To set the scene.
It’s been a long day on the water. The shop said the PMD’s would come off and it should be epic. Of course, when we got down to the water all was still and we got the ” should’ve been here last week” from a guide at the ramp. Being stubborn we launched the boat and attempted to fish dries for no avail. Not wanting to fish a nymph rig in the heat of the summer, we threw streamers for the rest of the day. One small fish comes to the net that day, as we tuck our tails between our legs at the takeout and head to camp.
As soon as we get back to camp, the day is forgotten with the arrival of a few shot glasses and a bottle of whiskey. After a couple of whiskey shots, the grill is fired up, the vices are pulled out, and a gameplan is being discussed over a couple of Whiskey Gingers. A couple turns into a few and a few turns into karaoke around the campfire, putting the hard day behind you. The vices are put away, the fires out, and the whiskey is gone, time to look forward to the next day.
A scene that is all too familiar to a fly fisherman.
In this article, I’m looking to help add a little bit of versatility to your campfire cocktails, to add a little creativity at the vice, and to help that singing voice at the campfire.
To start things off:
The “poor man’s margarita” replacing the margarita mix with grapefruit soda. We’re talking about packability here, would a blender and 5th of mix be nice, absolutely. But Paloma’s are not just a replacement. They truly are fantastic on a hot summer day. A bit of Ice, grapefruit soda (Jarritos or Bundaberg are favorites), a splash of tequila and lime. Easy and delicious.
I feel as if this drink is not highlighted enough. Whether you use ginger ale or a ginger beer the pop of ginger with the Whiskey is the quintessential summertime campfire drink in my opinion. If you want to fancy it up you can make a Kentucky mule with mint, a copper cup, and ginger beer. Just from the easiness and taste factor, the Whiskey Ginger should be an essential for your campfire drink list.
7 & 7
The good ol’ 7 & 7. It doesn’t get much easier than this. Seagram’s 7 and a splash of 7up with a wedge of lime or lemon. You can exchange the Seagrams for your preference of whiskey but then it truly isn’t a 7 & 7. Typically the drink calls for a half and half, but cmon, you’re camping! *Responsibly of course.*
Dark & Stormy
Basically the Whiskey Ginger but with rum. With your choice of dark rum “preferably Gosling’s Black Seal Rum” (There’s a backstory to that). A hint of lime juice and Ginger Beer, not ale. Now more on that backstory; “In 1806, an early Gosling family member sailed from England bound for Virginia. He didn’t make it to America—the sea was too still—so the ship headed for the nearest dock instead, which happened to be in Bermuda. There, he used his family background in spirits to create the recipe for Gosling’s aged black rum. On another part of the island after World War I, British naval officers were brewing up ginger beer to combat seasickness. They swirled the two together in a cup, a sailor allegedly commented it looked “the color of a cloud-only a fool or a dead man would sail under,” and the Dark and Stormy was christened.”
A little bit of the oddball but its simplicity is what makes it so good. Crown Royal and sprite. Maybe a lime if you are feeling adventurous. Best served cold with a squeeze of lime and lime wedge creates an easy-drinking summertime favorite.
Ok ya, it may just be a Rum and Coke but it sounds way better this way. After a tough day on the water or an insane dry fly day, this classic mixed drink cures and celebrates no matter the occasion.
Well in technical terms it may not be a Moscow Mule unless it’s in a copper cup. But around the campfire, these technicalities get thrown out the window. The true and simple Moscow mule is the quintessential classic cocktail. With a mix of lime, ginger beer, mint, and vodka it’shard to get better. From celebrating big fish and mourning lost fish this drink cures all with its refreshing brightness. Now in terms of simplicity, you could use ginger ale but might I add that ginger beer will significantly improve this classic.
In my opinion, the John Daly, which is just a Vodka spiked lemonade iced tea, is the most summer oriented drink on this list besides a classic margarita. Whether you’re taking a shore lunch or telling fish stories around the table this classic refreshing drink is an essential to your camping drink list.
Maybe the beer is low, maybe your not a tequila person, or maybe the under-appreciated Greyhound is your favorite drink. Serve cold with grapefruit juice, ice, a squeeze of lime and the most important part, vodka. Grapefruit soda is also an option for creating a Paloma with vodka.
Irish coffee (for the hair of the dog)
It’s been a long night, drinks were consumed, stories were told, and flies were tied but it’s a 6 am wake up call what do you do to battle the slow morning? Hop right back on the train! (Responsibly) of course. With some fresh coffee in the morning, throw some of that whiskey from the night before in the mug and get on the water. The easiest of them all.
Extra: Boiler Maker
It’s the last night of the yearly fishing trip. Fish were caught, old stories are told, big fish were lost, and the laughter was contagious. No one needs to take the whiskey or beer home, everyone has said they are taking a “week break”. Well, why not combine the two. I introduce the Boiler Maker. All you need is your choice of beer and whiskey, your good friends, a fire, good music, and shot glasses. Pour out shots, drop them into your beer, chug, and repeat.