Wilderness Cocktail Hour
A few years ago, I had the great honor of attending the inaugural Caineville “Goat Camp,” hosted by Salt Lake City–based Caputo’s Market in a remote corner of red rock country near Capitol Reef National Park. At the off-road Cathedral Valley Campground, we—20 chefs, food educators, and I (the lone writer)—dined together, shared spirits, and were immersed in the art of making truly magnificent goat cheese with the guidance of nearby Mesa Farm’s founder, Randy Ramsley. Long story short, if you ever get the chance to camp with a posse of food artisans, it’s highly recommended.
It’s also the approach to good eating in camp that my husband of 20-plus years and I take with our family, whether we’re backpacking in the high Uintas, sharing a riverbank snack after a day of fly fishing, or tailgating with friends. After all, great locally made artisan foods take up only slightly more room in the pack as do prepackaged dehydrated sodium and sugar bombs, but they taste immeasurably better. Top off a charcuterie grazing board with a premixed cocktail poured from a chilled canteen and embrace great outdoors noshing with style.
Choosing a variety of flavors and textures is key to a great charcuterie-and-cheese board in any setting. And humans have been indulging in the relatively shelf-stable pleasures of hearty bread, artisan salamis, cheeses, and dried fruits since long before there were such things as vacuum-sealed packaging.
Pro tip: Pack more fragile or messy items—like soft cheeses, fresh berries, or brined olives—in reusable lightweight, leak-resistant tiffin tins or plastic bento boxes. These containers work equally well for packing out messy food packaging in responsible, leave-no-trace fashion.
Park City Creamery Hidden Treasure
Made in the neighboring Heber Valley by cheese artisan Corinne Cornet-Zinn, this creamy brie-style mini wheel of cheese with truffles is perfect served at room temperature.
Mesa Farm’s Mesa Tomme
A semi-hard alpine-style raw goat’s milk cheese made in Caineville, Utah, has a fine texture and mild, grassy notes.
Red Bicycle Breadworks
Park City’s go-to for eminently packable classic crusty baguettes or savory olive oil and sea salt–basted stick bread. Why not get both?
Creminelli Fine Meats’ Finocchio Salami
This uncured Tuscan-style salami’s bright, zippy flavor profile comes from the inclusion of organic fennel. Made in Utah by Cristiano Creminelli, whose family has been making artisan salami around Biella, Italy, since the 1600s.
Conservas (tinned seafood)
The ultimate campsite good eats. Try Lulas de Caldeirada spiced calamari in ragout and Patagonia Provisions’ lemon-herb mussels or paprika mackerel.
Ritual Chocolate S’mores Bar
It’s a ready-to-go campfire treat, no marshmallow flame-ups involved. This 70% cacao bar is produced in Park City with caramelized sugar, crushed graham crackers, and possibly unicorn tears. It’s that good.
Snackable Extras: candied orange or tangerine wheels (these will also be used for your cocktail garnish), salted Manzanilla olives, smoked almonds, fresh or dried fruits.
These specialty items are also available at The Market at Park City, 1500 Snow Creek Dr, 435.731.5062.
Throw-in-the-pack kitchen supplies
- Cutting surface: inexpensive flexible, foldable plastic cutting mats are durable and lightweight and also work as a serving platter
- Tiffin boxes or other leak-proof, lightweight, collapsible storage containers
- Multitool or foldable knife
- Canteen for cocktails, preferably a leak-proof, 24+ hour guaranteed cold canteen in the 12- to 16-ounce range (such as Corkcicle classic canteen)
- Cups/mugs for serving camp cocktails!
Secrets to a Great Camp Cocktail
Advances in cold canteen technology mean that it’s never been easier to mix a cocktail at home and—voila!—your perfectly chilled camp beverage is ready to be served, even after a long, hot day on the trail. The key? Premeasure ingredients and ice by weight: it’s better to have a slightly over-proof cocktail that you cut with a little ice water to taste than to start with a watered-down concoction.
Bonanza Flats Boulevardier
Makes one, multiply as needed
- 1.5 oz Waterpocket Distillery’s Robbers Roost Barrel Strength
- Light Whiskey
- 0.5 oz Campari
- 0.5 oz New World Distillery’s Tart
- Cherry Liqueur
- 2–3 dashes Honest John Orange Bitters
- 2 oz ice cubes
Method: Add all ingredients to the canteen, including ice. Just before serving, swirl gently to dissolve any remaining ice chunks.
Pour into a mug or cup, and garnish with a candied orange wheel.