Spritzer season

Years ago, when I worked for TU’s Public Lands Initiative, we’d often wind down a big day in the field with a cocktail. Back then, the PLI was what I liked to call the TU Delta Force. We existed, but we never really acknowledged that fact—our staffers weren’t biologists or policy wonks. We were anglers, hunters, journalists and outdoorspeople—it was our job to organize sportsmen and women in the West to push back against irresponsible uses of America’s public lands.

We were good at it, and we worked hard to bring anglers and hunters to the conservation table. This was the foundation of what is today TU’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project, a sprawling program that still fights for public lands in the West, but has become much more sophisticated in its efforts. Today, sportsmen and women are vital to the conservation movement, and I like to think that the old PLI is where it all started.

And, being a host of outdoorspeople, we had our favorite after-work drinks. My good friend Tom Reed, who still works for the SCP today in Montana, invented what we liked to call Spritzer Season. It was our way of pushing winter away and switching that evening cocktail from brown liquor to something a little lighter … a little sunnier. And, honestly, after a day spent hauling members of the media through the hills (as you’ll read a little about in the new TROUT Magazine’s feature on the Wyoming Range), a gin and tonic “spritzer” (or a vodka tonic if you prefer) goes down pretty good.

We’ve all got our seasonal drinks, I think. I prefer a good Irish whiskey over ice during the darker months, but I still honor Spritzer Season when the calendar switches over to spring. It’s a great beverage after a hot day spent fishing, and it goes great with a campfire and something conconcted in the Dutch oven.

What’s your favorite spring and summertime drink? It doesn’t have a be a leaded cocktail, either. Maybe you’re an iced-tea drinker, or lemonade is your warm-weather vice. Or maybe you’re just a cold PBR kind of guy or gal. Do tell …

— Chris Hunt

By Chris Hunt.