Whether they’re celebrating a tag out or frustrated over a missed opportunity, many hunters enjoy relaxing at hunt camp after a long day in the woods with a drink in their hand. Some go for whatever whiskey is available, on the rocks. Others may go for the easy choice — beer. While there’s nothing wrong with those options, why limit yourself when it comes to your post-hunt beverage? I’ve put together a list of our favorite hunt camp cocktails, and while they might require more effort than pouring two fingers of Wild Turkey in a glass with some ice, I promise they’re worth it.
Note: Safety should always come first while hunting and when you’re back at camp. Have a good time with your buddies, but don’t overdo it. Drink responsibly.
1. The Bloody Buck
I’m a big fan of drinks that come equipped with snacks, so naturally a riff on a Bloody Mary would make this list. This one is simple. All you need is vodka, Bloody Mary mix (you can’t go wrong with Zing Zang), bacon (this “duck bacon” would pair beautifully), and deer sticks or jerky strips. You can spruce it up further with celery, pickles, olives or the peppers of your choosing. Enjoy this as an appetizer while that one buddy makes dinner for everyone. Just make sure to pour him one, too.
2. The Made-in-America Mule
Moscow Mules are a favorite at any hipster-ridden city bar, and they’re actually quite good, especially when made with egg whites. But we’re not trying to get that fancy at hunt camp. Skip the frill and showmanship of the original, and instead combine a can of beer (I like Coors), vodka, a splash or two of ginger ale, and freshly squeezed lime juice. If you want it sweet, squeeze in some honey. You can thank me later.
3. The Hemingway
The Hemingway, also called “Death in the Afternoon,” is a cocktail invented by its namesake, Ernest Hemingway, made up of absinthe and champagne. Too fancy for hunt camp? Think again. Pay homage to this legendary African safari hunter, sportfisherman and all-around outdoorsman by nixing the expensive (and illegal, in most places) absinthe with its generic, less dangerous cousin, absente. As Hemingway himself said in “So Red the Nose or Breath in the Afternoon,” the 1935 cocktail recipe book this concoction was originally published in, “Pour one jigger absinthe into a Champagne glass. Add iced Champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness. Drink three to five of these slowly.” (Although that last part might be excessive …)
4. The Sleepy Hunter
While I don’t recommend hunters take the traditional Irish coffee route where they drink first thing in the morning before a hunt, I can endorse the more responsible version of this cold-weather favorite. Now, what I’m about to suggest is unheard of in the hunting community, but hear me out. Bring decaffeinated coffee with you to camp. I know. The blasphemy! But the worst thing you could do after an exhausting day of climbing treestands or tracking game would be to mix caffeine and alcohol. You need to be rested and alert the next morning, especially if you still have a tag to fill. This twist on an Irish coffee is perfect for chilly nights at camp or around the campfire. Pair whatever bourbon you have on hand with the decaffeinated coffee of your choice (hot chocolate works well, too).
5. The Easy Old-Fashioned
An Old Fashioned is a bona fide classic, but getting your hands on bitters or sugar cubes or the proper glasses can be an added hassle. Any mustachioed cocktail connoisseur would be offended at what I’m about to propose, but that’s all a part of the fun, right? Keep this drink simple by mixing together 2-3 oz. of bourbon, club soda, and maple syrup or honey. Serve it in whatever cups your camp has in stock. (Insulated would be best for all of these drinks.) Best served over ice.
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