Add These 5 Backcountry Lodges to Your Adventure Bucket List
Plus, inspired whiskey drinks to enjoy once you arrive
On the spectrum of places to spend a night outdoors, one of our favorites falls somewhere between a bivouac and a glamping site: a backcountry lodge. Because they generally require a stout hike, ski, or ride in, these lodges are the perfect blend of civilized and rugged, much like TINCUP Mountain Whiskey: bottled in Colorado, TINCUP takes the spice of a high-rye bourbon and marries it with the elegance of a smoky single malt. So, in partnership with TINCUP, here are five of the country’s most idyllic backcountry lodges—and a signature cocktail for each that captures the essence of the locale.
10th Mountain Division Huts, Colorado
Developed as a training base for the 10th Mountain Division Army unit during WWII, this system of 34 backcountry huts is incredibly popular with skiers during the winter. Fortunately, 11 of those huts are open during the summer, with access to an extensive trail network between Aspen and Vail, making them a paradise for bikers and hikers too. They’re rustic but come stocked with real beds, stoves, and picturesque cocktail porches.
Colorado Campfire Sour
Combine the essence of a campfire with Colorado’s finest whiskey in this summer-friendly cocktail.
3 oz TINCUP Mountain Whiskey
1.5 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz maple syrup
1 sprig rosemary
Directions: Add the first three ingredients to a shaker. Set the rosemary on fire and drop it in too. Cap and seal the shaker for 30 seconds so the cocktail is infused with smoke. Add ice and shake, strain into a rocks glass over a large cube of ice, and garnish with the burned rosemary.
Aquarius Huts, Utah
The Dixie National Forest is a place of extremes, from the towering, 11,306-foot Brian Head Peak to the deep and dusty Red Canyon. And the five new Aquarius Huts are situated in the thick of it all, connected by a 190-mile mountain-bike route. The huts have showers, solar power, fully stocked kitchens with fridges, private bathrooms, bike tools, and huge decks. Choose from singletrack trails or EMTB-friendly gravel routes from hut to hut. Either way, you’ll be riding about 30 miles a day and hitting backcountry canyons and towering hoodoos between Brian Head Resort and Bryce Canyon National Park. Ride the entire 190-mile route in six days and five nights, staying in a different hut each night.
The Cherry Bomb
You might not guess it, but cherries are a major crop in Utah, and this cocktail uses a lot of them for a bright, summer refresher that’s perfect after a long day on the bike.
5 fresh cherries (pitted)
2 lemon wedges
2.5 oz TINCUP 10 bourbon
1 Tbsp. honey (Utah is also the Beehive State.)
Directions: Add cherries and juice from the lemon wedges to the bottom of a shaker and muddle until the cherries are broken into small pieces. Add bourbon, honey, and ice. Shake well. Strain into a tall glass filled with ice and serve.
Green Mountain Club Lodges, Vermont
Vermont’s storied Green Mountain Club operates a handful of historic cabins in the midst of the state’s surprisingly rugged Green Mountains. The cabins are primitive (no running water or electricity), but most were restored in the last few years so accommodations are clean and appointed with everything you need to thrive in the backcountry. A favorite is Bryant Camp, inside Mount Mansfield State Forest, with a network of hiking and cross-country trails right out the front door, including Vermont’s Long Trail.
Vermont’s maple syrup is legendary, and so is the old-fashioned. Blend the two with TINCUP’s Rye for the perfect Green Mountain sipper.
2 oz TINCUP Rye
1 tsp. Vermont maple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
orange peel for garnish
Directions: Mix the first three ingredients in a rocks glass and stir until the syrup has dissolved. Add a large ice cube and serve with a garnish of orange peel.
Rendezvous Huts, Washington
The Methow Valley is a cross-country skier’s dream, and the five Rendezvous Huts, linked by 200 kilometers of groomed nordic ski trails managed by the Methow Trails Association, make the most of that location. In the winter, the club even offers a freight-hauling service so you can lighten your load on the ski in. Come summer, the area transitions into a hiking and biking mecca and all five of the huts are open. Accommodations are rustic; each hut is equipped with a working kitchen with a wood-fired stove.
The Washington Apple
More than 175,000 acres of apple orchards sit in the shadows of Washington’s Cascade Mountains. This recipe blends TINCUP’s spicy rye with the sweetness of apple schnapps.
1 oz TINCUP Rye
1 oz apple schnapps
1 oz cranberry juice
apple slice for garnish
Directions: Add the first four ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Shake and pour into a martini glass with an apple wedge on the rim.
Edisto River Treehouses, South Carolina
Don’t let the black water of the Edisto fool you; this river is alive and well. The Edisto gets its color from ages of decaying vegetation, which leaches tannins into the water but also supports a unique ecosystem of flora and fauna. Paddling through the black-water river is a surreal experience, and camping in a treehouse above that river only adds to the one-of-a-kind adventure. Paddle 13 miles through the cypress jungle and climb into one of three treehouses, each of which has a kitchen, porch with grill, and view of the river below, as well as access to hiking trails through 100 acres of private land along the waterway.
Sweet Tea Smash
The South is famous for its sweet tea. Enjoy the local delicacy with this summery cocktail that uses TINCUP’s bourbon, which is aged for 10 years.
2 lemon wedges
4 mint leaves
1 oz TINCUP 10
1 tsp. Strega (a spiced Italian liqueur)
1 oz unsweetened tea
1 tsp. cane or agave syrup
mint sprig for garnish
Directions: Muddle the lemon wedges and mint leaves in the bottom of a shaker. Add all the other ingredients (except the garnish) and shake. Strain into a tall glass with fresh ice and serve with the sprig of mint.
TINCUP® is a classic American Whiskey – cut to proof with Rocky Mountain water and bottled at elevation 5,251’. TINCUP® is a nod to Tin Cup, CO, an old mining town nestled in the Rockies and named for the tin whiskey cups from which the miners drank. Try the three expressions: American Whiskey, Straight Rye, and 10-Year Aged. Learn more @tincupwhiskey and tincupwhiskey.com
©2021 TINCUP Whiskey. Denver, Colorado. Please drink TINCUP© Whiskey responsibly.