Provisions: Spiked Pumpkin Chai
Labor Day has come and gone, Halloween is right around the corner, and the majority of people have already packed away their camping gear until next year. But for others, this is just the start. Summer might be the “official" camping season, but fall is when the postseason begins. And as every sports fan knows, that’s where things really get interesting.
There’s a lot to love about fall camping: most of the fair-weather camping fans have cleared out, the oppressive heat has abated, and the bugs have started to die down. Not only that, but the changing leaves can really put on a show, turning a familiar forest into someplace new and spectacular. However, with the shift in season, comes a shift in approach.
In the fall months, when the sun sets early and the nights (and mornings) can be quite brisk, there’s a natural transition towards warmth and comfort. A good sleeping bag and proper layers are a must, but beyond gear our cooking repertoire needs to be updated as well. Long gone are the days of corn on the cob, watermelon, and lemonade. Hearty stews, mac and cheese, and warm fluffy cornbread are the camping foods we gravitate towards now. An ice cold beer may have been fitting over Fourth of July, but now warm whiskey drinks are on the mind.
So to help get you into the spirit of the season, we’ve developed a campfire-inspired, bourbon-spiked pumpkin chai. To keep things simple, we went with a Trader Joe’s seasonal classic: pumpkin butter. This highly sought-after spread combines real pumpkin with an assortment of requisite spices. For the chai, we went with coconut milk. Not only does this add a unique flavor to the drink, but it won’t curdle when you add — as per our instructions — a very generous helping of whiskey.
Whether you’re already planning on going camping this season, or looking for a little encouragement to get back out there again, this is the perfect drink to put you in the fall frame of mind. [H]
Michael van Vliet is one half of the team at Fresh Off the Grid, a camp cooking blog.
They feature recipes specifically designed for cooking in the outdoors, written on the road as he and his girlfriend travel the United States.
Find them online or on Instagram.
Images ©: Megan McDuffie