Cooking from the Water's Edge

The 'Mommy needs a drink' camper cocktail

Like a Sunday morning mimosa with less sugar and a hint of desperation 

Once upon a time there was a good mother with two children who was kind and benevolent most of the time and loved her kids and had time to shower regularly. One day a terrible plague swept over the land, keeping her children isolated at home, making them wild and her grumpy and busy and smelly, until one day they said, “Let’s get out of this bitter cold and go camp for a month in the warm suns of the south.” 

Nearly a fortnight later, in the confines of a very small and crowded camper the still grumpy, busy, smelly mother said to the two children “If you two don’t stop fighting, I’m going to sell you!”  

And with that she kicked them out of the very small camper and into the surrounding desert. On finding themselves expelled, the children yelled and shrieked and banged on the door declaring “We want snacks!” And the mother replied “No!” and went to lock the door, only to find the lock broken. 

Upon this discovery, she whirled around and threw open the cupboards, and though it was only 10 in the morning, she said to herself in desperation: 


Thus, the camper cocktail was born. 

What you need: 

  • 1-2 ounces of gin 
  • 1/2 lime 
  • 2 ounces orange juice 
  • 6 ounces grapefruit flavored sparkling water (half a can) 
  • A lack of judgement for day drinking 

Slice your lime in fourths and place in the bottom of a glass. Add the gin. Muddle the two using a muddler or more likely, the end of a wooden spoon. Muddling the lime, peel and all, releases not only the juice, but also oils within the peel which will bind with the gin giving it a rounder flavor than you would get from just the juice alone. Some recipes call for muddling the fruit prior to adding any alcohol, but unscientific kitchen “testing” seems to show that muddling it in the gin results in a better taste and aroma.  

One general note on muddling: For ingredients such as limes or other citrus or fruits you can mash them thoroughly. They can take it. However, for more delicate ingredients such as herbs – think mint or basil or thyme – go easy as too much muddling can bruise the leaves and give them a bitter flavor. 

Add the orange juice and stir. 

Add the grapefruit flavored sparkling water and ice. Feel free to substitute other flavors. There are so many brands and flavors of sparkling water out there. If you can find one with real fruit juice, that is ideal, but if that is not available, go with what you can get your hands on. If you prefer a sweeter taste, think about adding a splash of tonic water or ginger ale. 

Take a deep breath, a long drink and relax. It will all be OK.