5 Best Cocktails to Drink Around a Campfire

best cocktails

While chatting with my sisters last night, I realized I still need an essential piece of RV Life here on the blog. So here’s my stab at defining the five best cocktails to drink around a campfire! Pile up some wood in your backyard firepit and mix up one of these divine sippers!

First, a little background. That’s me drinking a margarita as big as my head on a day trip to Mexico! Tasty goodness.

And a little more serious background. My mother died about four and a half years ago. Then, my dad kept her cremated remains until he died in January 2020. My sisters and I planned to bury them together that summer in Louisiana…but then the world started closing down from COVID-19. So, long story short, we couldn’t meet until February 2021 to finally lay our parents to rest. Dang you, world pandemic!

Me and my Sisters

I decided we needed an official cocktail for the occasion and came across a recipe for the Corpse Reviver No. 2. It seemed perfect! This drink came from the pre-Prohibition period and aimed to rouse the drinker from the dead! It’s the ultimate case of “the hair of the dog,” as people drink this to get over a hang-over, “increase vigor,” and otherwise have a great start to their day. What better drink to celebrate our parents!

Best cocktails
Image: Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

Of course, we had TWO best cocktails for celebrating our parents! The second was a Cotton Candy Margarita with a choose-your-own cotton candy selection from Walmart. I kept my “glass” and still use it for margaritas today…around the campfire…making this drink my first in the five best cocktails for drinking around a campfire!

Image: Walmart.com

#1 Cotton Candy Margarita

This incredible drink comes from Such the Spot, which I found on Pinterest. I may or may not have a secret Pinterest Board labeled Cocktails. I’m obsessed with collecting drink recipes, even though I don’t make the most of them.

Anyway, this cotton candy margarita is to die for! And you can get all the recipe details over on the link above. But this simple mix of lime juice, cream soda, cotton candy, and tequila hits the spot!

I’ll never drink a cotton candy margarita without thinking of my sisters, especially my youngest sister, Alana. She wasn’t sure about trying the Corpse Reviver No. 2. But she enjoyed sipping this little drink right out of our cotton candy packaging cups! Me too!

It brings all the best of summer into one glass. Who doesn’t think of light and airy spun sugar when they think of hot summer days?! And combine that with a margarita? Yep, it’s definitely a drink you’ll love sipping around a campfire. Or in front of the TV, who am I to judge? You do you, and try this fabulous cocktail.

Image: SuchtheSpot.com / Darcie

#2 of 5 Best Cocktails: Smores Martini

I’ll dedicate this one to my sister, Della. She jumped right on the bandwagon during our sister chat about cocktails. Della is the queen of infused vodka. I mean, seriously, if you can think of it, she’s soaked it in vodka for a few days. And then she’s concocted all kinds of delicious drinks!

I don’t know how true this is, but I will share what I remember about my dad’s aunts and mother from when we were kids. They had fabulous parties where everyone dressed up. The men retired to my great-uncle’s den, probably to smoke. And the women drank cocktails out of beautiful crystal glasses.

Of course, I was maybe 8-10, so who knows if my memories are accurate? But this is how I picture my sister Della. She could fit right back into those cocktail parties, fancy dress, fancy drinks, and all!

Let’s move on to the Smore Martini: one of THE best cocktails for sitting around a campfire while solving world peace. I found this recipe over on Host the Toast, and boy, does it deliver! She even lights the marshmallow on fire before dropping it into the glass. What??? I mean, who thinks of that little extra awesomeness?!

Image: Host the Toast / Morgan
  • It starts with marshmallow fluff and graham cracker rim on the glass.
  • Then squeeze chocolate sauce into the glass to make it look prettier and taste yummier.
  • Next, add your marshmallow vodka, Irish Cream, heavy cream, Drambuie, and more chocolate sauce! What could be tastier? 

In total transparency, I hadn’t heard of Drambuie before. But over on her website, Morgan says it’s “made from scotch, honey, and spices. It doesn’t scream “graham cracker,” but it gives you a little nod to it.” A little nod to the graham cracker? Yes, please!

#3 Watermelon Cucumber Gin and Tonic

I’m a lover of gin! Hendrick’s is my favorite for anything having to do with cucumber. It’s just a heavenly combination of refreshing summertime drinking.

This easy drink is excellent around the campfire or for enjoying a BBQ with friends. It makes a big batch, so that’s even better! I found an official version here on Joyful Healthy Eats, where you can get all the proper amounts. But I’ve been making it for years, just off the cuff. Add an ingredient, take a test drink!

Image: Joyful Healthy Eats / Krista
  • Chop up some watermelon.
  • Blend it.

The recipe I’m sharing says to strain it and just use the “juice,” and that’s certainly a great option. But I’m not usually quite that patient. It’s up to you. I also sometimes throw cucumber or jalapeño slices into the watermelon while blending for that extra kick of goodness.

