This the season my friends. The season where we all break out of our tiny apartments, our winter hibernation, and drink alcohol in outdoor spaces! Whether it be on the beach, in a park, or up on a roof there really is nothing better than imbibing in the open air. And we’ve got the ultimate guide to maximize your outdoor drinking experiences here at the Nobler Experiment…so get to it, and Drink Outdoors…
I’m going truly tactical with my first post for the Outdoor Drinking Guide. You see, at the core of any outdoor drinking activity exists one fundamental theme: relaxation. We will come back to this theme throughout the guide, but for me, the quickest way for a relaxing afternoon of day drinking to turn disastrous is when the person in charge forgets to plan accordingly. And since I’m a bit of a control freak camp counselor, and tend to always be in charge, here are my thoughts on how to plan for perfection:
(1) Bring Options: You can accomplish this in a number of different ways but there’s something about choice that makes the outdoor drinking experience that much more enjoyable. Pack one type of liquor with multiple mixing options (more on this later) or be sure to bring along various types of craft canned beer. And of course, let your friends know specifically what to bring when you have the option. In fact, most non-control freak types appreciate you being direct with what to contribute. If you want Founder’s All Day IPA cans, don’t expect someone to read your damn mind. Own your options!
(2) Pre-mix cocktail blends without the liquor: I picked up this little trick from my dad. Use empty water bottles to pre-mix bloody marys, fruit juice, or any other mix you had in mind. It makes for easy packing in a cooler, easy pouring at your destination, and control for your friends at mixing time. This way depending on the person, you can dial in the cocktail strength without a problem and the water bottles are a hell of a lot easier to pack in most coolers than a pitcher. Besides flexibility in mixing, I also feel that pre-mixing the liquor in advance tends to ruin the flavors of fresh juices if you are using them. When it’s hot and sunny on the beach, freshness is key and stale cocktails just won’t cut it. Speaking of cut it…
(3) Pack citrus wedges or other garnishes: Yeah, there’s no shame in leaving the garnishes at home, but having pre-cut limes and lemons or other add-ons like celery or pineapple immediately puts you at a whole new level of outdoor drinking. Plus, those limes and lemons are great to jazz up the shitty beer your buddy will inevitably bring. You know the buddy who you told to bring the Founders and forgot so he grabbed the shitty 6-pack at the bodega…don’t worry, we all have these friends.
(4) Bring screw cap wine and a wine opener: Why both? Well ideally everyone coming to the gathering will have thought about screw cap wine as the obvious choice but most likely, it’s not going to be top of mind. Plus most wine openers double as a back up beer bottle opener which is always handy. Have a crappy wine opener in your arsenal so you can bring it without fear of losing it. Trust me, I’ve thought I’ve planned perfectly for day drinking before and forgot the wine opener…it’s a terrible feeling.
(5) Don’t forget the damn cups: Besides the wine opener, cups are the thing I most often forget about. I’m normally so caught up in making delicious drinks and end up ignoring the vessel that people will drink from. Don’t make the same mistake. And in fact, here’s another spot to add variety. If you are planning to drink with variety, bring cups to match. Smaller plastic cups for wine and liquor, larger for cocktails and beer and a sharpie for folks to stake claim. Don’t bring a million cups, just demand your friends use one and maintain the damn thing!
So there you have it. A handful of my planning steps to ensure the ideal outdoor drinking experience. Anything I missed?