KICKSTANDS & KEVLAR
Kickstands & Kevlar is a blog hosted by Overland Expo’s own Motorcycle Community Ambassador, Eva Rupert.
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It’s a common practice amongst those of us with a passion for petrol and dirt to cap off a day of exploring with an adult beverage. Be it a gin and tonic or a frosty IPA, there’s something particularly refreshing about the combination of booze plus CO2 to toast out a day of off-camber ramblings.
Whatever your post-ride ritual is, as you pry off your riding boots, why not try a trail-worthy wine spritzer for a twist on your typical Off-Road Mixology regimen?
For this article, I selected a number of different canned white wines. The thinking was that maybe I would find a diamond in the rough that could become a mainstay for campsite sipping. It seemed like a good idea at the time, considering that canned wine is generally available at grocery stores and travels well. Alas, I did not uncover any oenological gems. But therein lies the beauty of the spritz; each had a chance to shine with the simple addition of soda water.
The biggest consideration when planning for spritzers in the backcountry is the availability of ice. If you’re traveling in your truck and have a cooler, you’re all set. If traveling by motorcycle, you’ll have to plan ahead a bit more. I often fill one of my insulated bottles with ice at my pre-camp fuel stop and purchase a bottle of water to refill the thermos once the ice is gone. Ice is essential to the wine spritzer, as drinking warm white wine would just be a bummer.
The history of overlanding and wine spritzers is so deeply intertwined that … wait. No, there is actually no connection whatsoever, other than the fact that D.I.Y. wine coolers make for a perfect libation after adventuring. Believe me, I like a good IPA after a long day in the dirt as much as the next girl. But these quaffable cocktails are perfectly suited to warm summer campouts.
The Classic Spritzer
The spritzer has its roots in ancient Greece, when drinking wine without mixing it with water was wholly frowned upon (perhaps that has something to do with the pungent nature of Parthenon-era fermentation techniques?). The modern spritz can be traced back to the 19th century with the invention of soda water and grew in popularity during the robust cocktail culture of the early 1900s.
Believe me, I like a good IPA after a long day in the dirt as much as the next girl. But these quaffable cocktails are perfectly suited to warm summer campouts.
Spritzers can be made with any dry white wine and adjusted to taste. For my classic spritzer, I used Dark Horse Pinot Grigio. It was my favorite of the canned wines I brought to the campsite and, most likely, the only one that I would consider bringing on another adventure for sipping straight. I typically suggest a 2:1 ratio for wine to sparkling water plus a healthy squeeze of lime, but feel free to tweak this to suit your tastes.
5oz Dry White Wine
3oz Soda Water
Lime or Lemon Wedge
Fill your cup with ice, add wine and soda, and squeeze a wedge or two of citrus over the top. Enjoy!
The earliest definition of a cocktail, circa 1806, is a mixture of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters. Although the spirits and sugar have persisted as familiar flavors in the standard American diet, the bitter element is often neglected much to the chagrin of our digestive enzymes. No overlander should be without a strong digestive system, and what better to keep you in top form than the inclusion of that bitter element into your off-road imbibing?
The Bicicletta features Campari, a bitter apéritif with a citrusy, herbaceous flavor. Those bitters act as a booster pack, kicking your hydrochloric acid and enzyme production into high gear. Mix that with some soda water and you’ve got a great jumpstart on digesting that dehydrated meal packet you brought along for dinner.
The addition of Campari to your wine spritzer is also a great way to mask a less-than-stellar wine. For my Bicycletta, I used a can of Pomelo Sauvignon Blanc, which wasn’t terrible but it probably won’t be invited to the next camping trip.
3oz Dry White Wine
3oz Soda Water
Fill your glass with ice, add wine and Campari. Top with soda water and a healthy squeeze of lemon. Saluti!
The Fancy Version
What’s the best adventure motorcycle? The one in your garage. Don’t have all the bells and whistles bolted to your truck? No problem, just go out there and get after it. I’m a big proponent of not letting a lack of fancy gear stop you from heading out on an adventure. That said, sometimes getting a little extra classy is the right thing to do.
Now I’m sure that when you’re packing for an overland trip, fresh strawberries probably aren’t at the top of your list. But as I raided the fridge for this article, I found strawberries and a bunch of mint that didn’t make it into my mojitos last weekend. What choice did I have but to put gas in the van and bring along some rosé for my third spritzer?
If the thought of a wine spritzer conjures up ideas of syrupy sweet hangovers-waiting-to-happen, you’re probably thinking about the horrific wine coolers of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Notice that there is no additional sweetener in any of these recipes. The goal of your wine spritzer is to create something as light and refreshing as a cold beer: crisp, dry, flavorful, and lower in alcohol than a spirit-centric cocktail.
For the fancy spritzer, I sliced and muddled a couple of strawberries along with the mint. I used a can of AVA Grace Rosé which blended surprisingly well with the berries but it was a little sweeter that I typically like for un-spritzed sipping.
5oz Dry White Wine
3oz Soda Water
3 Fresh Strawberries
6-8 Mint Leaves
Muddle strawberries and mint in the bottom of your glass. Add ice and wine, top with soda water and an optional squeeze of lemon. Sip and be fancy!
Hopefully you’ll find these spritzers delightful after a day of perfect dirt roads. Please remember that consuming alcohol and attempting any sort of vehicle-based activity is a terrible idea (not to mention, illegal). Save these boozy treats for the post-adventure campsite with your kickstand fully down, tent pitched, and fire stoked for an evening of hanging with friends — preferably someplace beautiful and remote.
Cheers to that!
Photos by Sterling Noren