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Favorite backcountry beverage

Have a favorite trail recipe or technique you'd like to share? Please do! We also like reviews of various trail food products out there. The Backcountry Food Topix forum is the place to discuss all things related to food and nourishment while in the Sierra wilderness (as well as favorite trail head eateries).

Re: Favorite backcountry beverage

Postby Jimr » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:10 pm

I've historically use a red lacquered Sigg bottle for firewater and a silver Sigg for fuel.
In our thirst for freedom, we must be careful not to drink from the cup of bitterness and hatred

- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.



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Re: Favorite backcountry beverage

Postby Strider » Sat Sep 06, 2014 10:27 am

190 proof NSFG (neutral spirits fruit grape) aka high proof, a brandy used to fortify products such as Wild Irish Rose. It is low weight for the potency, can be used to sterilize stream water, as an anitseptic and burner fuel.
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Re: Favorite backcountry beverage

Postby longri » Sat Sep 06, 2014 4:13 pm

Strider wrote:190 proof NSFG (neutral spirits fruit grape)


I'm pretty sure anything stronger than 151 proof isn't legal to sell in California and Nevada. I think the nearest state where you can get it is Arizona.
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Re: Favorite backcountry beverage

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Sep 07, 2014 1:06 pm

longri wrote:I only take 151 proof when I'm being especially obsessive about weight. I drink it straight since it tastes so bad; I don't want to prolong the experience. It burns, but after one or two nights a protective callous forms on my esophagus.If you can deal with the weight beer is pretty hard to beat. I have taken a tall can or a six pack or even a couple of bottles on trips many times. A cool stream or (better) a snow patch to chill them is essential.

Priorities!

There are some 151s that are not too bad to sip on and also good mixers. Lemonhart Demarara 151 comes to mind. In my long-past "mixology" days I'd use that as my "floater" on top of various tropical-styled rum-based mixed drinks. With beer, it isn't so much the problem of weight I worry about (since I don't really worry about weight), but the carbonation and jostling. I've seen too many people open their precious beer and get that tragic foam fountain.

I don't bring alcohol on my trips anymore, but if I did it would probably be wine, probably something to go with the fish I'd plan to eat. Perhaps a Viognier or other Rhone white, a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (the closest wine equivalent to an IPA), or the more conventional (that I'd bring with Judy on our easier trips years ago) Chardonnay. On those trips that dictated the "first act" when getting to the campsite, which was to put the wine in the lake to chill. Otherwise it is rig up to fish first and worry about pitching camp later. If I could get beer to my campsite turning it to a foam fountain, then my camp beverage of choice would be Sierra Nevada Torpedo.

For the last 10 years plus, though, the primary campsite drink has simply been water, with the exception of Gatorade or similar type of drink on the trail (don't like those in camp, only while hiking). I like hot chocolate in the morning, too.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Favorite backcountry beverage

Postby freestone » Sun Sep 07, 2014 4:40 pm

Gin. As straight up as you can get it, in a tin cup, a good quality spirt such as Hendricks. Thats when I took spirits to sip. The last couple of years I have lost my taste for it in the back country so took it off the menu. Now I abstain, and have a Green or Yerba Mate teas instead then stop by Indian Wells Brewery on my way back home and buy whatever they are offering. The morning always begins with Starbucks Via.
Am I allowed one off-topic rant? Empty Via packaging in the fire pit, usually the top tab. Yeah, it's small, but LNT says even the littlest things need to be delt with, please.
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Re: Favorite backcountry beverage

Postby Jimr » Sun Sep 07, 2014 6:16 pm

Interesting. I lost my taste for any alcohol except at camp in the evening. I never was one for hard alcohol, but it is a weight issue for me. I don't like to get lit in the mountains. Too many obstacles to trip on and I don't ever want to hike with a hangover, although when I was young, I dug holes for a living. Often hungover.
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Re: Favorite backcountry beverage

Postby longri » Sun Sep 07, 2014 6:45 pm

giantbrookie wrote:There are some 151s that are not too bad to sip on and also good mixers. Lemonhart Demarara 151 comes to mind. In my long-past "mixology" days I'd use that as my "floater" on top of various tropical-styled rum-based mixed drinks.

Thanks for that. I had no idea there were any worth drinking. The last time I got some 151 proof liquor I just bought the cheapest I could find, about $13 for 750ml. Nasty stuff.

