We’ve teamed up with Eddie Bauer to make your fall as adventurous as possible. Whether you’re suiting up for a trek in the woods or planning a weekend in the backcountry, the outdoor innovators at Eddie Bauer have everything you need. And don’t worry—we’ve got the menu covered.
Do you smell that? It smells like campfires and warm nights are just around the corner. It’s time to get back outside and stay there for as long as the weather allows, and as a bartender and nature lover, I believe no adventure is complete without snacks and sips. When I pack for a camping trip, I focus on convenience first and foremost. Instead of bringing my entire back bar and all the tools in my kitchen, I choose a few drinks to complement whatever I’m planning to cook. Most of the time, I end up batching a lot of my cocktails to bring with me for the sake of ease—fewer things to remember means fewer things to forget. With the right gear from a trusted outdoor outfitter like Eddie Bauer (think: packable seating solutions, ultra-light clothes for layering, and multitasking coolers) and foolproof food and bev combos, you’ll be able to soak up all the wilderness has to offer, plus a few creature comforts.
Grilled Oysters & Bubbles
Up here in Maine, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to oysters. While I typically enjoy them raw, every now and again I’ll have them grilled over an open flame (preferably seaside). In this recipe for Broiled Oysters With Sriracha-Lime Butter, the heat from the hot sauce is playful and bright while the smoke from the open fire provides overall depth. With minimal prep, all you have to worry about is getting the fire going and keeping the oysters cold (pack ‘em on ice in your cooler) until you figure out who’s the fastest shucker. And of course, there are the drinks.
Brine and bubbles are a must, and with this iconic pairing, there’s a lot of room for creativity. Enter: the French 75, a classic cocktail that leveled up the Tom Collins by adding Champagne. This light and effervescent cocktail can also get a fun twist in a variation dubbed Kiss the Ring, which swaps in blood orange and adds Cointreau for a beautiful contrast to the smoky fire and the briny oysters. If this sounds complicated, don’t panic! Batch your base at home for either cocktail by adding everything but the bubbles to a swing-top bottle (like the Stanley® Legendary Classic Bottle – 1.5-Qt.). The key here is dilution, which eliminates the need to bring extra ice on your trip by adding about ¼ ounce of water per cocktail to your bottle. This way when you get to the beach, it’s as easy as combining your batch and your bubbles to preferred proportions.
Flank Steak, Eggplant & Brown Spirits
This pairing is meant to be enjoyed over the course of a long evening around a fire, deep in the quiet woods with good company. Again, when you’re preparing to bring a meal and drinks into the woods, it’s all about what can be done ahead of time to keep life simple when you’re roughing it. Flank steak is a lean cut of meat and will therefore happily sit in a tenderizing marinade for as long as you need it to, usually up to 24 hours max. Cooking the steak on the other hand is a fairly quick process once the fire is going and the grill is hot, and as such, a topping like this cherry tomato vinaigrette should be done ahead of time so it’s ready to dress the meat once it rests. For a simple side, wrap a couple of potatoes in foil and bury them in the coals before cooking the steak. If you’re feeling a bit more ambitious, this recipe for Grilled Eggplant Agrodolce is an excellent complement. This one will require a little more onsite work, but that’s where Eddie Bauer’s Camp Table comes into play—while you should prep your agrodolce ahead of time, you’ll still need a surface to clean your eggplant and peppers. Not to mention, you’ll need a place for your steak to rest once it comes off the grill, and with a load limit of over 60 pounds this table is more than up to the task.
