5 Ways to Class Up Your Camping Cocktail Game

So you’ve got your vintage Airstream all decked out in mid-century swag—sunburst clocks & antique wood paneling got you livin’ like Don Draper. The only thing missing? The means to drink like Don Draper—that’s where we come in. And because we can’t resist the urge to call on our favorite cocktail geniuses, we got the makers of the camping cocktail must-have Mason Shaker and Shake: A New Perspective On Cocktails to take a break from promoting their badass new book Infuse: Oil, Spirit, Water to tell us a thing or two about how to drink in the great outdoors.

Below, co-founder of W&P Design Josh Williams tells us how to drink in style in the great outdoors—recipes below the interview.

Hipcamp: Hi! Let’s start things off with you telling me how you guys got started making cocktails together.

Josh Williams: We were roommates while in undergrad at UVA. One day, we were shaking up some cocktails with friends and decided to try to rig a mason jar into a cocktail shaker—the result was a bit messy, but the idea always stuck with us. Almost a decade later, we decided to return to that idea and really give it a go. We ended up funding the Mason Shaker through Kickstarter and from there, created our food and beverage design company, W&P Design.

HC: Describe a typical day at your Bushwick warehouse space.

JW: There is no such thing as a typical day here! On any given day you can find us testing cocktail recipes, shooting images for our website, designing new products or coming together to brainstorm.

HC: Ok, brass tax time: what are your favorite cocktails to make outdoors?

JW: There are so many! Now that it’s summer, you can’t beat a classic Gin & Tonic. We like homemade gin that we’ve made with our Homemade Gin Kit and top it with Boylan Heritage Tonic, a tonic water that we created in collaborating with Boylan Bottling Co. that’s crafted for cocktails. Add some mint, cucumber, lime, and you’re good to go!

HC: Tell us about a time you crafted a cocktail out of foraged/wild ingredients.

JW: We travel down to the Foxfield horse races in Charlottesville, VA each spring. Mint juleps are the go-to-cocktail for the day, and in the early morning on race-day we walk the fences of our good friend’s farm to pick some of the wild mint that grows there. At one point it was planted in his garden but it has since spread wild across the property.

HC: What are some of your favorite spots for basking in the great outdoors?

JW: We enjoy heading up to Belfast, Maine where there is a remote lake that’s great for escaping the city to relax. It’s the perfect spot for canoeing, fishing, hiking, and of course, sipping on a cocktail or two.

HC: Where do you head when you just need to get out of New York for the weekend?

JW: We love heading out to Montauk during the summer. We actually moved our office to a house there for the month of June! Montauk has some of the best seafood, surfing and wild beaches of any shore near New York City.

HC: Your new book Infuse is (pardon the pun) steeped in a love of fresh-picked, full-flavored ingredients and making the most of nature’s bounty. What advice do you have for folks who want to create infusions of their own while camping?

JW: One of our favorite ways to bring the campfire to your cocktail is by setting a sprig of rosemary aflame and enclosing it in a cocktail shaker with a cocktail for a few seconds. This simple and quick process infuses your cocktail with smoke and makes for a delicious libation. We highly recommend testing out the process with the classic whiskey sour. Don’t have rosemary? Try a sprig of pine needles instead.

HC: We have a lot of readers who practically live out of their campers (and some who literally do). What are your top ten ingredients for stocking a minimalist home bar in, say, a vintage Airstream.

JW: Here are our top ten ingredients for a minimalist home bar:

  • Spirits: we suggest keeping to a maximum of five bottles, one each of bourbon, gin, vodka, rum, and tequila.
  • Aromatic bitters
  • Citrus bitters
  • Cane sugar cubes
  • Sweet Vermouth
  • Dry Vermouth
  • Olives
  • Boylan Heritage Tonic
  • Club Soda
  • Ginger Beer

HC: You guys lead verrrrry busy lives these days, making cocktails on live TV by day and doing guest stints at your favorite bars by night. What do you do when you aren’t working?

JW: When you do what you love, the line between working and not working is almost indistinguishable! That being said, if we aren’t in the office you would probably find us entertaining friends over good food and drinks.

HC: If you could camp anywhere in the United States, where would you go?

JW: A tie between Acadia National Park in Maine and the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.

The Campfire Sour

Makes two cocktails

  • 3 Shots Rye Whiskey
  • 1 & 1/2 Shots Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 3/4 Shot Maple Syrup
  • 1 Sprig Rosemary (plus 2 for garnish)

1) Add Rye Whiskey, Lemon Juice and Maple Syrup to the Mason Shaker.

2) Light sprig of Rosemary on fire, and add to the shaker. Cap and seal shaker, and let stand for 30 seconds so mixture can infuse with smoke.

3) Add ice, and shake for 15 seconds

4) Strain over large cubes of ice. Garnish with remaining rosemary.

The Mint Julep

Makes two drinks

  • 4 shots bourbon
  • 1 handful of fresh mint leaves (plus a few for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons Demerara cane sugar

1) Add the mint leaves and cane sugar to the Mason Shaker.

2) Muddle the ingredients in the bottom of the shaker until thoroughly crushed.

3) Add the bourbon and ice and shake for 5 seconds.

4) Strain into julep cups filled with crushed ice and garnish with remaining mint leaves.

Spring Gin & Tonic

Makes one cocktail

  • 1 shot gin (we like Hendrick’s)
  • 1/4 hot lime juice
  • 3 slices cucumber (plus 2 for garnish)
  • 2 sprigs mint (plus 1 for garnish)
  • Boylan Heritage Tonic (available for purchase at boylanheritage.com)

1) Add the cucumber and mint to the Mason Shaker, and muddle until crushed.

2) Add the lime juice and gin to the Shaker. Add ice to above the liquid, and shake vigorously for 5 seconds.

3) Strain the mixture into a collins glass, fill with Boylan Heritage Tonic, and garnish with remaining cucumber and mint.

The Spiced Cranberry Cider

Makes Two Cocktails

  • 20 fresh cranberries (plus several to garnish)
  • 1/2 shot lemon juice
  • 2 cubes of cane sugar
  • 2 pinches each of ground allspice, cinnamon and cloves
  • 1 & 1/2 shots applejack
  • 12 oz hard cider
  • Sliced apple and cinnamon sticks (to garnish)

1) Add the cranberries, lemon juice, cane sugar and ground spices to the Mason Shaker.

2) Muddle the ingredients until crushed and the sugar has mostly dissolved.

3) Add the applejack and ice to above the level of the liquid. Cap and shake for 5 seconds.

4) Strain into collins glasses containing cubes of ice and top with hard cider. Garnish with sliced apple and cinnamon sticks.

Hipcamp Staff

Hipcamp is an online marketplace where you can list, discover, and book campsites and accommodations on private and public land. Hipcamp is your go-to guide to getting outside. If you’re a landowner, Hipcamp creates new revenue streams for your business, which can help conserve your land and keep it wild. #FindYourselfOutside #LeaveItBetter

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