The Top 5 National Parks For Cocktails

When Teddy Rosevelt sat down to theorize and implement the idea of a National Park he knew it was going to be a hard fought road. One split down the middle. Preservation on one side and progress on the other.

Thankfully in the end Old Teddy won out, birthing a new era of land, designed and specifically set aside to be so wondrous, stupendous, aw inspiring, magnanimous, and worthy of our time, that we as humans couldn’t comprehend. 

These lands we call America's greatest treasures or simply put our National Parks.

For those who have been to one or even all of the National Parks you can completely understand where we are coming from.

Mountains, rainforests, glaciers, forests, rolling hills, waterfalls, animal life, adventure, climbers, hikers, trails, and cocktails. Wait,,,cocktails?

See Leisuremann's was founded in a National Park, (Didn't know this? Read our founding history story - here) The Great Smoky Mountains National Park to be more specific, and our love for the outdoors runs exceptionally deep.

So deep in fact that when positioned with the opportunity to go to a New National Park and enjoy a cocktail there, we inevitably drop everything and go.

So when we sat down to talk through the idea about this blog we wanted it to be special showcasing various National Park terrain as well as giving insight on where to go that would provide the most cocktail drinking bang for your National Park buck.

Without further ado, here are the top five National Parks to enjoy a cocktail at, in no particular order of course.

Olympic National Park

 
 

Washington State - 3hrs from Seattle, WA - 1,422 mi²

DESCRIPTION: Olympic is like no other national park in the United States. It boasts a diverse eco system showcasing temperate rainforest, mountains, old growth forest, glacial mountains, and coastal beach climates. This diversity makes it ideal for climbers, hikers, back packers, and the outdoor cocktail aficionado in you. 

IDEAL COCKTAIL SPOT: Hike to the coastline beach and enjoy a stroll while sipping a Cosmopolitan or be brave and explore the temperate rainforests with a double Margarita.

SUMMARY: With it's diverse ecosystem, Olympic is not the National Park for the faint of heart but the ideal national park for those who like to differentiate their adventure from the ordinary. 

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

 
 

Tennessee/North Carolina - 4hrs from Nashville, TN - 800 mi²

DESCRIPTION: The Smokies, as most hikers refer to them, boast something for everyone all four seasons of the year. The vast landscape of dense wooded forrest, switch back trails, hidden creeks, moonscape caves, and beautiful vegetation in the Spring & Summer months, provide the casual or even expert hiker with a sense of nature induced euphoria. Stay till the evenings and see why the Smokies got their name.

IDEAL COCKTAIL SPOT: Hike the Alum Cave trail up to the Le Conte lodge, where Leisuremann’s was conceived, and then take the side trail to either Myrtle Point or Cliff Tops. Both are positioned with a vantage point that only a stiff Old Fashioned could compliment.

SUMMARY: With it’s lush forrest landscape and something for everyone style of atmosphere, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the perfect place to relax, take it easy, and go to sleep at mountain midnight!

Yosemite National Park

 
 

California - 2hrs from Sacramento, CA - 1,169 mi²

DESCRIPTION: Iconic, surreal, majestic, orgasmic are words used to describe the feelings, places, and surroundings of one of our nations greatest national treasures. Sporting ancient Sequoia trees, cliff faces taller than modern sky scrappers, and views of mother nature that no one can comprehend, Yosemite is a true spectacle for those who want to see mother nature in here full beauty.

IDEAL COCKTAIL SPOT: With over 800 miles of trail, you won’t be left without any room for a great hike or view for that matter. First things first, check out the iconic valley view. Then find yourself wandering through Cooks Meadow enjoying a Bee’s Knees while listening to the breeze blow by.

SUMMARY: No matter who you are, Yosemite National Park brings you back to your natural roots, instilling back in you a sense of just how small we are in the universe.

Zion National Park

 
 

Utah - 3hrs from Las Vegas, NV - 230 mi²

DESCRIPTION: Described as one of America’s smaller national parks, Zion sure as hell doesn’t disappoint. Picture a sunset painting, beautiful, majestic, grand. Now picture that same painting in real life. This is Zion. Boasting red rock formations that are uniquely their own to a trail so dangerous people have died trying, Zion is something special and truly in a class all to itself.

IDEAL COCKTAIL SPOT: Cocktailing at Zion is unique and due to it’s small stature recommending a specific place would be difficult but if we did we would probably recommend Watchman Trail, taxing at times, this trail is worth it. Rounding off the hike with a Margarita or a Cosmopolitan and a view of Watchman Peak surly doesn’t disappoint!

SUMMARY: Zion is a quick park but a park that on the flip side one could get lost in for days, months, and years. With trails that seems to defy gravity and picturesque lookout locations, Zion is truly a gem among stones.

Redwood National Park

 
 

California - 6hrs from Sacramento, CA - 280 mi²

DESCRIPTION: Words cannot describe the true majesty of Redwood National. Words can only describe how you cannot describe it with words. If that makes any sense. Soaring 300’ into the sky and boasting diameters exceeding 15’ these gentle giants take every breath and word from your mouth. As you walk you experience a humbled feeling for being amongst the giants has made you feel small.

IDEAL COCKTAIL SPOT: ALL SPOTS. Emerge into Redwood National with an Old Fashioned in hand and by all means get lost. Lost in the beauty of these giants and the shear silent world they tower over.

SUMMARY: If you think you seen all the trees and majesty there is to offer think no further than visiting Redwood National. With an ample trail system and sprawling woods, make sure to run, jump, hide, nap and cocktail your way through!

Cheers and in the words of Teddy Roosevelt - “Adventure on dudes!”

:: BIG HUGE AWESOME GINORMOUS NEWS ::

Project Code Name: The Ultimate Adventure

About six months ago, we began a pretty exciting adventure.

Not a physical, hiking down a trail adventure, but more of a “growthventure”, geared towards bringing our mixes into the hands of our target users - YOU!

After months and months of paperwork, hustling, more paperwork, regulations, red tape, new labels, hardship, laughter, even more paperwork, and copious amounts of cocktails…we are proud to announce the “BIG THING” we’ve been alluding to in so many of our social media posts.

So here it goes…drum roll please

 
 

Leisuremann’s Cocktail Mixes are now part of the REI Co-Op!!!


Hooray! - Cheers! - Applause! - Bravo!

Someone said “Speech” - Thank you to everyone who has supported us thus far. We appreciate each and everyone of you and hope you keep drinking cocktails with us for years to come.

Back @ it.

You may be asking yourself now, “As a loyal patron of Leisuremann’s, what does this actually mean?”

Outstanding question.

For starters, effective today, you can order our mixes directly from REI.com, allowing you to reap the benefits of their awesome dividend program and members coupon codes from every jar purchased.

 
 

Secondly and probably most important, our mixes will be in an REI store near you. Seriously, you can actually buy a jar of Leisuremann’s Cocktail Mix at an REI brick and mortar location. Wow, right?!

Forecasted to be in the major flagship locations (Denver, Seattle, Washington D.C., Bloomington, & SoHo) starting 10/15 through the end of 2018, we are excited to see what adventures you take with a jar of our mix. By purchasing from your local REI or REI Co-Op online you don’t just support local businesses, you also support outdoor adventure culture.

 
 

If you don’t live near one of the flagship stores, no worries, simply go to your local REI and request our mixes for your location. This is a simple way to help REI know what you guys are into, want, and would like to see on the shelves.

If you do live by a flagship location, stop in, buy a jar or four, take some selfies, and post those bad boys to social media, showing the world how much you love cocktails!

Lastly, give us a review on REI.com - find your favorite flavor and tell the other adventurers out there why you love a good Leisuremann’s cocktail.

Overall, getting our mixes into your hands so you can use it for your next trip, adventure, tailgate, backyard party, or just a Netflix and chill night, is and will always be our #1 priority.

So…pretty big news right?

Cheers // Cliff

10 Tips for Mile High Cocktail Drinkers

If you havn't realized it yet we really like to drink and fly. It's become more of a hobby now than a past time. No matter the day, time or airline cocktails are always being made and shared with those around us.. 

With that said, over the past two years we have amassed a cornucopia of airline tips and tricks guaranteed to make your next flight/cocktail experience outstanding.

Below are just a few, in no specific order.

Elaborate on, try, enjoy, and Cheers!

 
LEISUREMANN'S UNITED AIRLINES FRIENDLY SKIES
 

MINI BOTTLES RULE

Firstly, the myth is true: TSA does indeed afford you the ability to bring your own MINI LIQUOR BOTTLES on the plane. Now you are limited to size though. Ideally the 50ml are nice as those provide around a 2oz portion and fit snug in your quart size zip top bag. You can however, pack the 100ml bottle as those are just shy of the 3.5oz maximum allotted for packaged liquids.

The key to the entire situation is the bottles must be packed in your quart bags. Like any other liquid (shampoo, conditioner, hair gel) these mini bottle are considered a “liquid” and should be kept in isolation.

*Pro Tip* SUPPORT YOUR AIRLINES! Yeah we know they make you pay for seats and carry-on bags now but buy a mini bottle or two from them if you run out or need another flavor.

Let’s keep the 'Friendly Skies' friendly for years to come.

SOFT DRINKS SPRITZERS 

There is nothing more refreshing than having a little bubble in your drink, cocktail, or soda. It's the Bee's Knees!

With that said, more and more airlines are offering less and less sugar based sodas and more 0 calorie 0 sugar sparkling “spritzer” style waters.

Take this opportunity, for a free soda and roll with it.

Imaging making a margarita at 30k with sparkling lime water or a Bee's Knees with sparkling Italian lemon water.

OUTSTANDING is the word you are looking for.

*Pro Tip* When adding Leisuremann's Cocktail Mix to sparkling water be sure to be aware of the FIZZ UP reaction. Basically, don’t overfill and you should be fine.

 
LEISUREMANNS OLD FASHIONED - UNITED AIRLINES
 

NO MIX - NO PROBLEM

Ask anyone who flies a lot and they should be able to give you a cocktail story, recipe, or fun pro tip from 30,000 feet.

With this great power comes great responsibility…Thanks Uncle Ben. More or less a great responsibility to share with the world!

So…if you find yourself on your next flight with no mix or your mini bottles try one of these out for size: 

Red Wine/Coke (Equal Parts)

Mile High Mule (Ginger Ale, Vodka, mints)

Inflight Irish Coffee (Coffee, Bailey's Irish Cream)

Bloody Mary (Tomato Juice, Vodka)

IDL Sunrise (Tequila, OJ, Cranberry, Sprit, Apple Juice) IDL = International Date Line

ALWAYS ORDER ICE

Nothing and we repeat nothing makes a cocktail better than ice.

Even if you just use the ice to prepare your drink straight up, ice is as pivotal to a cocktail as the glass itself. Don’t believe us - listen to the experts in our blog The Icy Truth!

Try experimenting as well with ice and how it changes the flavor profiles of certain drinks and spirits.

SNACKS GALORE

Peanuts, pretzels, Biscotti cookies, OH MY!

Not all cocktails go with one of those 3 snack selections, so simple solution, bring your own snacks.

We've gone so far as to bring full blown sandwiches onto the plane for lunch and cocktails.

TSA, unless it is outlandish or large liquids, will cast a blind eye to you brining snacks aboard the plane. So fill your pack up with chips, Thanksgiving dinner, tacos, Bananas, or whatever your heart desires.

Moral of the story, have snacks and cocktails too!

 
LEISUREMANNS MARGARITA UNITED AIRLINES
 

SHARE WITH YOUR NEIGHBOR

Just think if you were flying cross country and the guy next to you pulled out a jar of Leisuremann's. At first you would question, "What is this dude doing?" or "What the heck is that stuff." But when he/she makes you a cocktail you instantly realize this is most certaintly real life.

The moral of the story is we should be more like Mr. Rogers and less like Oscar the Grouch. Share with your neighbor. Make them a drink, frankly make everyone a drink and spread some cocktail love!

SOCIAL POST EVERYTHING

Do us and yourself a favor, on your next trip post a picture of your cocktails to @leisuremanns, pretty please. (You won’t believe the response)

Simple, we want the world to know how delicious our cocktails are and what a better person to show them than you.

Take a pic of your drink, take a video of you mixing in the airport, take a pic of the plane going crazy because you just made a big batch and everyone is enjoying Margaritas. LOL!

We can dream, right? Have fun!

PREMIX TO MAXIMIZE ENJOYMENT

Crucial to any trip or experience is maximizing time. So when you find yourself sitting in the terminal with your face inevitably glued to your phone or maybe a book, step back, regroup, and premix your cocktails.

Water bottles, travel mugs, travel plastic wine glasses, pretty much any receptacle for drinking can work great.

We would recommend making them in a bigger quantity as they will go quick! #makeitadouble

MAKE IT A DOUBE OR TRIPLE

Always, always, always make it a double or triple when traveling.

This is done for multiple reasons but only a few stand out.

1) You deserve more than one drink when flying.

2) If you need to share, one drink just isn't going to cut the mustard.

3) Everything is better in pairs so bring multiple mixes with you so you can make a Bee's Knees and an Old Fashioned too!

REPEAT

The #1 tip is to REPEAT all 9. Get out there, travel more, explore more, be adventurous!

Seriously, if you haven't planned a trip in a while get to it. Repeat doesn't just mean making more cocktails, which we hope you do, it means doing more, experiencing more, and just simply enjoying the places you will go.

 

Not all trips are equal so in a way why should each cocktail experience be.

Explore what works for you and use these tip to make the most out of your next travel adventure.

And as a bonus for reading this blog, use code TAKE20 on your next order for 20% off your cart. That’s like we’re saying the first two drinks are on us!

 

Cheers // Cliff

Knowing Your Limits

A year or so back, I was invited to do a winter hike in one of my favorite outdoor spots, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As a self proclaimed outdoorsman, I quickly accepted the invitation, thus starting the tedious process of checking my gear, packing and preparing for what would be one hell of an adventure.

The trip started with an early 4a.m. departure from Lafayette and one solid clear directive - Make it to the Smoky Mountain Brewery in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee before night fall. After 12+ hours of driving, we eventually made it into town, a little past sunset, greeted by the promise of cold temperatures and delicious beer. The exact details of that night at the brewery live in legend, but can be summed up as followed: Beer - Pizza - Music! Shout out to Chad McWilliams - total Boss! 

 
 

The next morning we awoke feeling slightly hungover but ready to tackle whatever mother nature could throw at us. This year's hike started a little different, we had gathered knowledge earlier in the morning that the road leading to our usual trail, Alum Cave Trail, was closed due to a catastrophic event. Instead of turning away at this ominous sign we pressed on, taking the scenic, less hiked, Rainbow Falls Trail, instead. For those not familiar with the area, Rainbow Falls Trail is a beautiful 6.6 miles (total lie) of scenic overlooks and up hill hiking. Sort of a hikers dream, right?  

Hiking conditions that morning were sunny and calm but as the day and hike progressed temperatures started to plummet and an apocalyptic haze rolled in making the trail look more like an scene from The Bourne Identity and less like a beautiful portion of the Appalachian Trail.

 
 

With an ambient air temperature below 20° we trudged on, tackling frozen waterfalls, ice slicks, deep snow, and damn near treacherous uphill hiking for miles, breaking only to eat when we could. 

Around hours 3 of hiking, feeling somewhere between confused and out of my mind, my body started to shut down. The struggle was real, I literally hit limit.

I remember distinctly, every three or four steps I had to rest, covered in sweat, shivering, cold, breathing heavy, reaching for calories, water, literally standing in position thinking nothing but listening to the voice in my head telling me to "Sit down...take a break...close my eyes and rest."

I was experiencing what countless individuals whom have been in this situation experience, "The little voice in your head. I heard it clearer than any voice in my whole life. Those words were so real, so vivid. All I wanted to do was give in.

In that moment, if it wasn't for my mates, in front of and behind me, pushing through, encouraging, and enduring the same struggle I was enduring, I would probably would have turned into a popsicle. 

 
 

On the mountain that day, I admittedly hit my upper limit. The struggle of that accent, for me, was real but for others not so much. Unarguably, each person has their own limits and pushing oneself to those limits is the only way to discover what they truly are. 

- Cliff