The best hot drinks for camping: 7 alcoholic and non-alcoholic wilderness pick-me-ups

best hot drinks for camping: drinking coffee in camp
A hot beverage is just the ticket in the great outdoors (Image credit: Getty Images)

That first beverage after doing something momentous is always the best. Whether it's a beer in a mountain pub after a long winter climb or a hot chocolate around the campfire after a day spent adventuring with the family. On a brisk night at a campsite, there's nothing better than a backcountry bellywarmer.

I'm here with 7 of my best hot drinks for camping. These alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails are tried and tested favorites that have warmed the cockles of my heart, and my campmates' too, on many occasions.

The recipes require a bit of planning so that you have the right ingredients, but part of the fun is the process of making them over a camping stove or over a campfire with your friends and family. All you'll need then is your best camping mug and a tale or two to tell.

Do remember to behave responsibly when building a campfire and you should aim to leave no trace when you break camp. Make use of a readymade campfire area at a campsite, or choose a portable fire pit if you are wild camping.

Meet the expert

best women's waterproof jackets: Fiona and the jacket
Fiona Russell

Fiona's passion for the outdoors has seen her tick off all of Scotland's 282 Munro summits and camp in all kinds of weird and wonderful spots. She's a huge fan of a piping hot beverage and shares her 7 favorites here.

Hot chocolate cocktail

campfire drinks

Plan ahead and make delicious camping cocktails (Image credit: Getty Images)

This is a hot chocolate – but so much more than that! First make a hot chocolate/cocoa in as simple, or extravagant, way as you want. For example, you could add hot water to a sachet of hot chocolate powder. Or, warm milk in a pan over a stove and add a swirling hot chocolate stick. For extra luxury, pour in some cream, too.

With the warming hot chocolate still in the pan, add 2 tablespoons of honey. Remove form the heat and pour into a mug.

Next add a shot of whisky and add a couple of marshmallows. Everyone has marshmallows at a campfire, right?

Mulled cider

best hot drinks for camping: nice smell

Mulled cider tastes great and smells incredible (Image credit: Getty Images)

Not only does this hot drink taste divine but it also smells amazing. You’ll need a litre bottle of cider (if you plan to make enough to share with your campfire friends), 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, a few cloves, a couple of cinnamon sticks and around 6 to 8 tablespoons of rum (dark rum is best).

Gently heat all of the ingredients together in a pan over a camping stove or campfire and once the sugar dissolves it’s ready to pour into camping mugs. Add half a cinnamon stick to decorate the drinks.

This sounds delicious doesn’t it? You will definitely need to plan ahead for making this hot drink but it will bring a wow factor to an evening around the campfire.

Cinnamon hot buttered rum

best hot drinks for camping: hot one

Rum is best enjoyed hot (Image credit: Getty Images)

The cocktail is made in two parts and for ease you could make the first part, the spiced syrup, at home then bring it with you.

Alternatively, it’s easy enough to make the syrup in a small pan over a fire. Simply combine a cinnamon stick, 4 cloves, the juice of half a lemon, half a camping cup of sugar and half a cup of water. Cook gently until all of the sugar has dissolved and then set aside to cool.

Next, create the butter by mixing together half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 8 tablespoons of butter and a cup of brown sugar to form a paste.

To create the cocktail, divide the butter into four mugs. Pour a measure of rum into each mug and add a teaspoon of the syrup. Add boiling water and stir until the butter has dissolved. Now let the warming camping cocktail cool a little before sipping.

Hot white Russian

best hot drinks for camping: wild camp

A hot white Russian while wild camping? Why not? (Image credit: Getty Images)

This cocktail is a tasty balance of creamy coffee and vodka. It is simple but surprisingly good.

To create a hot white Russian while camping, simply make a brew with your coffee maker. Are you the type of camper that brings a cafetière (that's British – well, French actually – for a French press) or uses an AeroPress?

Pour the black coffee into a camping mug, add warm cream or milk, plus a shot of Kahlua (coffee liqueur) and half a shot of vodka.

Hot gin punch

best hot drinks for camping: friends

Friends have been enjoying hot gin punch since the Victorian times (Image credit: Getty Images)

This recipe is said to have been a favorite of the Victorians. Bring it into the 21st century with your own campfire version.

This recipe will serve several people and you could make it before you head off for a camping trip, then warm through over a camping stove or campfire. 

Add 150g of brown sugar, the grated zest of a lemon, the juice of the lemon and 600ml of water to a pan. 

Warm through and allow to simmer for about five minutes. Next add 300ml of gin (whatever brand you fancy)  and 200ml of sherry (you can miss out the sherry but it does add a nice extra flavor). 

Gently bring to a boil and allow to simmer for a few minutes before taking off the heat. Serve with thinly sliced lemon and add more sugar to taste if you want.

Non-alcoholic mulled wine

best hot drinks for camping: campfire hot drink

Non-alcoholic mulled wine is a treat around the campfire (Image credit: Getty Images)

You can go for a simple version of this traditional warming favourite, or take your time around the campfire to make a more authentic drink.

You’ll need a couple of oranges, sliced, and a litre of cranberry juice (buy a couple of cartons). For an easy recipe, buy a mulled wine spice pack from the supermarket. Alternatively, take you own mix from your store cupboard at home including  2 cinnamon sticks, 3 star anise, 4 cloves and a big pinch of ground nutmeg.

Gently heat all of the ingredients together until warmed through. The longer you cook this for, the richer the spice taste will be. Serve with half a stick of cinnamon each.

Peppermint hot chocolate

best hot drinks for camping: cheers

Cheers! (Image credit: Getty Images)

For a simple twist on a great camping favorite, make hot chocolate/cocoa (either with a powder mix or milk and a chocolate stirring stick). Then steep a peppermint tea bag in a cup of boiling water for five minutes. Remove the tea bag and add your hot chocolate mix. 

For an adult drink, with extra kick, add a shot of peppermint schnapps.

Once you have tried a campfire cocktail or two, the chances are the beer will be left unpacked on your next camping trip.

Fiona Russell
Outdoor writer

Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favorite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing (both downhill and backcountry). Aside from her own adventures, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy getting outside and exploring, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.

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