Guides

Charred Citrus Camping Cocktails

by Carlin FrimmelSep 30, 2022

Looking for something to sip around the campfire? Try these easy camping cocktails with a fun smoky twist on your next camping trip! 

We all know that the key component to a great night sitting around the campfire with friends or family is something delicious to sip in your hand. Whatever your go-to drink may be—be it hot chocolate, a cup of tea, or your favorite beer—it can still be fun to try something new once in a while, and these two campfire cocktails are a great place to start! 

Try the Grilled Lime Moscow Mule for a refreshing spin on the popular vodka buck, or make the Burnt Orange Old Fashioned for a smoky twist on this classic whiskey cocktail. With just a handful of simple ingredients, you can create fun and delicious camping cocktails in just a few minutes.

Why Char Fruit for Camping Cocktails?

Hand holds tongs that grip charred slices of citrus on a camp stove grill.

Charring the fruit over open flame causes some of the natural oils in the fruit skin to be expressed, enhancing the aroma and adding a slightly richer, smoky flavor to the juice. This makes it truly feel like a campfire cocktail. 

If you don’t have access to an open campfire, like in a fire-ban situation, you can just as easily use a camp grill or a hot pan over a camp stove to sear the fruit. You might not get the same smoky flavor that comes from burnt wood, but you will still get a richer, enhanced flavor from the juice. 

Grilled Lime Moscow Mule 

 A hand squeezes a charred lime into a cocktail.

Makes 1 drink

Ingredients

  • 1 lime 
  • 2 ounces Vodka 
  • ½ cup ginger beer 
  • Mint leaves (for garnish)
  • Ice cubes 

Instructions 

  1. Cut the lime in half, then cut one of the halves into slices for garnish. 
  2. Preheat your grill or use a campfire grate over your campfire. Grill lime pieces on both sides until dark grill marks appear. Remove from the heat.
  3. In a glass, add ice cubes, vodka, ginger beer, lime juice from half the lime, and a few leaves of mint. Garnish with a lime slice on the side of the glass. Stir together and enjoy! 

Burnt Orange Old Fashioned 

Hand places a grilled orange slice on a camping cocktail glass.

Makes 1 drink 

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp sugar 
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters 
  • 2 ounces bourbon whiskey 
  • 1 tsp water 
  • 1 orange 
  • Ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Cut strips of orange peel from half of the orange using a carrot peeler or a sharp knife. Cut the other half of the orange into slices to use for garnish. 
  2. Preheat your grill or use a campfire grate over your campfire. Grill orange pieces on both sides until dark grill marks appear. Remove from the heat.
  3. Add the sugar and bitters to a glass, then add water and stir together until sugar is dissolved.  
  4. Add 1 to 2 ice cubes if desired, then add the bourbon whiskey and gently stir to combine. 
  5. Gently squeeze the orange peel over the rim of the glass to express the oils, then drop into glass to garnish. Add an orange slice on the rim for additional garnish if desired. 

Other Camping Cocktail Ideas Using Charred Fruit 

A hand places slices of citrus on a camping stove.

Use this technique in some of your other favorite cocktails! Some ideas could be:

  • Margarita with charred pineapple, oranges, grapefruit, or pineapple 
  • Mojito with grilled lemon or lime
  • Gin and tonic with charred grapefruit or orange
  • Sangria with grilled citrus, apple, peach, or grapes
  • Bloody Mary (or Caesar) with grilled onion, jalapeno, beans, or bacon

Whether you’re out camping with your significant other or with a group of friends, camping cocktails can be a fun addition to a memorable night around the campfire. Experiment with different types of fruits and drinks and find the one you like best. Happy camping!  

Carlin is a lover of all things outdoors, adventure, and food! She is an avid outdoor enthusiast and enjoys activities like camping, hiking, biking, snowboarding, and surfing—especially in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta and BC, Canada. She combined her passion for food and the outdoors and decided to start her outdoor food blog, Camp Kitchen, where she shares easy, delicious, and approachable recipes for the outdoors. 

Image credit: Carlin Frimmel