But the question is where can I find the Demarara 151? Who stocks it?


giantbrookie wrote:With beer, it isn't so much the problem of weight I worry about (since I don't really worry about weight), but the carbonation and jostling. I've seen too many people open their precious beer and get that tragic foam fountain.

With the vast majority of beers I've had no problem keeping things under control.

But on one spring ski trip I took a four pack of Guinness in those tall cans with the widget at the bottom. You can imagine how well that worked out. After the beer had jostled in the pack all day I'd pop one open at 12,000 feet and then race to drink the volcano of beer before it ended up in the snow. I think I managed to drink a little more than half.
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Re: Favorite backcountry beverage

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Sep 07, 2014 7:50 pm

longri wrote:But the question is where can I find the Demarara 151? Who stocks it?


Ah, this is a good question. Lemonhart was pretty widely available back in the day, but the last time I recall drinking any (a regrettable memory at that) was during my bachelor party in 1988. I would guess that BevMo may have this, or if they don't they'll have a 151 of a similar level of quality.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Favorite backcountry beverage

Postby longri » Mon Sep 08, 2014 7:22 am

I already checked the obvious places. Bevmo only lists a few 151 proof spirits on their website. It's where I bought that bottle of cheap rum. In the store I visited they had a number of additional 151 offerings but I remember most of them looking like rot gut. I'll have to look again next time I'm there, I could have missed something.

K&L and Beltramos don't have Lemonhart. K&L allows you to add it to your wish list, whatever that means. They do stock "Lost Spirits Distillery 151 Proof Cuban Style Rum" for $50/750ml. The description makes it sound tasty but it's a little out of my price range for high octane ultralight backpacking fuel.

To be honest, when I'm in this weight frugal mode I'm usually without a stove and eating cheese, crackers and salami for dinner. Sometimes I'll allow myself to eat a mayonnaise packet as a treat. With that menu do you suppose cheap rum is the appropriate choice?
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Re: Favorite backcountry beverage (151 food pairing?)

Postby giantbrookie » Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:34 pm

longri wrote:K&L and Beltramos don't have Lemonhart. K&L allows you to add it to your wish list, whatever that means. They do stock "Lost Spirits Distillery 151 Proof Cuban Style Rum" for $50/750ml. The description makes it sound tasty but it's a little out of my price range for high octane ultralight backpacking fuel.
To be honest, when I'm in this weight frugal mode I'm usually without a stove and eating cheese, crackers and salami for dinner. Sometimes I'll allow myself to eat a mayonnaise packet as a treat. With that menu do you suppose cheap rum is the appropriate choice?

Wow, times have changed. If even Beltramos and K&L don't stock it regularly then I guess Lemonhart is really a spirit largely from the past. I would get Lemonhart at various spots in Berkeley way back in the day that weren't remotely the equal of K&L and Beltramos.

I can't give you too much culinary advice on food to go with cheap 151 because it's been so long since I've backpacked with it (and my backpacking 151 days preceded my Lemonhart days), but I do remember one very memorable dish I cooked up on the spur of the moment at Thunder and Lightning Lake after a climb of Cloudripper in 1977: My buddy and I were getting tired of eating our numerous skinny brook trout the same way (probably teriyaki sauce in frying pan?), so I figured I'd go for the theatrical. I filled the frying pan with brookies and got them frying. Just as they were getting to point of done I took a little cheese and melted it on the brookies. Then I splashed a bit of 151 over the top of all of this and lit it. This was mighty tasty, although you might say our appetites were doubly inflated. The combination of too much 151 drinks (probably 151 and lemonade or 151 and Tang) gave us the alcohol munchies and we happened to have a bag of magic brownies. A bit too many brownies satisfied the alcohol munchies but....Good thing the fish were so easy to catch in that lake .

My last 151 trip was in 1986. It was the first backpacking trip with the girl who would become my wife. Somehow I packed the car so poorly that the bottle of rum rolled out when I opened the back door of my car and it fell onto the parking lot (for Little Lakes Valley) and broke. I'm sure my facial expression was priceless, but I haven't packed in distilled spirits ever since that day. I can remember enjoying mixed drinks in the backcountry as a guest twice since then, though--I thnk it was 2010 when I dayhiked in and met some of the Topix folks (rlown, oldranger, markskor, tehipite..) at Chain Lakes (margeritas, I recall?) and in 1996 in Darwin Canyon when I was treated to the best backcountry fishing daydreaming session ever by two camp neighbors who had the entire JMW-Seki map unfolded to talk about fishing over some G and Ts. Very fond memories, to be sure.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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