. If you want to be really festive, try High West’s Campfire Whiskey. It has a great smokey aftertaste.

irish cream
This choice might sound a little strange, but most campsites have coffee, right? Boiled coffee leaves much to be desired in terms of taste. Milk spoils easily and uses valuable cooler space, so you can either muscle through the taste or bring some Irish cream and live it up in the morning! Its lower alcohol percentage won’t cause you any trouble. Bailey’s is a good go-to, but check out Five Farms Single Batch Irish Cream Liqueur, too. This boutique-style Irish cream is crafted from fresh cream sourced entirely from five family farms in County Cork, Ireland. Once you taste it, you surely will make space for it in your backpack.

Like whiskey, tequila is a liquor you can drink straight. My advice is to spend a few extra dollars and make sure it’s 100 percent agave. If not, you’re probably drinking tequila-flavored vodka, which can make for a nasty hangover—not something you want on your drive back home. Silver, añejo and reposado tequilas are all great options. Brands like Patron and Don Julio are fine, but if you want to try something special, go for Tequila Ocho or Corzo Tequila.

No camping trip would be complete without beer, and what kind to bring is a personal and often nostalgic decision. If your dad brought Coors when you camped together, chances are you might do the same. Bring beer that fits the weather. If there are chilly nights in the forecast, brown ales or stouts are appropriate. Civil Life Brown Ale is a great local beer. If the weather is super hot, bring light beer. Personally, I enjoy Mexican beer with limes. Tecate is a great choice. Light Mexican beer has a lower alcohol content, which won’t sneak up on you under the hot sun. Don’t pack glass bottles; many sites don’t allow them.

new zealand/australian wine
One really annoying thing on a camping trip is having a bottle of wine but no corkscrew. Most New Zealand and Australian wines come with a screw cap called a Stelvin closure. To dispel the myth, screw caps don’t mean lesser quality. They’re great for convenience, but they also ensure that the wine won’t be ‘corked’ or faulted. If you want white wine, go for a New Zealand sauvignon blanc. Any bottle more than $15 will do, and it’s one of those wines you can drink right out of the bottle. For reds, I would go for an Australian grenache or shiraz/syrah, which are big enough to stand up to campfire cooking. Check out Kilikanoon for grenache and Elderton for shiraz.

anthony’s fireside picks

High West Campfire Whiskey | $67.99

Five Farms Irish Cream | $29.99

Corzo Silver Tequila | $50.99

Tecate beer | $16.99/case (18)

Oyster Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018 | $14.99


Anthony Geary is sommelier at the Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis.