Getting a "Good" Drink in the Middle of Nowhere



Whether you're in a tent or a town that wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a Whiskey Smash and a Whiskey Sour. We hacked our way through a tough situation.

On a recent weekend road trip to the middle of nowhere we realized three things:

When you’re in the “middle of nowhere” there aren't any good places to get a good drink.

The frustrating thing is that it’s not like we were actually in the middle of nowhere. We were in a small town in Georgia with a cute downtown area. As we have seen Downtown Sanford grow leaps and bounds in the last 10 years, we were a bit dumbfounded as to how dissimilar this historic downtown was.

“But where do the foodies eat?”
“What if I just want a good cocktail?”

So we must assume that there are no foodies who like cocktails in this “middle of nowhere” town in Georgia.

Realistically we know that’s not completely correct. Demographics, demand, and dollar bills all play into that. And the takeaway is that we live in a special place that has spoiled us over the last few years.

The second thing we realized is that it’s entirely possible to get creative and make your own cocktails at your two star hotel with limited resources - very limited.

On the way to our destination we stopped at a package store. Thinking about what we could actually make with the simplest ingredients, we picked up small bottles of bourbon, gin, and sparkling wine. And thankfully there was a store just around the corner where we could get an orange and a lemon.

We arrived at our lovely “middle of nowhere” hotel accommodations and the plan was to try and make a French 75 and a Whiskey Sour. It actually didn’t go terribly, but there’s room for improvement. Here’s how we made our hotel room cocktails:

The French 75

  • Simple Syrup: dashes-ish
  • Lemon juice: couple of squeezes-ish
  • Gin: ounce-ish
  • Bubbly: two ounces-ish

I know what you’re asking - “Where did you get the simple syrup?” As simple syrup is basically equal parts sugar and hot water, we just made hot water out of the coffee pot and used a sugar packet or two. Let it cool and voila: simple syrup.

Chill your plastic cup with ice (from the hotel ice machine, obviously). Slice your lemon with a plastic knife (from the hotel breakfast bar). Add a couple dashes of simple syrup to your plastic cup. Squeeze a couple lemon slices in too. Top with about an ounce of gin and two ounces of bubbly. Or however much you want. Because you’re making a French 75 in a two star motel in the middle of nowhere. Add some ice cubes to it too because it won’t be nearly cold enough.

A Whiskey Sour

  • Simple syrup: three-quarters of an ounce-or-so-ish
  • Lemon juice: squeeze some-ish
  • Bourbon: two ounces-lots-of-ish
  • Orange wheel: or oval or however you can do it with a plastic knife

Use what’s left of your simple syrup and lemon juice from the French 75. Add your bourbon. Garnish with orange slice. Skip the cherry because I don’t like them anyway.

The final item that we didn’t think about until we really needed it and lesson learned; never leave your jigger at home.

In fact, this experience made us consider putting together a mini bar travel kit. The Spruce has a few suggestions for what that might look like.

Our experience certainly helped us appreciate the tools of the trade, our hometown, and the talented bartenders in it. We don't take that for granted and will be better prepared for the next time we must venture into the wilderness!