The Best Backcountry Cocktails

Best Backcountry Cocktails

Venturing into the heart of the wilderness is a pursuit that calls for more than just sturdy boots and a sense of adventure. It also calls for a tasty drink at the end of the day. From remote mountain summits to secluded campfires, here are some of our favorite cocktails designed to elevate your backcountry escapades. Raise your camping mug to the intersection of mixology and the great outdoors, where every sip becomes a moment to savor the grandeur of the wild.

Rum and coffee – Elevated Espresso or Backcountry Brew

Elevate your campfire coffee with VARA Corona de Oro Gold Rum, creating a warm and inviting blend perfect for cool nights above the treeline.


  • 2 ounces of your favorite camp coffee
  • 1 oz VARA Corona de Oro Gold Rum


Brew your favorite espresso or campfire coffee. We love the Nanopresso for making espresso in the backcountry. For all the ultralight fans, instant espresso packs a similar punch while taking up less pack weight. If you’re making campfire coffee, brew it extra strong.

  • Add 2 ounces of coffee to your camp mug.
  • Add in 1 oz of Corona de Oro Gold Rum.
  • Enjoy this spirited concoction while sharing ghost stories under the desert stars.
  • This drink pairs well with s’mores. Not a coffee drinker? Substitute hot chocolate for the coffee.

Citrus Sunset Refresher

Quench your thirst with a zesty twist! Our Painted Sky Vodka, with its notes of lemon peel and fresh desert herbs, pairs perfectly with citrus drinks.


  • 6 oz of your favorite lemonade (Bring a packet of lemonade mix or powdered lemon and some water to mix it up, or pack in a small travel bottle of your favorite homemade lemonade.)
  • 2 oz VARA Painted Sky Vodka


Add 6 oz of lemonade to your camp tumbler. If you’re using a lemonade mix or powdered lemon, add water according to the package directions to make 6 oz.

Add 2 oz of VARA Painted Sky Vodka to your camp cup.

Add ice or snow if you have it.

Ideal for summit breaks or post-hike cooldowns, this drink embodies the spirit of the high desert.

As a twist on this recipe, bring some iced tea (or iced tea mix) and turn your spiked lemonade into a Spiked Arnold Palmer with half tea and half lemonade.

High Desert Gin & Tonic

Craft the perfect backcountry G&T using VARA High Desert Gin.


  • 6 oz of tonic water – we like to pack in concentrated tonic syrup (Soda Press Co’s syrup is a favorite) and then add water when we get to camp. If you have a bit of space and weight left in your pack, or if you’re car camping, bring some smaller cans of Fever-Tree tonic water.
  • 2 oz VARA High Desert Gin
  • 0.5 oz fresh lime juice (fresh lime or pre-squeezed)
  • Ice cubes or snow (optional, if available)


If you’re using tonic syrup, add water according to the package directions to make 200 ml of tonic water in your camp tumbler or shaker.

  • Add 2 oz of VARA High Desert Gin to your camp cup.
  • Add ice or snow if you have it.
  • Gently pour in 6 oz of tonic water.
  • Add in .50 ounce of lime juice. Gently stir to combine.
  • Enjoy while watching the sunset after setting up camp or stargazing before bed.
  • Introduce a wild element: To bring out different notes in the gin, include a few juniper berries or a sprig of sagebrush from that bush you passed on the trail.

High Desert Horizon Punch

This is the perfect cocktail to celebrate the end of the trail. Set up camp and then settle in with this cocktail, crafted with VARA Estrella Blanca Rum


  • 2 oz Estrella Blanca Rum
  • 1 oz ginger syrup (pre-made or homemade)
  • 0.5 oz fresh lime juice (carry a small container or pre-squeeze)
  • 4 oz coconut water (in a lightweight, sealable container)
  • Ice cubes or snow (optional, if available)


  • Add 2 oz of VARA Estrella Blanca Rum to your camp cup or compact shaker.
  • Add 1 oz of ginger syrup to infuse a hint of spice into your cocktail.
  • Squeeze 0.5 oz of fresh lime juice directly into the cup for a burst of citrus.
  • Pour in 4 oz of coconut water for a refreshing and hydrating twist.
  • Add a few ice cubes or a handful of snow to chill your backcountry punch, if available.
  • Secure the lid and give it a good shake to mix the ingredients.

Enjoy while taking in the scenic views of the backcountry.

Backcountry drinking tips

Enjoy responsibly

Remember, staying hydrated is essential, especially when enjoying the outdoors. Drink responsibly when you are out on the trail. Better yet, save the cocktails for the end of your hike.

Use the right container

Nobody wants to pack in a glass bottle. Your favorite camping supply store will have a variety of lightweight, travel-size bottles and flasks to help you transport your spirits and mixers of choice when space and weight are important.

Pack it in, pack it out

Whatever ingredients you pack in to create your backcountry libations, be sure to pack them back out. Nobody wants to leave a trace behind.

In search of the right tools for your backcountry bar kit? Check out our article on Building the Perfect Portable Bar for Outdoor Adventures

Share photos of your backcountry cocktails using VARA Spirits. Tag #VARAinthewild on Instagram. 

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