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The Secret Cocktail Ingredient of the Pros Is…Hydration Mix?

Everything you need to play mixologist in the backcountry is likely already in your pack

Lemon-lime hydration mix makes an easy (and pack-friendly) backcountry margarita. (Cameron Whitman)
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Everything you need to play mixologist in the backcountry is likely already in your pack

Hear us out: Hydration powders make surprisingly great cocktail mixers. Especially when you’re in the backcountry and want to jazz up your space-saving flask of hard liquor.

Allen Lim, founder of Skratch Labs, says that turning the company’s lemon-lime mix into margaritas was one of the first things his staff did after they perfected the stuff. “Basically, alcohol plus sugar plus salt plus fruit equals the best party ever,” says Lim. Using a beverage formulated to keep you hydrated as the foundation of your cocktail has another benefit. “Although we didn’t design our Rescue Hydration Mix to be the best hangover cure in the world, it’s the best hangover cure in the world,” says Lim. And while we have some doubt (hangovers are complicated), you can’t argue with the space-saving benefits.

We asked the pros—chefs and hydration mix experts—for their favorite recipes.


Nuun Shandy

If you pass a store that sells only crappy macro light beer, this is a great way to make it slightly more enjoyable. Mix one light beer with a tablet of citrus fruit or lemonade Nuun. Be sure to mix a small amount of beer with the tablet in a pint cup before pouring in the remaining beer, say the gurus over at Nuun, otherwise you’ll create a Nuun-splosion.


Trail Mojito

This recipe is courtesy of Adam Price, the executive chef at Victory Ranch in Utah. He uses a lemon-lime Nuun tablet, plus trailside mint and wild blueberries, to create backcountry mojitos. Use your hands to crush two mint leaves so you release the oils. Muddle (your pack may do this step for you) eight to 12 blueberries in your cup, and then add the rum or whatever liquor you packed in, a touch of cold water, and the Nuun tablet. Swirl and sip.


Hard Cider

Mix hot water with one scoop (26 grams) of Skratch Labs Apples and Cinnamon Exercise Hydration Mix in a mug. Throw in a dash of bourbon. Feel all warm and toasty. Repeat as needed on cold nights.


Skratch Margarita

Originally, the Skratch margarita recipe called for fresh lemon and lime juice, but Lim says it works perfectly well without toting a backpack full of limes to your campsite. Mix a scoop of Skratch Hydration Mix with Lemons and Limes with cold water and a shot of tequila.


Clif Spiked Cocoa

Sure, a shot of whiskey probably won’t help your recovery efforts, but the protein and carbs in Clif’s Chocolate Recovery Protein Drink Mix could. The package directions call for cold water, but ignore that and mix yours with hot. Add a float of whiskey to your mug and call it a night.

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