But what to drink with your backwoods feast? I lean towards brown spirits when it comes to red meat and bold flavors. In this case, we’re talking bourbon and Scotch. Scotch as a cocktail base is often under-appreciated and for those hesitant to welcome this spirit into their rotation, let me introduce you to the Rob Roy. A variation of a Manhattan, this cocktail swaps out the traditional bourbon or rye base for peaty Scotch, which works its magic when sipped fireside. Another great drink for this meal is a Boulevardier: a riff on a classic Negroni, the Boulevardier swaps out gin for bourbon. These drinks can be batched ahead of time, or you can batch everything but the brown spirits if some in your party aren’t as keen on Scotch and bourbon (just be sure to bring a spare bottle of gin or other clear spirit to add later). If you’re planning on batching the entire drink, aim for about 20% dilution or ⅓ ounce of water per cocktail in the bottle, and if you’re batching everything but the brown spirits, aim a bit closer to 40% or ½ ounce of water per cocktail in bottle as you’ll be adding straight, undiluted spirit to the batch.
Grilled Salmon Kebabs and Mezcal
Up for a riverside cookout? Maybe you’ll be able to catch your dinner for this one (and if not, maybe you’re a better fit as the fire-tender). Sit back and relax in Eddie Bauer’s Packable Camping Chair while you stoke the flames and if the smoke from the fire is chasing you about, no worries there either. This chair is lightweight, easy to move, and it’s sturdy enough to hold up to 225 pounds. Even if you didn’t catch the fish yourself, salmon kebabs are ideal for grilling over an open flame. The smell of peppers and cumin combined with the smoke from the fire, the fat from the salmon sizzling in the coals, the brightness of mint and lemon dressing, those rich flavors are all so wonderful. This is another dish that marinates ahead of time, so the onsite work is kept to a minimum. Which means we can be a bit more ambitious with our cocktail pairing!
When we think of smoky spirits, many people go whisk(e)y: Scotch, bourbon, Irish, etc. But I’m thinking about something more on the clear side—I’m thinking mezcal. A mezcal margarita is a beautiful thing and one that you can adjust to your personal preference; for example, not everyone loves the full power of mezcal on its own, so using it as a modifier in a cocktail or mixing it with tequila is a great way to bring in a bit of that funk and smoke without having it overpower the entire drink. This is one drink that won’t be batched ahead of time, but you can certainly prep your lime juice and agave at home, and be sure to bring your shaker, jigger, a strainer, and plenty of ice. Since we’ll be carrying a fair number of bottles for this one, it’s important to bring a sizeable cooler like the 30-liter Bygone Convertible Tote Cooler from Eddie Bauer.
Spiced Peaches & Bourbon
Come summer, I crave grilled peaches like nothing else. That inimitable flavor of caramelized stone fruit mixed with the smell of swirling smoke and fresh whipped cream; it’s to die for. These simple grilled peaches don’t require any prep—simply combine peaches, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon before you throw ‘em on the grill. Along with this, I like to pack a little heavy cream to make a quick and loose whipped cream. Add your cream and the lightest touch of bourbon (you’ll use this for your cocktail, too) to a jar with something to help agitate, like a small piece of ice or the spring from your cocktail strainer, and shake until just firm. Serve over top of your freshly grilled peaches.
To pair with these peaches, I’m making a Bourbon & Allspice Dram Cocktail: inspired by drinks like the Manhattan and the Left Hand, this cocktail is a wonderful nightcap to sip beside the fire. Bourbon is combined with sweet vermouth, marmalade, allspice, and mole bitters, plus it can be batched ahead of time. To do so, aim for about 20% dilution or ½ ounce of water per cocktail in your bottle, and enjoy when the peaches are fresh off the grill, just make sure to keep the batch bottle cold. As the fire dies down and you feel the chill of the night setting in, keep your body temperature up with Eddie Bauer’s Momentum UPF Hoodie. A lightweight layer like this is perfect for the summer nights, or for those days where the weather is a bit unpredictable.
Our friends at Eddie Bauer have been at the heart of Seattle’s outdoor industry since 1920. After decades of churning out weather-proof outerwear, top-notch trekking gear, and other essentials, the outdoor experts at Eddie Bauer continue to innovate to meet the needs of adventurers everywhere. Get ready for your next excursion with Eddie Bauer.