Most adventurers have clinked a couple cans to celebrate the summit of a grueling climb. Crisp, lukewarm beer is an adequate reward for surviving a backpacking trip or scaling a rock face, but it’s not the only option.
Canadian bartender and BarCountry president and co-founder Mathieu Plamondon is from Montreal. He fell in love with hiking the mountains during a four-year stint in Calgary, Alberta. The idea for BarCountry came to him on a multi-day backpacking trip to a cabin in 2015.
“One of the guys we were hiking with had never really been on a trip like this before. We didn't tell him how to pack, which was a mistake. So he showed up with this huge backpack,” Mathieu recalls. “It slowed us down a lot. When we finally got to the cabin, he started unpacking and revealed six—or maybe eight—bottles of craft beer, six cans of coke and a bottle of rum.”
Thinking he was being the wise one, Mathieu had opted to pack a lighter refreshment to enjoy: a plastic bottle of vodka and Crystal Light package. “It was basically watered-down vodka,” he laughs. “I ended up being jealous of my buddy who was drinking much tastier things.”
BarCountry appeared to him like a mirage on their hike down the next day: “I was trying to think of a dehydrated cocktail alternative. But I couldn't think of any.”
And when you can’t find something, what do you do?
“I decided to do it myself,” Mathieu says. “I first tried creating fresh drinks, and then dehydrating them. My background as a bartender really helped, because I understand flavour profiles.”
Mathieu is also a cocktail lover at home—which is where he creates the cocktail mixes. “Working with flavourists based in Quebec, we use natural flavours from essential oils to create a cocktail in a powdered form. And I still create all the recipes myself.”
Mathieu brings his knowledge of mixology to add spices, sugar and salt to create full-profile drinks for adventurers to enjoy on the tops of mountains, in quiet campsites and around the crackling campfire. It offers a great reward—and alternative to heavy bottles—for you to sit back and enjoy when you’re done your adventure. It’s a unique way to elevate your outdoors experience with a delicious, complex cocktail—and you don’t even have to bring all the ingredients.
BarCountry currently offers four main cocktails: the Coconut-Lime Margarita, for explorers that like fresh, fruit-based, sweet summer cocktails; the Cherry Infused Old Fashioned, a boozier option to sip around the campfire at the end of an epic day; the Elderflower Moscow Mule, with fresh ground ginger that makes a spicy, tart finish; and the Pickled Bloody Caesar, a classic ideal to pair with Sunday brunch when hanging out by the lake.
Each cocktail mix is made with 100 per cent natural flavours. Plus, they’re both gluten-free and vegan.
But BarCountry is more than just a product. “It’s a means to gather,” Mathieu says. “The cocktails get people to stop and relax. Rather than just hiking up a mountain, turning around and rushing back down, sharing a great drink gives you an excuse to slow down and soak in the adventure.”
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