  • Pour it into a pitcher.
  • Add lime juice (or lemon if that’s what you have), gin, simple syrup (or agave), tonic water, and thin cucumber slices.
  • Pour into chilled glasses.
  • Skip the gin if you’re making a batch for the kiddos.
  • Add some mint if you like that kind of thing.

Simple syrup is just equal parts sugar and water, heated and stirred together till combined (then let cool.) Keep a mason jar of simple syrup in the fridge, and you’re ready for cocktails all summer.

#4 Strawberry Basil Margarita

Because if one margarita is good for my five best cocktails to drink around a campfire roundup, then why not two? Plus, who doesn’t love this classic combination of strawberries and basil?

You could serve a side dish of sliced tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, and basil drizzled with a delightful balsamic vinegar. What a heavenly combination! Grill some chicken. Or not. But give me a plate of tomatoes and mozzarella with a glass of Strawberry Basil Margarita, and you’ll find me drooling by the campfire!

Image: Our Salty Kitchen / Danielle and Cameron

If you want all the particulars, here’s an easy-to-follow version I found at Our Salty Kitchen. But again, I’m a wing-it kind of gal, so only measure if you must!

  • First, blend some strawberries with tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, and simple syrup (or honey).
  • Then, muddle your basil in a cocktail shaker. I’d likely toss in another splash of tequila to make the muddling easier.
  • Finally, add the strawberry blend and shake it like you’re Tayler Swift! (Back in my running days, her song “Shake it Up” was one of my favorite songs to listen to as I sashayed down the road. It was likely not pretty, but it WAS fun.)

Pour that yummy goodness into a salt-rimmed glass of ice, head to your campfire, and gaze at some stars. What a delicious drink for soaking up summer evenings!

#5 Best Cocktails: Limoncello ~ Lemon Drops

Limoncello is one of my all-time favorite drinks. It’s a sipping drink that I first discovered in Italy with Steve. Limoncello is commonly served after dinner in a tiny shot glass. It’s not a shot drink, though; it’s for sipping. Steve doesn’t love it, but I do!

Some years later, we returned to Rome with my sister Trish and her husband, Ben. He fell in love with limoncello, just like me! And Trish has long been a Lemon Drop drinker.

My last best cocktail for drinking around a campfire is two drinks! It’s your classic twofer. Ha ha. I’m amusing myself, can you tell?


Limoncello takes a couple of weeks to prepare, so you need to plan. In Arizona this past February, we stopped by my girlfriend’s house. She’d been picking oranges from her yard, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that her kitchen island and one counter were stacked full of citrus! Another friend had given her lemons.

So I left with a massive bag of two different kinds of oranges and beautiful fat yellow lemons. All that to say, I was in heaven! Oranges and lemons, oh my! I quickly got to peeling the lemons to start a batch of limoncello. You can find a detailed recipe, but you don’t need to.

Here are the easy steps to make your own:

  • Peel the lemons carefully to get the yellow zest, not the pithy white part. It doesn’t matter if your strips are even, as no one will see them.
  • Put them in a quart mason jar and fill 3/4 full of vodka. Use good vodka. Well, that’s true of any cocktail. Buy the best alcohol you can afford, as it makes a difference.
  • Steep the lemon peels in a dark place for a week or so. In our truck camper, I put it on the bottom shelf of our pantry and tucked a bag of powdered sugar around it to keep it safe. If you forget about it like I did, don’t worry; it’ll be more lemony.
  • Strain out the peels and then fill the rest of the quart jar with simple syrup.
  • Wait for another week. I know it’ll just about kill you, all the waiting!
  • Then sip and enjoy!

It’s really that simple and delicious.

Lemon Drop: One of the best cocktails ever!

If you want to make your limoncello into a fancier drink, that’s easy too!

  • Rub a lemon slice around the rim of a martini glass, then dip it in sugar.
  • Add 1-ounce limoncello and 1-ounce vodka in a shaker with ice. Shake it up, then pour into the prepared glass.
  • Get fancy by adding a twist of lemon peel.
  • Head to the campfire (or gas fireplace) and enjoy!
Image: Savory Experiments / Jessica

If you don’t want to wait two weeks to make limoncello (or a month if you forget you’re making a batch!), hop over to Savory Experiments to try their version of a Lemon Drop. You’ll be glad you did!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my take on the five best cocktails to drink around the campfire! It was fun for me to pull together some of my favorite drinks. And I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I have. Cheers!

Sort of related in that it’s a drink: Making Kombucha in Florida

Sort of unrelated in that it’s about cute llamas & not about cocktails at all: Visiting Llama Land


  1. John and Donna

    Next visit plan to be making those!

    • mcgarveysan

      You bet! It’s getting about the time of year when I come to your house! 🙂 🙂 This year, we’re heading north for Tayler and Brad’s new baby!

  2. Trish

    Such great memories- I can hardly wait to sip cocktails around the fire pit with y’all soon!
    My kind of blogpost 😂

    • mcgarveysan

      Lots of great memories wrapped up in this post! Let’s sip some lemon drops!! 💕😁


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